Investment Banking

Lehman to Pay Another $1.6B to Creditors

Distributions from Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy estate have benefited third-party creditors such as hedge funds that bought its debt at a steep disc...
Matthew HellerMarch 25, 2016

Administrators unwinding Lehman Brothers have announced another payday for unsecured creditors, with $1.6 billion to be paid next week, most of it to so-called third-party claims.

The payout is the ninth since the investment bank collapsed since 2008 and will bring the total amount distributed in its bankruptcy to about $106.9 billion.

The March 31 distribution includes $1.3 billion to third-party creditors such as hedge funds that purchased Lehman debt at a steep discount after the bankruptcy was underway, betting the claims would gain in value once the initial panic subsided.

The bulk of all the distributions — $78.5 billion — has gone to third-party creditors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

General unsecured creditors, who were estimated to receive less than 20 cents on the dollar when Lehman’s bankruptcy plan went into effect in early 2012, will have received more than $100 billion, or more than 35 cents on the dollar, after the next distribution is completed, Lehman said in a court filing Thursday.

Lehman has attributed the boost in recoveries to gains in the bankruptcy estate’s real-estate, derivatives and private-equity investments.

Creditors of Lehman subsidiaries have fared particularly well under the bank’s Chapter 11 plan, with creditors of Lehman’s commodities unit receiving about 77 cents on the dollar following the latest distribution.

Those holding bonds issued by Lehman Brothers’ parent company have now recovered more than 37 cents on the dollar, up from an estimated 21.1 cents when Lehman’s plan went into effect in 2012.

“Since the bankruptcy, Lehman has consistently increased estimates of how much creditors would get back, helping hedge-fund managers such as Paulson & Co. and Elliott Management Corp. rake in profits,” the WSJ reported.

Lehman plans to make a 10th distribution at the end of September. “Though creditors have had to wait years for this cash to come their way, the sheer size of the distributions has shown that patience does indeed pay off,” The Wire noted in a March 2014 article.

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