Facing a record third-quarter loss of $3.9 billion, beleaguered investment bank Lehman Brothers is planning a fire sale of assets to help shore up its sagging capital base, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company said it would spin off its commercial real estate holdings, and auction of a majority share in its investment-management business. The bank also plans to cut dividends 93%.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a $2.2 billion loss. The bank, hard hit by the collapse of the residential and commercial mortgage market, has been hunting for an equity partner for several months to no avail. CEO Richard Fuld has been under pressure to sell assets. He said Lehman would reposition itself “by dramatically reducing balance sheet risk, reinforcing our focus on our client-facing businesses and returning the firm to profitability."