Bank of America is in preliminary talks to acquire struggling investment bank Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lehman has been shopping itself around in a bid to stave off collapse, but potential suitors are wary. Many want Washington to assist with a sale of the bank, whose shares dipped more than 40%, to under $5, today.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the government must evaluate the impact a bailout of Lehman—and its $600 billion balance sheet—on the credit markets before any decision. If Washington stays neutral, Bank of America may back off. “It's over, man,” said one Lehman employee. “Unless we get bought out in the next 24 hours, it's over.”