Hedge Funds Fail To Block Barclays-Lehman Deal

Sep 22 2008 | 2:44am ET

A trio of hedge funds have lost their bid to block the sale of bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings’ North American investment banking group to Barclays.

Following an extraordinary, late-night hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck gave the go-ahead to the $1.75 billion sale, which includes Lehman’s prime brokerage and its Manhattan headquarters. Three hedge fund creditors, led by Harbinger Capital Partners, had argued that the proceedings were moving too quickly, and that Lehman had failed to disclose cash transfers it made before filing for bankruptcy last Monday.

Judge Peck acknowledged that the circumstances were unusual. But he rejected the bids to block the sale, ruling that Lehman had nowhere else to turn.

“This is Friday; the case was filed on Monday,” Peck said at the hearing, which ended at 12:41 a.m. “What we’re doing is unheard of.”

“I need to approve this transaction because it’s the only available transaction,” he decided.

Harbinger had alleged a $5 billion cash transfer from Lehman’s London office occurred just prior to the bankruptcy filing, while Bay Harbour Management and Amber Capital alleged an $8 billion transfer. All three funds wanted the sale blocked until Lehman disclosed exactly what transfers were made.

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