Last week Neuberger Berman confirmed that it is indeed involved in talks with a potential buyer, but it would not confirm whom the talks were with. Now speculation that the interested buyer is Lehman Brothers is all-but-certain as the Wall Street firm has also come forward and owned-up to the negotiations.
Now Lehman has confirmed the talks in a terse press release:
"Consistent with our continued strategy of building out our diversified business platform, we are currently engaged in discussions with Neuberger Berman Inc. regarding the potential combination with that company. This transaction, if consummated, would significantly increase our scale in the high margin high-net-worth and asset management businesses and contribute to our ultimate firm objective of maximizing shareholder value."
Whether or not any deal happens is still a matter for speculation. Published reports state that the firm's have not yet presented terms to their boards. The reports do put a $3 billion price tag on the Neuberger Berman business.
Based on Neuberger's $56 billion of assets under management, the rumored price would value the asset manager at 5.3 percent of assets. That is compares favorably to ratios in sales conducted in the summer of 2000, or before the extent and duration of the market's collapse became apparent to all. The price reflects both Neuberger's strength in the affluent market channel and its reputation as a manager of value equity portfolios.
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