$$$Shorting the Government, cont. [Long or Short Capital]
$$$Can anything stop THE GOOGLE? [Business Wire Daily]
$$$More Aleksey-related news. [New York Sun via Banker's Ball]
$$$Dentsply (XRAY) [WallStrip]
Archive for January 2007
$$$Shorting the Government, cont. [Long or Short Capital]
Returning to DealBreaker’s coverage of the nuclear pupil explosion of insightfulness that is the Yahoo! Personal Finance website, today we review Penelope Trunk’s latest column. According to Yahoo! Personal Finance, “The Brazen Careerist” Penelope Trunk, former marketing executive and professional beach volleyball player (Impossible really is nothing!), “writes counterintuitive but effective career advice for a new generation of workers, where she explains why old advice — like pay your dues, climb the ladder, and don’t have gaps in your resume — is outdated and irrelevant in today’s workplace.”
DealBreaker’s *shocking* discovery is that almost all of the advice administered on Yahoo! Personal Finance is so bland, so generic and so impersonal, that it can be applied to almost anything, including (but not limited to) Asian Butterfly Escorts.
So, here it is, Penelope’s “Top Tips for Giving Yourself More Time,” (completely unaltered!) applied to an Asian Butterfly Escort: (after the jump)
Returning to CNN’s list of the “Dumbest Moments in Business,” otherwise dominated by Wal-Mart, here is a clip that highlights some pretty obnoxious ways people have been laid off in the past year. It’s nice to see CNN completely stealing VH1’s “Best Week Ever”/’every other show it produces’ format. The sad thing is that the actual corporate events are way funnier than the commentary. The clip details the Northwest Airlines ‘How to be an efficient homeless person’ guide distributed to former employees and Bank of America’s mandatory (in the sense that getting your severance is “mandatory”) training of outsourced replacements.
The Video - [CNN]
The latest string of Schumer and Bloomberg refutations are out (even since the opening bell), concerning the dynamic duo’s alarmist report about the impending decline of NYC’s financial dominance due to SarbOx and precluded by mass IPO relocation. To summarize a couple recent responses: The New Yorker’s Financial Page argues that the IPO migration is mostly a byproduct of large-scale privatization of former foreign government enterprise and SarbOx hasn’t hurt the market, evident by its growth. Adam Lashinsky of Fortune takes this stance one step further, pointing to the growth in the number of venture backed companies that went public in the U.S. in 2006 and the increase in the amount of money raised by domestic IPOs per IPO. Lashinsky also says the strength of the U.S. IPO market is self-evident in fact that some of the largest tech IPOs are still looking to trade on U.S. exchanges, not foreign ones.
IPOs still love U.S. markets – [Fortune via CNNMoney]
Over There – [New Yorker]
Bush’s “State of the Economy” speech is happening rightthissecond at Federal Hall on Wall Street. Unlike the State of the Union, the SE is not an annual party, but one delivered at the whim of the Commander in Chief, whenever he has a premonition that his numbers are bad enough that he needs to book a seat on the Acela from Union Station to Penn and tout something “good” as the work of his own nimble fingers. So far, Bushie-boy has reckoned that “America’s capital markets are the deepest, the broadest and the most efficient in the world,” and has called for changes to Sar-Box, specifically Section 404, stating that we “don’t need to change the law, we need to change the way the law is implemented.” Groundbreaking stuff, eh? Well it wasn’t just a waste of time and $180 for the Dubya. Incidentally, he’s also inconvenienced those of you who actually work on Wall Street, too.
[11:46] ClipperJCM: So President Fool is speaking in the building next door, and as a consequence, I can’t leave the building to get coffee.
[11:48] ohbabyitsbess: that seems like an unusually restrictive security measure
[11:48] ohbabyitsbess: no coffee in the vicinity of the president?
[11:57] ClipperJCM: Starbucks is across the street.
[11:57] ClipperJCM: And of course I dislike Starbucks, but sometimes it serves the purpose
[11:57] ClipperJCM: At the moment, I can’t cross the street.
