Barclays PLC has reached an agreement to buy Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s U.S. capital-markets businesses, and as many as 9,000 Lehman employees will find jobs with the U.K. bank, according to people familiar with the situation.
The deal was to be put before a New York bankruptcy court judge for approval Tuesday evening and Lehman's creditors were to meet after the judge issued his ruling. An official announcement was not expected until this morning.
The deal is expected to be structured as an asset purchase, with Barclays buying only the parts of Lehman it wants: its trading positions and any contracts that come with the business, which would likely include pending mergers and acquisitions, as well as stock and debt underwriting assignments.
Barclays would not be buying any of Lehman's real estate, real-estate-backed securities, derivatives positions, or over-the-counter trades. Lehman's European business would remain in bankruptcy proceedings. Lehman is in separate talks to sell its investment management unit to private-equity bidders.
In a twist, Lehman's Chapter 11 filing may have increased the chances the capital markets business would be salvaged in a sale, according to a person close to the deal. In weekend talks, Barclays proposed buying all of Lehman except the investment management business and then separating out Lehman's toxic assets along the lines of the so-called good-bank/bad-bank structure Lehman had been considering before the events of last week.
Because Lehman is in bankruptcy-law protection from creditors, however, the "bad assets" can be left at the holding company level to be liquidated according to the bankruptcy court's instructions, meaning Barclays was able to achieve the deal it wanted in the first place.
Lehman, which filed the biggest bankruptcy in history on Monday, was advanced $138 billion this week by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to settle Lehman trades and keep financial markets stable, according to a court filing.