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Lehman Management Wins Neuberger Berman Auction

A group of managers and senior employees of Lehman Brothers’s Neuberger Berman unit was selected as the winning bidder for the money management business after an auction on Wednesday, a person briefed on the matter told DealBook.

The bid by the Neuberger Berman team trumped a previous bid by two private equity firms, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman, in part because it offered more certainty, this person said. A third bidder had also emerged, for only certain Neuberger assets.

An announcement could come as soon as late Wednesday afternoon.

Under the terms of the winning bid, Neuberger’s management will spin the unit off as a stand-alone company, majority owned by its executives and employees. The Lehman estate would retain a significant portion of Neuberger, this person said.

It is the latest twist in the fate of Neuberger, a money manager that was widely considered Lehman’s crown jewel. After Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September, Bain and Hellman were selected as buyers for the unit, in which they would have created a standalone company that retained key Neuberger executives.

But the Carlyle Group and a former Neuberger chief executive persuaded the bankruptcy judge presiding over the Lehman case to reopen the bidding, arguing that Bain and Hellman were paying too low a price. Carlyle dropped out of the bidding, however.

The deadline for bidding was extended twice.