Lehman's fixed income business bought for $2? (Updated)

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The ignominy of it: Lehman's fixed income business, one of the best in Europe, was said to have been sold to Nomura for all of $2 on Friday, according to the Telegraph.

Most of the LEH fixed income bankers who've been pressing the flesh with headhunters looked set to be included in the deal - the Telegraph said 1,900 of Lehman's 2,000 fixed income people were to be kept on by Nomura.

Headhunters told us that guaranteed bonuses were a sticking point, however. Nomura is offering generous two-year guarantees to MDs in Lehman's equities and investment banking units. But the Japanese bank was said to be unwilling to extend that largesse to people in Lehman's fixed income business, which brings potential exposure to heavy liabilities.

Without guarantees, headhunters said people with any choice in the matter were doubtful about joining Nomura: "Some of them are getting good bids from Barclays."

By Saturday, the deal was apparently unravelling. The Times reported that there hadn't been a sale after all, with Nomura unwilling to expose itself to possible heavy losses from Lehman's fixed income operations.

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