Lehman CEO mulls ways to take bank private: report

Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:39am EDT

The exterior of the world headquarters for Lehman Brothers is seen in New York, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The exterior of the world headquarters for Lehman Brothers is seen in New York, June 17, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Richard Fuld is considering ways to take the Wall Street investment bank private, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

Talks centering on privatizing Lehman have got serious after rumors and questions about the firm's solvency have caused the company's shares to significantly fall this year, the paper said, citing sources.

Details on how such a move might work were not clear, the paper said.

Lehman could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company's shares closed down more than 14 percent on Monday, reaching their lowest level since August 1999, amid a decline in U.S. financial stocks. Lehman's shares have fallen about 81 percent so far this year.

Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst David Trone said on Monday Lehman may be better off going private to shake off short sellers that are spreading bogus rumors about the bank.

The company has been the subject of false rumors in the past, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether investors have looked to profit by spreading rumors to push down the company's shares.

(Reporting by Pratish Narayanan in Bangalore; editing by Sue Thomas)