Why Isn’t Blackstone Interested In The Neuberger Assets?*


*WSJ, CNBC, FT say it isn’t; but perhaps the blogosphere is not so sure?

Dow Jones today published a list of private equity firms interested in bidding for Lehman Brothers’ wealth management arm, Neuberger Berman, worth around $10 billion. The Journal’s list included obvious suspects like KKR, Bain Capital and TPG. The FT counted Hellman Friedman in that mix and claimed Carlyle and Blackstone had been were priced out.

Now, we’ve talked about the potential KKR tie-up. And we saw CNBC nix the idea of Blackstone in the mix. Absent from the Journal’s story, though, is any mention of the firm, which I may point out, is the only PE behemoth that has access to public capital now. KKR and Apollo will soon, but not yet. Expansion acquisition opportunities like this are one of the main reasons Blackstone (and KKR and Apollo) wants to be public to begin with. They already bought GSO, after all. And Tony James publicly said back in March that Blackstone was looking to grow with more acquisitions.

As Blogging Stocks pointed out back in June, Stephen Scwartzman and Peter Peterman were at Lehman in the 80s. Dealbreaker brought it up again last month, pointing out that Blackstone had mulled a bid for Bear Stearns.

And now Jim Cramer is saying all the Lehman speculation is bogus. Then again, didn’t he say the same thing about Bear Stearns? (To be fair, he did offer a rebuttal.)