As soon as Lehman Brothers (LEH) shares hit $4 today and reports came out that the company is up for sale to try and survive, only one name came to my mind as a potential buyer; Bank of America (BAC) CEO Ken Lewis. The guy loves doing deals. Who else would have bought Countrywide?
Since Peridot is long BAC, one of the two things I am worried about (the first is obviously Lehman’s ugly balance sheet) is the price that Lewis might agree to pay for Lehman should a deal be reached. Lewis isn’t shy about overpaying for firms he really wants, and he loves to grow by acquisition. FleetBoston, MBNA, U.S. Trust… not a bargain among them (Countrywide is still a question mark).
Now that Lehman CEO Dick Fuld has completely blown it (even after seing exactly how things played out with Bear Stearns!), BAC is likely the most probable suitor at this point, and thus I am not surprised their name is already being mentioned in press reports this evening.
Don’t overpay, Ken!
Full Disclosure: Long shares of BAC at the time of writing
Update Friday 9/12 9:05AM ET
Rumors today are that the U.S. government will not provide public funding to aid in a takeover of Lehman, as was the case with Bear Stearns. In that case, Bank of America should balk at buying the whole firm. I would love if they just bought a stake in Neuberger Berman, which was the kind of deal LEH was seeking several weeks ago. NB is the crown jewel of Lehman and would be a great asset for BAC to buy in order for LEH to get much needed capital.