• 16 Feb 2007 at 9:30 AM
  • Citadel

Is Goldman’s Chinese Wall Leaking?

lloyd_blankfein_closeup.jpg It’s putting things a bit mildly to say, the the New York Post puts it, that “Goldman Sachs is raising eyebrows” with its disclosure that it has amassed a 7 percent stake in Ion Media Networks. Citadel and General Electric‘s NBC have partnered to target Ion for a buyout, and Goldman is advising NBC on the transaction. Information about potential buyout bids, of course, is not supposed to flow from the investment banking advising side to the proprietary trading side but the close timing of Goldman’s Ion acquisition and NBC-Citadel’s bid at least looks a bit dodgey.
So is Goldman leaking to Goldman, or is this just an inconvenient appearance of impropriety?
“It’s really a matter of how far up the decisions go,” one investment banking insider familiar with Goldman Sachs internal controls tells DealBreaker. “If the investment banking advice is coming from far enough down on the chain and the decision to pick up a big stake in Ion came from far enough down, it’s probably just a coincidence. But the higher up you go, the narrower things get, and the harder it is for information not to get passed around.”
There is, for instance, no “Chinese wall” bi-furcating Lloyd Blankfein’s brain.

Goldman’s Odd Moves
[New York Post]

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    man bites dog! you mean Goldman unfairly takes advantage of it’s preferred information position? I’m shocked.
    A few other examples off the top of my head:
    They paid a $5M fine for obtaining confidential information on treasury auction and made $350M on the trade. Hmm +350 – 5 = 345.
    Or LTCM, where Goldman went in to do “due diligence” ostensibly because they were going to buy out the book, but instead were seen on their cell phones making calls back to the home office so the traders could shoot against all the positions.

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