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Barclays Dubbed Winner of Lehman Bros. Takeover

Posted September. 15, 2009 07:40,   


Barclays and Nomura are largely split over the result of their takeover of Lehman Brothers, whose collapsed last year ignited the global economic crisis.

The International Herald Tribune yesterday said Barclays that acquired Lehman’s North American business is now the largest European bank for risk management and financing.

In contrast, Nomura, which bought Lehman’s European and Asian assets, remains hobbled by lack of scale and lingering cultural differences have greatly burdened organizational integration.

After acquiring Lehman’s North American business for 1.75 billion dollars, Barclays organized its best financial team in a week and expressed a strong commitment to gain a foothold in U.S. equity markets.

Consequently, it posted net profit of 3.06 billion dollars in the first half of this year, and the pretax profit of its investment banking business almost doubled.

Barclays is now second to JPMorgan in the bond market. Many experts say Barclays, which bought parts of Lehman for a song amid the financial crisis, is the true winner of the takeover.

That is not the case at Nomura, which bought Lehman’s European business for just two dollars. Over the same period, Nomura’s stock price plummeted 36 percent. Though recording a surplus in quarterly profits in just six quarters, its losses reached 708 billion yen (7.8 billion dollars) over the last 12 months.

Insiders say Nomura’s conservative corporate culture failed to embrace Lehman’s appetite for risk taking, with rumors floating of a massive exodus of staff in March next year, when the guaranteed salary contracts for former Lehman employees ends.

The Wall Street Journal said, however, that Barclays lacks competitiveness in the European and Asian M&A markets, and Nomura has recently reclaimed its lead in the European stock market.

“Barclays is not as stable as it seems, and there are still hopes for Nomura if only it succeeds in culture integration,” the Journal said.