Lehman Pays Marsal Firm Almost $500 Million to Manage Bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) has paid almost half a billion dollars in fees to restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal LLC during its bankruptcy, according to a court filing.

The firm, whose co-founder Bryan Marsal runs the defunct investment bank, charged $496.2 million in fees for 38 1/2 months of “interim management,” including $8.6 million in November, according to the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan yesterday.

Lehman, which has spent more than $1.5 billion on fees since filing the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history in September 2008, paid $30.6 million to lawyers and managers in November, according to the filing.

The Lehman bankruptcy became America’s most costly in April 2010, when it topped the $757 million cost of energy trader Enron Corp.’s three-year liquidation, according to data compiled by Lynn LoPucki, a bankruptcy-law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Fees earned by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, based in New York, total $366.6 million so far for acting as Lehman’s lead bankruptcy law firm, including $8 million in November.

Marsal, who bills Lehman hourly, has said he will start distributing some cash to the defunct firm’s creditors by next year, more than three years after the bankruptcy filing. He has court approval for a $65 billion liquidation plan that would pay the average Lehman creditor less than 18 cents on the dollar in the next few years, according to court papers.

November Cash

Lehman and its affiliates were holding cash and investments of $27.2 billion on Nov. 30, compared with $26.4 billion on Oct. 31. Some of the cash wasn’t available for use, according to the filing.

Lehman’s creditors range from banks and hedge funds to the New York Giants and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, as well as individuals who hold Lehman bonds. Once the world’s fourth- biggest investment bank, Lehman filed for bankruptcy with assets of $639 billion.

The case is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 08-13555, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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