23 Sep 2008, Alastair Marsh, Risk magazine
On Monday, agreement was reached for the American bank’s Asian business - including units in Japan and Australia - to be sold to Nomura, which will assume responsibility for approximately 3,000 Lehman employees based in the region.
Just 24 hours later, the Japanese bank had pounced to purchase Lehman's European equities and investment banking businesses, which currently employ around 2500 staff. Nomura said in a statement that a "significant proportion" of those employees would be retained. Although no details were given on how much Nomura will pay for the acquisition, the bank confirmed the deal will not involve it taking on any existing trading assets or liabilities.
"In the past 24 hours Nomura has executed two transformational deals," remarked Nomura president and chief executive, Kenichi Watanabe.
Of the arrangement to buy Lehman's Asian business, he said the deal offered “immediate strategic benefits” and the opportunity to “significantly extend [our] reach in Asia”. Watanabe added it was a “once in a generation opportunity”.
Nomura said the European deal would significantly extend Nomura's European and international capabilities. "The bank has not punched its weight in the international market," admitted Sadeq Sayeed, senior adviser to the board of Nomura Holdings, in a telephone press briefing on Tuesday.
"Our immediate priority is to get the equity and investment banking divisions back in business operating under the Nomura name," said Watanabe.
Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers' North American operations reopened on Monday under the ownership of Barclays Capital. The deal with Barclays was approved on Saturday by the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Employment offers have been made to all employees of Lehman Brothers' businesses acquired by Barclays.
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