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Lehman May Put a Prized Unit on the Block

The Ledger – Lehman Brothers, the troubled investment bank, is considering the sale of all or part of its prized money management division to private equity firms to raise billions of dollars of capital and ease the pressure caused by losses related to real estate.

The move would be the latest by a Wall Street firm forced to sell off high-end assets, following the recent sale by Merrill Lynch of its stake in Bloomberg L.P. and the sale by Citigroup last month of its large German consumer banking franchise.

Lehman sent letters last week to a number of financial companies, including private equity firms like Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts, J. C. Flowers, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and Apollo Management, to test interest in its money management division, according to several people briefed on its contents.

The letter, a so-called memorandum of understanding, did not put a value on the division. It said that interested parties could bid for all or some of the pieces but encouraged bidders to make an offer for the whole business.

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