Reinet Unit To Buy Part Of Lehman’s Merchant Banking Business

Luxembourg-based investment company Reinet Investments said Thursday its Reinet Fund unit has agreed to buy part of Lehman Brothers Inc.’s merchant banking business.

Reinet said it would commit up to $230 million over a three and a half year period to existing and new investments in the private equity funds managed by the division.

Reinet, which is controlled by South African billionaire Johann Rupert, said last week it was in talks with the Lehman bankruptcy estate and investors in the funds.

The funds have about $4.5 billion in assets, which include money invested and money still to be drawn down from the limited partners. Reinet said it would take part in all future investment decisions by the funds.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-September 2008 after trying to finance too many risky assets with too little capital. It has been selling various assets since then.

Reinet was created last year when the Rupert family controlled luxury group Richemont was restructured and its stake in British American Tobacco spun off.

The company, which owns about 4 percent of BAT, said the transaction was expected to have no material impact on its net asset value.

On Jan. 12, Reinet confirmed reports of its interest in the Lehman merchant banking assets.

(Reporting by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Erica Billingham)