Progress reports from the administrators of Lehman Brothers’ bankrupt businesses show how pricey going bust can be.

Lehman fees

In Europe, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported this week that it collected US$238m in fees for winding up the bank over the past year. The accountancy firm charged for more than 250,000 hours of work in the past six months, up from around 235,000 in the previous six-month stretch. Lehman’s European legal team, led by Linklaters, collected US$112m over the past year.

In the US, Lehman’s first year in bankruptcy racked up fees of US$417m, according to a filing last week. Restructuring specialist Alvarez & Marsal received the most, US$169m, followed by law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, with US$99m.

The advisors’ work is far from finished, not least because Lehman’s various units continue to file large, complex claims against each other. In its latest report, PwC notes that Lehman’s European unit will “imminently” lodge a US$90bn claim against its (former) US parent.

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