NEW YORK (AP) Lehman Brothers put itself on the block Wednesday as part of a last-ditch effort to rescue the investment bank from bad bets on real estate-related holdings that have already laid low other storied Wall Street firms.
The 158-year-old company's chief executive Dick Fuld, known as "the gorilla" for his bloody-minded approach to investment banking, outlined a plan to sell off Lehman's well-respected investment management unit and spin off its commercial real estate assets after it reported an almost $4 billion third-quarter loss.
Fuld, 62, the longest serving CEO on Wall Street, also said the firm would examine all other options including a sale of the company he joined right out of college. Finding a buyer might pre-empt any hostile takeovers now that Lehman's stock has plunged from $67.73 a year ago to $7.25 Wednesday, giving it a shrunken market capitalization of $7.6 billion.
"If anybody came with an attractive proposition that was compelling for shareholder value, it would be brought to the board, discussed with the board, and evaluated," Fuld said on a conference call. "We remain committed to examining all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value."