Friday’s Headlines: Lehman is open and operating as a start-up with the aim to shut down

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Say what? Many are surprised to learn that the once-bankrupt Lehman Brothers is currently operating as a 340-employee firm that manages tens of billions of dollars in assets with the sole purpose of returning funds to investors, reports BusinessWeek, which writes, “Each transaction they complete moves the firm one step closer to shutting its doors for good, sometime around 2017. If Lehman Brothers is alive, then it is living on borrowed time.”

Central to the current operation is the derivatives group which spends its day sorting out 8,000 contracts with 6,500 parties—a collection that once held a notional value of $39 trillion.

Lehman CEO Johns Suckow sums up the business as such: “From a recruiting perspective, we were building a start-up company, which is pretty unique. We were not competing with Goldman or Morgan Stanley for these positions. We were actually building a whole different model here. We were not entering into new trades; we were trying to mitigate terminated trades.”

That said, headcount will continue to shrink. By the end of 2012 there will be just 280 employees – plus 50 full-time consultants.

Other news:

Low interest rates have led many corporations to load up on debt, but this could lead to a flood of bankruptcies once maturities hit. DealBook
The call to curb high-speed trading gets louder. WSJ
MasterCard sees slower revenue growth. WSJ
Rival schools hit the MBA admissions trail together. BusinessWeek

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