Archive for June 2007

  • 28 Jun 2007 at 3:22 PM
  • Dow

MMME (Major Murdoch Meter Event)

murdoch-meter-90.jpgWhen it came out that Rupert Murdoch and Dow Jones had agreed on a way to preserve the Wall Street Journal’s editorial independence, we naively assumed that a compromise had been reached. In fact, the “agreement” consists of exactly what Murdoch wanted and more, the New York Times is reporting.
The details have not been finalized, but as it stands, News Corp will have the exclusive power to hire and fire top editors at the Journal. In addition, and this is the shocking part, the board of editors the Bancrofts want established as shield against Murdoch’s influence will not have veto power over any News Corp editorial appointees. Even the similar board at the Times of London, which the Bancrofts have cited as an example of too much News Corp influence, has this veto.
The Bancrofts still haven’t seen the agreement. Based on their past behavior, they probably won’t be happy about it.
In related news, some Wall Street Journal staffers are apparently taking half the day off work today to protest Murdoch’s bid. According to a Newspaper Guild statement from this morning,

“The Wall Street Journal’s long tradition of independence, which has been the hallmark of our news coverage for decades, is threatened today. We, along with hundreds of other Dow Jones employees represented by the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, want to demonstrate our conviction that the Journal’s editorial integrity depends on an owner committed to journalistic independence.”

Nothing like a good “don’t go back” lunch break to show you are made of stern stuff.
Also, MySpace founder Brad Greenspan’s weird effort to block Murdoch by buying 25% of Dow Jones is apparently still happening. “We have put out a proposal to the family and the board, and I think they’re looking at it with great interest. We plan to meet with the board later this week – that’s a new development,” he told CNBC yesterday.
Dow Jones stock dropped slightly with the news, most likely out of fear that the Bancrofts won’t like the agreement the board reached with Murdoch. The meter has slipped 5%.
Tentative Dow Jones Sale Pact Said to Give Murdoch Power to Hire and Fire at The Journal [NYT]
A statement from Wall Street Journal reporters [Romenesko]
Dow Jones Bidder to Meet Board; News Corp. Deal Reached [CNBC]

MichaelMooreNYSE.jpgThe New York Stock Exchange has banned Michael Moore, saying he is not welcome in the exchange building on Wall Street, CNBC is reporting. The controversial film-maker was scheduled to be interviewed by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo at 3 PM today.
Moore’s latest film “Sicko” is critical of the health care system in the United States, and he has been calling on investors, pension funds other institutional investors to divest from health insurance companies. Some publicly traded health insurance companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Last week a Lehman Brothers analyst wrote a client note describing the film as an attack on the U.S. health care system. “Michael Moore’s latest documentary, ‘Sicko,’ to be released June 29, might trigger resentment against insurers,” the note said. “The film directly aims at the U.S. health care system and the insurance industry and suggests a government-run system is the best alternative.”
Update: We’re told that Moore may now be unbanned. Still no word on what powerful force inside the exchange is issuing and possibly retracting these orders.

  • 28 Jun 2007 at 2:00 PM
  • Fed

UPDATE: Fed rate unchanged

The Fed has kept the bank lending rate at 5.25% for the eighth straight meeting, in an announcement made at 2:15pm today. Economic growth appeared to moderate opposed to slow, which is better news than expected. The market today has been cautiously higher in anticipation of no surprises.
Stocks Inch Higher Ahead of Fed [Wall Street Journal]

Why Won’t You Just Conform?

