The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Remember Lehman Brothers? It's coming out of bankruptcy

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Not that that means anything. All that's left of the once-proud Wall Street investment bank, whose bankruptcy precipitated the financial crisis, is $65 billion. And every single penny of that is spoken for.

This is from Reuters, via the LA Times:

Unsecured creditors will receive about 21 cents to 28 cents on the dollar, depending on the type of security they held. Shareholders, whose stock in the company hit a high of $86.18 in February 2007, according to Reuters Data, will receive nothing.

The company had $639 billion in assets when it went bankrupt. Some of that money was returned to brokerage customers in a separate proceeding. There remains $65 billion to be returned to creditors who have $450 billion in claims, a group that includes debt investors and trading partners from before the bankruptcy, such as Goldman Sachs.

Lehman was integral to the evolution of U.S. business in the 20th century. The work that it and Goldman Sachs did to create the wonderful world and American retail — underwriting Sears, Macy's, and Woolworth's, among others — is particularly relevant at this time of year, when holiday shopping can be seen as the national pastime.

What started as a cotton-trading concern in the 1850s grew to become a vast international financial services company. What's ironic is that there wouldn't have been a U.S. economy as we knew it without Lehman — and neither would there have been a financial crisis as severe as what we faced in 2008.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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