No More Bids For Neuberger Berman?

Did Carlyle pass on a bid for Neuberger Berman? Yesterday the judge in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case extended the deadline for new offers for the firm’s asset management arm from noon to 7 pm, leading many (including us) to suspect that a new buyer had emerged. And almost everyone thought that buyer would be Carlyle, perhaps allied with form Neuberger executives.

But last night’s deadline came and went with no reports of an alternative to the offer made by Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman in September. Now Bloomberg’s ace reporters Jon Keehner and Jason Kelly are reporting that sources say Carlyle declined to bid on Neuberger.

Carlyle Group, the second-largest private-equity firm, decided not to bid for Neuberger Berman, the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. money-management unit that’s being auctioned in bankruptcy court, according to two people familiar with the sale.

Carlyle, based in Washington, had been working with former Neuberger Berman Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lane to counter an offer made by Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC on Sept. 29. Bain and Hellman & Freidman proposed to buy the business from New York-based Lehman for $2.15 billion.

The deadline for bids was set for Dec. 1 and it was unclear whether other offers had been submitted. Representatives for Carlyle and Neuberger declined to comment.

We have to wonder if reports that Bain and Heller & Friedman might back out of deal haven’t encouraged other prospective buyers from waiting until after that deal falls apart and then submitting a bid at an even lower price.