Nomura set to take over Lehman's European arm

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The Independent Online

Japanese Securities house Nomura is poised to take over the European arm of Lehman Brothers, securing at least 1,000 jobs, after administrator Pricewaterhouse-Coopers said it had narrowed the bid battlefield to a single frontrunner.

Commenting on the sale of the investment banking and private equity businesses within Lehman Brothers in the UK and Europe, Dan Schwarzmann, one of the four partners at PWC orchestrating the Lehman dissection, refused to reveal the identity of the preferred bid at the time of going to press, but said: "We have now focused on one party as they are interested in acquiring a wider team, which should result in a better deal for staff and creditors.... I'm hoping to give certainty to all involved as soon as possible."

The battle was between Nomura, which snapped up the Asian arm of the defunct investment bank yesterday after beating-off rival bids, and Barclays Bank, the new owner of Lehman's US operations, currently employing 10,000 staff. But a Barclays Capital spokesman yesterday reinforced the message that Barclays was interested only in the equities operations within the European unit.

Nomura's Asian deal could add the 3,000 existing Lehman staff across 10 offices including Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong to Nomura's existing 18,000 staff in 30 countries. Nomura refused to comment on the expected outcome of today's decision, but the Japanese company is keen to strengthen its European presence with its bid for the equities and investment banking aspects of the business, which employs some 3,000 of the 4,500 total staff within the European operation.

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