Shares in Lehman Brothers are skyrocketing this morning, up 14% as we write this, on word from Reuters that the Korean Development Bank is considering an acquisition of the "beleaguered" Wall Street firm. But could this story be a mistake?
So far no one else has been able to confirm it. Bloomberg went with a much less dramatic line, writing that KDB is "considering" an investment in the company. Not buying Lehman. Just investing in it.
Even more importantly, the Reuters story itself is strange. The talk of an acquisition comes from an unnamed "spokesman" for KDB, an unusual source for such a big story. What's more, the operative word in the story--buying--is in parentheses.
State-run Korea Development Bank said on Friday Lehman Brothers was one of its options for acquisitions, reviving expectations that the U.S. investment bank might still bring in a large investor.
"We are studying a number of options and are open to all possibilities, which could include (buying) Lehman," a KDB spokesman said.
Since this is presumably a translation from Korean, and people don't, you know, actually speak in parentheses, it's possible that this story emerged from a bungled translation.
We're not saying this story is wrong. But we are saying it is far-fetched and more than a bit strange. Beware the bullish rumor mill, lads and lasses.