Lehman Seeks Options For Private Equity Unit

Stricken U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers said on Thursday it was pursuing strategic alternatives for its private equity and venture capital businesses.

Lehman on Monday announced it was selling its prized Neuberger Berman asset management business to buyout firms Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC for $2.15 billion.

The deal, however, didn’t include Lehman’s major direct private equity businesses, which has $15 billion assets in total and employs up to 100 people in New York, London, Boston and California.

The company on Thursday gave more information about the process for the remaining units. In an e-mailed statement, a Lehman Brothers spokesman said “the investment teams for these funds remain intact and focused as we actively pursue the best strategic alternatives for these businesses going forward.”

“As always, a primary consideration is the best interests of our investors,” the statement said.

The businesses include a $3.3 billion buyout fund and a $3.5 billion real estate and mezzanine fund.

Some private equity experts have speculated that the business could be spun off as a separate entity.

Lehman’s holding company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September after trying to finance too many risky assets with too little capital.

(Reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Richard Chang)