gucci.jpgWe like our men in blue shirts and black pants, as opposed to ensembles reminiscent of “high-end gigolos populating the piazzetta in Capri.” So the news that the new uniform of (mostly) hedgies and (some) investment bankers alike is comprised of $700 cotton poplin trousers (Bottega Veneta), $250 flip-flops (Hermès) and $20,000 satchels in matte tobacco crocodile (Tod’s) was a bit disturbing to us, as we imagine it was to anyone else with eyes. But apparently, according to those designers, plus Ferragamo, Gucci, Versace, Valentino and more, you people enjoy looking like the male-moneyed equivalent of a Puerto Rican whore. They’re just complying.
A “diaphanous raincoat of parachute silk and side-belted blouson shirts” here, “boxing shorts and judo trousers, remade in matte satin and jewel colors” there. This is the new sartorial face of Third Point, RenTech, and ESL. The Bear Stearns bullpen.
Investment banker Euan Rellie was recently photographed wearing a “cropped jacket piped at the collar, lapel, hem and pocket; shirttails left hanging; bow tie” all by Thom Browne. Guy Trebay found the resulting ensemble in line with that of “the man hired by the caterers to make balloon animals.” Are these the people you want handling your money?
Looking Like a Billion Bucks [New York Times]

Unorthodox Landscape Architect Gets Goldman Promotion

hedges-large.jpgMarc Spilker has been named COO of the investment management division of Goldman Sachs (he will not be replacing Eric Schwartz, who recently announced he would be stepping down as co-head of asset management, as rumored earlier this week). Spilker will retain his role overseeing alternative-investments.

  • 28 Jun 2007 at 12:38 PM
  • Banks

Hoax Email Claims Banker Quit
But He Tells Us He’s Still At Work

burning bridge 1.jpg The latest email making the rounds through investment banking circles is a bridge burning farewell from a young banker.
“I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects – an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium,” the email says.
It sounds like exactly the kind of bold declaration of independence that many young bankers dream of writing but almost never do. So many were applauding the JP Morgan banker whose name appears on the email as the author.
The only problem is that the banker on the email says he didn’t write it. What’s more, he still works at JP Morgan. It appears that the banker (whose name we’re redacting to protect the innocent) is the victim of a hoax, although it’s not clear who is responsible or why he has been singled out.
The email bears more than a family resemblance to a faux-farewell email message written by Upright Citizens Brigade regular and comedy writer Chris Kula. Kula’s original purely comedic farewell is here, although we have to dock him a few points for not having any fun banking scars or chiropractor bills to show for his faux angst.
Read the email that a JP Morgan banker didn’t send after the jump.

Read more »

Lloyd “Don’t need no stinking badges” Blankfein, Ho!

sab.jpg
Separated at birth? Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO; Pancho Villa, Leader of the Mexican Revolution; Snarf, Thundercats (Ho!)

  • 28 Jun 2007 at 11:21 AM
  • Starbucks

Starbucks – Venti Film Aspirations, Tall Results

starbucks_spelling.jpg “Um…why is my Grande Mocha (with extra whip) asking me to spell ‘sardoodledom’?” pretty much sums up Starbucks’ first film promotion venture.
Last year, Starbucks Entertainment (and here I thought Starbucks Entertainment is the laughter that ensues when the cashier asks for $5 in exchange for a cup of coffee) promoted the film “Akeelah and the Bee” for a cut of the film’s box-office proceeds. Akeelah, surprisingly void of sardoodledom (mechanically contrived plot structure or stereotyped, unrealistic characterization in drama (another word for melodrama)), was a flop, even for a documentary. The promotion campaign consisted of spelling bee words on cup sleeves and general barista harassment to go see the film (although baristas are surprisingly mum when it comes to giving a language of origin).
Undeterred by its first film promotion effort, Starbucks is promoting another film, “Arctic Tale,” an eco-fable about a walrus and polar bear that become special, special friends, and then drown after the ice caps melt (like Milo & Otis, if they were in Korea). The Paramount Classics and National Geographic Films release will be condescendingly explained to Starbucks patrons as a cautionary tale about global warming. The film is set to open in select theaters on July 25 and nationally on August 17.
(Here is the video of the poor soul who got stuck with “sardoodledom” in the National Spelling Bee, and nailed it)
Starbucks Sticks With Film-Promotion Plan [Wall Street Journal]