Update: Barclays Acquires Piece of Lehman

British financial giant Barclays PLC has jumped on the opportunity to acquire Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.’s North American investment banking and capital markets operations. The move comes only two days after the Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the wake of its unsuccessful attempt to prop itself up through a proposed spinoff of real estate assets and other reorganization efforts. Barclays had, in fact, been in negotiations last weekend to acquire Lehman itself, but that fell through without a federal backstop of Lehman’s assets. If the current proposed sale is approved by the bankruptcy court, Barclays would pay only about $250 million to acquire trading assets with a current estimated value of $72 billion and trading liabilities with a current estimated value of $68 billion. “Barclays will be getting some pretty good assets from Lehman pretty cheap,” Peter Morici, professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, told CPN. “There will be some decent sales out of AIG, but not quite like Lehman, which is being pushed to liquidate.” The Lehman operations involved in the deal include Lehman Brothers North American fixed income and equities sales, trading and research and investment banking businesses. From a real estate perspective, Barclays has also agreed to acquire Lehman’s New York head office at 745 Seventh Ave. and two data centers in New Jersey for close to their current market value, estimated at $1.5 billion. In a separate but in a related story, it was reported today that Boston Properties Inc. is preparing for the fallout from the Lehman collapse by creating a $13.2 million reserve in the event that Lehman breaks its lease for about 436,700 square feet at 399 Park Ave. in Manhattan. The bankrupt investment bank has its wealth management and private banking operations in the space, along with a data center. “It’s likely that Barclays will continue leasing the same space, at least for now, as the Lehman operations that it buys,” said Morici. “As for other space leased by Lehman, all bets are off.”