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Funds News

Three to bid at Lehman's Neuberger auction-lawyer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEHMQ.PK has received three bids for its prized asset management unit Neuberger Berman, a bankruptcy lawyer for the company said on Wednesday.

The auction of Lehman’s investment management unit, including Neuberger Berman, was to begin at noon, said the lawyer, Shai Waisman.

In comments to reporters after a court hearing, Waisman said there were two bidders in addition to Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC, which agreed on Sept. 29 to buy the unit for $2.15 billion. The Bain-Hellman group was previously approved by the court to be the lead bidder at the auction.

Waisman would not identify the other bidders. He said it was hard to say how long the auction would last.

“I do think that folks will be there for most of the day,” he said.

The investment management unit, one of Lehman's best-performing assets, has previously drawn interest from a number of private equity bidders, such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG, Silver Lake, Blackstone Group BX.N and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, sources previously told Reuters.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] at one time said it was interested, but a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that Carlyle did not bid.

Lehman originally put a majority of the asset management arm up for sale in August, but the investment bank failed to find a buyer before it filed for bankruptcy in September.

PLANES, FEES & ART

Lehman, the largest bankruptcy case in U.S. history, received court approval on Wednesday to provide funds to certain former employees to cover legal costs, sell another corporate plane, and pay its art handlers in order to regain access to $8 million worth of company-owned artwork.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck authorized Lehman to advance up to $3 million in legal defense costs to each of the former employees, who are involved in investigations and arbitrations. If the former employees are found guilty of wrongdoing, they will be required to pay back the funds.

Lehman also won authorization to pay about $20,000 to its art handlers for framing and warehousing services. The payments will allow Lehman to regain access to the artwork, in New York and Paris, so that it can market it to potential buyers.

Peck also gave the company approval to sell a Falcon 50 plane to Peregrine Aviation Services Inc for $6.2 million, after no higher bidders emerged. Lehman is trying to sell several of its corporate jets. It previously sold one for $24.9 million.

The funds recovered from the plane and art sales could ultimately benefit Lehman creditors.

Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace

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