Japan brokerage buys Lehman units for $225m

/ Source: The Associated Press

Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan's largest brokerage, said Monday it has reached a deal to buy the Asian operations of bankrupt U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The deal includes Lehman's businesses in Japan and Australia.

Nomura called the deal "a once in a generation opportunity" for the Japanese brokerage house. The deal would include Lehman's 3,000 employees in Asia, including the U.S. investment bank's biggest regional offices in Japan and Hong Kong.

"It will significantly extend our reach in Asia. We see immediate strategic benefits, delivering the scale and scope to realize our vision to be a world-class investment bank," Kenichi Watanabe, Nomura's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

"This deal is validation for our strategy," he said.

The deal was valued at around $225 million, one person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press earlier, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Nomura did not give the value of the acquisition in the statement and said the deal would not include any trading assets or liabilities.

Jesse Bhattal, CEO of Lehman Brothers Asia, also welcomed the deal in the statement, saying it was "truly a remarkable opportunity" for both financial giants.

Nomura also was close to clinching a deal for Lehman's Europe businesses, another person familiar with the matter said earlier.

But Nomura's statement made no mention of Lehman's European operations.

Officials from Nomura could not be reached for comment.

Billions of dollars in losses from mortgage-linked debt forced Lehman, once the No. 4 investment bank in the U.S., to file the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history a week ago.

The move came after British bank Barclays PLC declined to buy the Wall Street firm in its entirety. Barclays has since purchased Lehman units that employ about 9,000 employees in the U.S.

That deal was said to be worth $1.75 billion earlier in the week but the value was in flux after lawyers announced changes to the terms on Friday. It may now be worth closer to $1.35 billion, which includes the $960 million price tag on Lehman's Midtown Manhattan office tower.