Private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC reached a deal to acquire a chunk of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s investment-management unit, including its prized Neuberger Berman division, for $2.15 billion.

An auction of the profitable investment-management unit began more than a month ago as Lehman scrambled to raise capital. The firm originally planned to sell a 55% stake in the unit, but as a result of its bankruptcy filing the entire business was placed on the block.

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