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Repo 105 Lehman's 'Accounting Gimmick' Explained

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Planet Money explains how Repo 105 worked. "But when Lehman Brothers wanted to make it look like it wasn't borrowing so much money, the company used a special technique to get around this rule. It did repo deals where it took slightly less cash than the asset was worth. For example: If Lehman owned a bond that was worth $105, it would "sell" it on the repo market for $100. (The "105" in Repo 105 refers to the fact that the assets were worth at least 105% of what Lehman was getting for them.)....Lehman would take the money it got from selling the bond and pay off some of its debts. Then, after it had issued its quarterly report, the company would borrow more money to repurchase the bond."
SOURCE:   Planet Money

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