CEO Dick Fuld is under serious fire as he struggles to raise cash. The easiest way to raise cash right now is to sell the profitable and successful Wealth Management/Asset Management division. Private Equity firm KKR is the front-runner to buy the business unit from Lehman, which is valued at over $10 Billion.
But there is a problem. Analysts say that if the Asset Management division is worth $10 Billion, then the rest of the firm is worth little more than nothing. Of course, Dick rejects this assessment. But the clock on the firm and his Chairman seat is ticking. We knew that Bart McDade would one day take-over. But that day is approaching quickly.
I can only imagine what it's like in the House of Lehman right now. Some interns and summer analysts might wind-up with this week's tickets to Lehman's many box seats at Yankee Stadium. The mood in the luxury box at Arthur Ashe stadium is probably very somber. Rank and file traders and bankers may have updated their resumes. And probably everyone has given-up hope for a bonus in January.
It was great to get through Lehman through its toughest times as a public company. But this has to be the toughest time for the firm. It could even be the end.