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Did Warren Buffett hang up on Lehman phone call?

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Rediff News
Friday, September 19, 2008

Failed American investment bank Lehman Brothers, voted the best in the business many times, is rumoured to have made a distress call to Warren Buffett to rescue it, but the legendary investor politely hung up as he did not see good returns.

Days before filing for bankruptcy protection from its creditors to whom it owes over $600 billion, Lehman Brothers wrote to Buffett for help, according to a mail currently doing the rounds on the Internet through blogs and forwarded e-mails.

Buffett, the world’s richest person with over $60 billion of net worth, is said to have replied: “Thank you for your recent letter for my company to invest some funds into Lehman Brothers. . . Unfortunately, I do not see good return on my money if I invest into your company.”

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Although its authenticity is yet to be proven, the mail has Lehman CEO Richard Fuld’s name as the sender, while the reply carries the name of Buffett.

“Lehman’s books are bleeding. The stock is a falling knife. You are peddling your crown jewel, cash cow, money management division at the wrong time to get market value,” Buffett’s reply says further.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In his request to Buffett, Fuld says, “I firmly believe that an investment in Lehman Brothers by Berkshire Hathaway is a classic opportunity for your great company to, once again, buy a fabulous global franchise at a very fair price.”

Fuld further says, “Over the past year, our firm’s market capitaliszation has shrunk by more than $30 billion (about 75 per cent). All of the shareholder wealth that we’ve created over the past 10 years has been completely erased in a matter of months, and yet our firm has never had brighter opportunities nor a stronger safety net.”

“This is the investment opportunity that we see for you and the rest of the Berkshire family. You have the opportunity to invest in the brokerage industry at prices not seen for a decade,” Fuld says in the e-mail.

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This article was posted: Friday, September 19, 2008 at 1:05 pm





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