[11:58] ClipperJCM: Dunkin Donuts is my preferred haunt. It’s down Broad Street, and I can’t walk that way without passing through the phalanx of Secret Service
[11:58] ohbabyitsbess: i suppose a trump building badge does not interest the secret service
[11:59] ClipperJCM: it’ll get me back onto my own block
[11:59] ClipperJCM: and into my building
[11:59] ClipperJCM: but I won’t be able to cross over to blocks with decent coffee
[11:59] ClipperJCM: my only option is the horrible little stand in our building
[11:59] ClipperJCM: or suicide
[12:00] ohbabyitsbess: 6-1, half a dozen to the other
Bush says lawsuits, regulations hurting markets [Reuters]
The first of the U.S. Commerce Department reports is out this morning; showing 2006 GDP growth in Q4 of 3.5%, up from 2% in Q3 and 3.2% in Q4 of 2005. This surpassed the consensus of economic experts by half a per cent. The other major highlight from the report is a dip in inflation (or at least a tempering of the inflation surges in Q2 and Q3), aided by a 0.8% fall in the government’s price index for personal expenditures.
Boeing, up almost 5% after morning trading, doubled Q4 net income and experienced 26% revenue growth in response to the robust
blowing the crap out of things aviation market.
U.S. Economy Grows 3.5%; Inflation Gauge Falls Sharply – [WSJ]
Boeing’s Net More Than Doubles On Surge in Jetliner Orders – [WSJ]
Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker article sheds some light on Google’s semi-surreptitious book scanning efforts. Google plans to scan every book in the world (minimum 32 million) to create a comprehensive Google Book Search tool that would provide references and quotations to the volumes in its database. The Company has been scanning every book currently in the public domain, plundering the libraries of major state and private universities like Michigan and Stanford. Recently, however, Google has been cut off from scanning books not in the public domain (copyrighted volumes) from private universities because they don’t want to get sued.
Publishers have a problem with Google’s scanning; namely, they aren’t getting any cash for it. The legal battle Google faces is over copyrighted books. 20% of all books are in the public domain and free to scan and reproduce, 10% are in print and under copyright, and most of the rest are under copyright but out of print or restricted in some other fashion.
Google’s argument is that Google Books is basically a glorified card catalogue, and will merely point to sources rather than produce them entirely upon search. The publisher’s argument is that Google is going to profit from such ‘pointing,’ so it better give a little slice to publishers/authors like any other such enterprise. The consensus among people in the dispute is that a settlement is likely. This will actually help Google, creating a significant cash barrier to entry in the electronic book compiling market. What is paper thin police tape to Google is an entire barricade to most other companies.
Google is not Wikipedia, and despite its desires to ‘not be evil,’ the $150bn megalith’s path toward owning all the written information on the planet, whether it’s merely a ‘portal’ or not, is a bit daunting. Where’s crippling bureaucracy when you need it, or at least something to make Google seem less like the ultra-efficient assimilation machine Borg and more like the rather bumbling Vogons?
Google’s Moon Shot – [New Yorker]
The son of Senator Joe Biden (who is quite charming, a great story-teller and has the perfect hair for a white house)*, R. Hunter Biden, a Washington lobbyist, is being sued by Anthony Lolito Jr. Lolito claims Biden (and his partner-uncle James) kept him out of the purchase of a hedge fund investment firm in 2006. The firm is Paradigm Cos., based in New York. Lolito maintains that the Bidens lied to him about an offer so that they could negotiate a better deal alone.
Earlier this month, the junior Biden resigned from “daily oversight” of Paradigm Global Advisors LLC, a division of Paradigm Cos. that manages hedge fund investments; he remains a lobbyist for the firm.
(And yes, “JB + BL” is written inside a pink heart on the front of my Trapper Keeper. We all have our demons). Just read the Observer piece. So, that’s interesting. I have decided, after not so careful consideration, to withdraw my endorsement of Sen. Biden in favor of the wildly succeful and not at all nebbishy (though oft erroneously pegged as such) NJ Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Thank you and good night.
