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Lehman failure dogs Evergreen Solar

Boston Globe – Evergreen Solar Inc. got a shock when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. went bankrupt last month: The solar panel maker lost control of almost 31 million shares of its stock.

How that happened is the subject of a lawsuit the Marlborough company filed yesterday against Lehman and the defunct investment bank’s new owner, Barclays Capital. It also sheds light on the kinds of complex deals that had become common on Wall Street before the market meltdown.

Evergreen, when it needed to raise money in July to build a plant at the old Fort Devens site, arranged a $375 million bond deal with Lehman. But there was a catch. As part of the transaction, Evergreen had to lend Lehman 30.9 million shares of its own stock – so that hedge funds could borrow them and short them, or bet the stock would fall. That’s right: Evergreen had to provide its own shares for hedge funds to short.

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