STEVE INSKEEP, host:
So we're watching the oil market and also watching, of course, the financial markets. And we can tell you that thousands of employees at Lehman Brothers may be keeping their jobs after all. The British bank Barclays says it will buy a large part of the bankrupt investment bank. NPR's Rob Gifford reports from London.
ROB GIFFORD: On Sunday, Barclays backed out of buying up the whole of Lehman Brothers because it failed to get government guarantees to support Lehman's troubled real estate portfolio. This morning, it was confirmed that now Lehman has filed for bankruptcy, Barclays has cherry-picked the best parts, buying up Lehman's North American investment banking and trading unit, its New York headquarters, and two data centers, all for the fire sale price of 1.75 billion dollars. Lehman's toxic property assets were not part of the sale. The steep discount is in stark contrast to the 50 billion dollars for which Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America on Sunday.
The Barclays deal could save some 10,000 jobs at Lehman's in the United States while allowing the president of Barclays, Bob Diamond, to attain his long-time goal of expanding the British bank's reach in North America. In a statement today, Diamond called it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Barclays has stepped in before to snap up business from failing companies. When Enron collapsed, it took over the company's European commodities trading department, which is now the core of Barclays' very successful commodities business. The deal to purchase the Lehman's assets must now be approved by a judge overseeing Lehman's bankruptcy proceedings. Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.