Both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times carried reports late today that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is in “advanced discussions” to buy investment manager Neuberger Berman Inc. for about $3 billion in stock and cash, citing people familiar with the situation.
An acquisition of the asset-management firm would propel Lehman beyond its traditional bond and underwriting businesses, and the firm has been criticized for relying too heavily on the bond market for revenue.
The reports note that the talks still could collapse and no board meetings have yet been set to approve any transaction. In fact, discussions between the two firms have been on-and-off for some time, according to the sources, which nonetheless note that the talks recently have intensified.
Spokespeople for both firms, of course, declined comment.
Neuberger Berman was in the headlines last December for its coup in building a new Growth Equity Group by hiring away a team of portfolio managers from Northern Trust (see Neuberger Berman Lures Away Northern Trust Equity Unit ). In April, the Hartford Group unveiled a new program in conjunction with Neuberger Berman, where the asset manager would take on the role of an investment advice fiduciary in assisting plan sponsors in researching, selecting and monitoring of plan investments (see Hartford Taps Asset Manager for Advisory Service ).
Neuberger Berman has about $56.3 billion under management.
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