Sure, the $53 billion in assets are illiquid, but at some price there is a buyer. Are the assets worth 10 cents on the dollar or 50 cents on the dollar? Dick Fuld was afraid to find out because he knew that at 10 cents, Lehman likely was bankrupt anyway.
Still, there are tens of billions of dollars of Wall Street capital happy to bid for the assets. Goldman, private-equity firms like J.C. Flowers, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Carlyle Group, TPG or Blackstone Group, hedge funds, distressed-debt funds and sovereign-wealth funds all have capital. They are just waiting for the clearing prices on Lehman’s assets to get attractive.
The vulture economy.