Neuberger Berman ( NEU) said it is in preliminary negotiations toward a business combination. The statement comes two days after it was reported Lehman Brothers ( LEH) was in talks to acquire the fund company for $3 billion.

"Although it has been and will remain Neuberger Berman's policy not to comment on market rumors, Neuberger Berman is confirming these discussions at this time in light of a pending offering of a closed-end fund" it is sponsoring, the company said. "There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in a transaction."

Neuberger was presumably concerned nondisclosure of the talks could invalidate the fund's prospectus.

The Wall Street Journal reported that ongoing talks between Lehman and Neuberger toward a cash and stock acquisition had recently intensified. Neuberger is an investment adviser with about $56 billion in assets under management.

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