Lehman Up For Sale

Just one day after Lehman Brothers assured Wall Street that it could survive on its own, the beleaguered investment bank, urged on by U.S. government officials, bowed to mounting pressure on Thursday and put itself up for sale.

As confidence in Lehman continued to drain away on Thursday, the bank, one of the oldest names on Wall Street, reached out to several potential buyers, including Bank of America and Barclays insiders say. Lehman hopes to strike a deal within days.

In each case, the suitors are seeking help from the Federal Reserve to help make an acquisition palatable. They want the Fed to guarantee a part of Lehman's troubled assets, these people said, similar to the way it backstopped the emergency sale of another foundering bank, Bear Stearns, in March.

But while the Treasury Department and Fed were working to broker an orderly sale of Lehman, it was unclear whether the Fed would stand behind any deal, particularly after the Bush administration took control of the nation's two largest mortgage finance companies only days ago.

Lehman's share price fell $3.03 on Thursday to $4.22, leaving it down nearly 94 percent this year.