Death watch for Lehman Brothers as no buyer emerges

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2008 (AFP) – A last-ditch effort to find a buyer for troubled Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers appeared near collapse Sunday in a turbulent weekend for the finance sector. As emergency weekend talks on Lehman’s woes were being held in New York, a London source at British bank Barclays, who requested anonymity, said it walked away from negotiations because of concerns it would have to guarantee the 158-year-old US firm’s trading commitments.

The news came as US Treasury and Federal Reserve officials scrambled to head off a collapse of Lehman Brothers which some say could send shockwaves through the global financial system.

Separately, reports swirled about a possible buyout of another troubled Wall Street giant, Merrill Lynch. And American International Group, the insurance giant, was set to unveil restructuring plans in the face of a massive share price drop.

“Clearly things are changing quickly and are very fluid,” said David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Investments.

“The Fed and the Treasury are trying to get a deal done before the markets open on Monday. It now appears that this original effort to merge Lehman with one party has faile