Lehman Brothers International (Europe) can begin distributing billions of dollars of frozen hedge fund assets after reaching agreement with a majority of the affected parties, said PricewaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday.
Hundreds of hedge funds, including Ramius LLC, were left hanging when New York-based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. More than $35 billion of assets that they entrusted to Lehman's London unit have been frozen as part of the receivership process.
But the new claim resolution agreement, supported by more than 90 percent of Lehman clients affected by the asset freeze, will allow Lehman to begin distributing the remaining trust property in 2010, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, administrators for Lehman's London-based unit.
The claim resolution agreement now provides an agreed basis on which to systematically settle clients' claims and reunite them with their assets, said PricewaterhouseCoopers' Steven Pearson, in a statement.
Lehman Brothers International (Europe), or LBIE, held some $32 billion of client assets on September 15, 2008, when it went into administration. Since then, $13.3 billion has been returned.
LBIE creditors include Ramius LLC, GLG European Long/Short Fund, Legal and General Pensions Ltd and Oceanwood Global Opportunities Master Fund, as well as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
LBIE sent the claim resolution agreement to hedge fund managers in November and held meetings in London and New York during December to explain the terms of the agreement and to garner support.
Unsecured creditors are not affected by this arrangement.
(Reporting by Chelsea Emery, editing by Matthew Lewis)