Biden, Senator’s Son, Is Sued Over Purchase of Hedge-Fund Firm [Bloomberg]
Not too long ago, Philip Morris changed its name to Altria in order to distance itself from those pesky little cancer sticks it did such a great job of selling—specifically, Marlboro brand cigarettes. But apparently it wasn’t the cigarettes that were the dead weight. Altria is spinning off its Krafts Foods division, which makes Oreos, Tang, and a bunch of other products cigarettes are too good to associate themselves with. The split was originally announced in October; today, Altria’s chief executive, Louis c. Camilleri will set a timetable for the spinoff’s completion (shares have risen 10% since the split was announced).
An analyst from Citigroup, which just can’t seem to catch a break, told the New York Times “The exciting part for me…is that tobacco use today will evolve. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a 100 percent safe cigarette, but we feel that a reduced-risk cigarette is on the horizon.” Sounds like dropping the Kraft Foods fatties was a shrewd move for Altria. With advent of cigarettes that don’t-cause-cancer-but-will-most-likely-still-cause-things-like- Emphysema-discolored-nails-ashtray-smelling-breath-etc, shares are sure to shoot through the roof.
Tobacco’s Stigma Aside, Wall Street Finds a Lot to Like [NYT]
Following in Hollywood hedge fund operator Benjamin Waisbren and Co.’s (possibly failed) footsteps, Citigroup will be funding at least 45 movies over the next five years, in conjunction with the privately held Relativity Media. Ryan Kavanaugh, an executive at Relativity Media, brokered the deal, and previously worked with Deutsche Bank to finance 18 movies to be made by Sony and Universal Studios over the next two years. No word on whether a $Honey movie-of-the-week will be included in the 45, but, for the most part, it can pretty much be assumed. (Gotta start making those trademark application fees earn their keep, you know?)
CITI’S FILM SEED [NYPost]
Bristol-Myers hires banks for sale advice
Everybody knows that it’s a bad idea to just reach into your parents’ medicine cabinet and mix their pharmaceuticals, unless you want to get high. Mixing pharmaceutical companies will probably lead to the same result, but it’s pretty dangerous. Although there’s nothing official yet in terms of a Bristol-Myers/Sanofi deal (wonder what they’d call the company), word is is that Bristol-Myers has hired Lehman and Morgan to help it work out a deal. So, deal or no deal, the company is definitely interested in something.
Drug Safety Oversight Will Be Strengthened, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)
Yeah, because the FDA does such a good job in its current capacity, riiiight. No, in all seriousness, does anyone feel comfortable now that the FDA will expand its oversight of drugs after they’ve been released to the market? Yes, in a sense, this should bring some measure of comfort to those currently taking medicines, that the long-term effects are being studied, but given how much of a burden the FDA already is, and how many good treatments get taken off the market because of a few spots of bad data, this seems like it could easily cause more pain than it’s worth.
Is Wall Street Really Losing Its Edge? (Dealbook)
Now that Chuck Schumer is on the anti-SarbOx bandwagon, penning articles with mayor Bloomberg about how Wall St. is deteriorating, everything is hunky dory, right? Well, it’s great to have someone like Schumer unexpectedly reach his conclusion about SarbOx, but maybe he got there for reasons that aren’t so appealing. Maybe it’s just a form of populism — like if he were from South Carolina, he’d be writing op-eds about the textile industry going overseas. What looks like a free-market position might not be so principled. And maybe Wall St. isn’t doing that badly. Certainly the staggering earnings and record bonuses don’t portend much doom, except from a contrarian point of view. And other things, like the global dispersion of IPOs may not be as damning as originally thought.
Baquet Rejoins Times as Washington Bureau Chief (NYT)
The grunt reporters at the Times are gonna love this. The Paper of Record has hired Dean Baquet to be its Washington Bureau Chief. Dean Baquet stands somewhere between Joe Hill and Casey Jones, in the eyes of many, for his one-man fight against Tribune Co. management, when, as the chief at the LA Times, he refused to institute the job cuts that were demanded of him. This radical insubordination certainly earned him a lifetime of speaking to college J-schools about the good old days of the craft — in the short term, it got him a gig at the Times.