Barclays' Lehman deal backed by New York judge

A general view of Barclays Bank Fleet Street branch in London, England.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A judge has cleared British bank Barclays for its purchase of bankrupt pieces of Lehman Brothers. Barclays bought those pieces after Lehman failed and helped trigger the financial crisis. Lawyers claimed Barclays had hurried the deal through to rip off billions of dollars in profit.

From London, here's Marketplace's Stephen Beard.


STEPHEN BEARD: Barclays has won a major victory. Far from ripping off Lehmans -- a New York judge has ruled Barclays helped save the day. The case goes back to the height of the credit crisis. Lehmans filed for bankruptcy. Its staff and clients began to jump ship. But within days, Barclays had snapped up much of Lehmans' U.S. operations -- for a song. By doing so -- said the U.S. judge -- Barclays helped avert an even greater calamity and saved thousands of jobs. His ruling is a relief and a vindication for Barclays.

But Chris Hughes of the financial website Breaking Views says that in the longer term the Lehman takeover may not look like such a great deal for Barclays.

CHRIS HUGHES: Whether the enlarged company with this massive presence in these pretty volatile businesses is really something that suits investors' tastes in the post-crisis world, I think the jury is still out on that.

A spokesman for Barclays welcomed the U.S. court ruling.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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