Lehman Mulling Early Q2 Earnings Release: Report

Facing increasing pressure from short-sellers suggesting that its balance sheet is insufficient to weather the current credit market, a published report Friday morning said that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) is considering an early release of its second-quarter results as part of a strategy designed to pre-empt further speculation over the company’s capital adequacy. A report appearing Friday morning in the New York Post said that Lehman is currently hamstrung by a so-called “quiet period” mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of its current June 16 earnings release. The Post suggested that Lehman is considering moving up its earnings date, and that it will announce a major new rights offering in conjunction with its second quarter report. Bloomberg News reported separately that Lehman could look to raise as much as $5 billion via such an offer. The embattled Wall Street firm has been the subject of strong speculation over its future, with some analysts suggesting that it may be the next Bear Stearns & Cos. — that is, the next major investment bank to face a cash crunch that could put its existence into doubt. Greenlight Capital LLC‘s David Einhorn has been among the i-bank’s most vocal critics, although he suggested to Bloomberg News in a report published Thursday that he doesn’t see Lehman facing the same sort of crisis that brought Bear Stearns to its knees. Lehman is rumored have been de-levering its balance sheet, selling distressed assets including mortgage-related CDOs and other securities, according to reports published earlier this week. The firm posted a 57 percent drop in earnings in the most recent completed quarter, as it absorbed a $1.8 billion in mortgage-led write-downs. It’s expected to post a loss for the second quarter, according to a review of most analysts’ estimates by Housing Wire. Lehman press representatives have so far declined to comment to the press on any of the reports and speculation. Disclosure: The author held no positions in LEH when this story was originally published. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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