January 2008

  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 01.31.08

    $$$ Jeffrey Epstein in Real Life [Daily Intel] $$$ Adventures in Diligence II: The Paper Cut [Going Private] $$$ Are Walruses Efficient? [LoSC] $$$ MBIA wins through sheer force of boredom. [Portfolio]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 6:42 PM
  • due diligence

    How To Ruin Due Diligence

    The inquiry into what the banks knew about the structured credit products they built from mortgages has begun to show signs of moral panic and paranoia. Already we’re seeing the typical result: really bad, radical ideas being put forth as sensible, or even obvious reforms. Take the proposal coming from some securities industry specialists to […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 5:15 PM
  • UBS

    This Feels Wrong

    Something’s amiss at UBS. Though the bank was set to pass out bonuses made entirely out of craptastic stock (down 35 percent for the year) and marshmallows today, employees are acting surprisingly calm, almost…too calm. One in wealth management tells us “we’re doing alright…it’s not a bloodbath” and the word from banking and trading is […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 4:56 PM
  • Jerome Kreviel

    Fraud Rule: Clear Your Home Computer Before You Start Phony Trading

    The news that the police have seized French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel’s personal computer reminds us of a important rule of criminal behavior: don’t have anything incriminating on your home computer. We’re not just talking about a spreadsheet detailing your phony hedges. Anything that is even embarrassing to you or your friends and family can—and […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 4:30 PM
  • legal

    How Do You Spell Trouble For Wall Street? M-A-R-T-I-N.

    The rule that all business failures become criminal matters is bearing out in the subprime mess. Yesterday we learned of an FBI probe. (Gary Weiss expertly dissects it over on Portfolio.) This morning we learned that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office is considering employing the ancient and dreaded Martin Act against Wall Street. […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 4:17 PM
  • bonuses

    Eating Out (On Charlie Gasparino)

    Those watching CNBC’s “The Call” circa 11:30 this morning know that Charlie Gasparino lost a bet to Mary Thompson over how big Lloyd Blankfein’s package would be this year, with Melissa Francis officiating. The terms of the wager stated that the loser had to buy dinner at Campagnola. Interestingly enough, No Sleeves claims that he […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 2:24 PM
  • clothes, The How to Think About Series

    Getting You Promoted, One Pair Of Assless Chaps At A Time (Provided You Work For Larry Robbins)

    The Wall Street Journal has one of those paint by numbers articles today about how it’s inappropriate to dress casually in the office. It’s full of helpful information like “don’t wear ripped jeans that haven’t been washed in three weeks and smell like wet dog” and “Take off your cock ring before you come to […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 1:32 PM
  • Bank of America, Countrywide

    Hedge Fund Wants To Block Countrywide Deal

    Is Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide in trouble? You wouldn’t think so if you’re looking at the spread between where the shares of the two companies are trading. The spread between the shares and the offering price has narrowed dramatically in the last few days, from a high of nearly 25% to the current […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 12:51 PM
  • Banks, Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse

    Credit Suisse To Bear Stearns: It’s Not You, It’s Us.

    Credit Suisse is totally not going steady with Bear Stearns. Ruddy Brady Dougan—the Irishman who is somehow chief executive of the Swiss bank—told Credit Suisse bankers at the meeting of the Committee To Run The World in Davos, Switzerland that a deal to acquire Bear Stearns is a “non-starter,” according to Mark DeCambre at TheStreet.com. […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 12:00 PM
  • Diversions

    Best. Weekend. Ever.

    Wes: Yo, dude! What did you do this weekend? JP: Same old shit, man. You know? Chewed some ice, waterboarded myself. This message brought to you directly from subprime America.

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM
  • Banks, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, legal, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley

    The Mysterious Fourteen

    So who is on this list of 14 companies under investigation by the FBI for their involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis? The FBI apparently intends to keep us in suspense because they won’t give details. All we know is that they are looking into “allegations of fraud at various stages of the mortgage process, […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 10:05 AM
  • fake goldman trader, Thad

    Diary Of A Fake Goldman Trader: The “Jasian” and “Cockblockus Maximus”

    Who remembers that Craiglist ad from the 28 year old Goldman banker looking for someone to lavish with his (pretax) $722k bonus? I’m going to go with all of you because, frankly, it/he was unforgettable. The Viking stove, the custom-made oak dresser, the amazing dinners, the shopping, the great wine, the getting each other off […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 9:51 AM
  • Merrill Lynch

    The Leveling of Merrill Lynch

    Yesterday Merrill Lynch said that Greg Fleming—the bank’s president and chief operating officer—and Bob McCann—who heads the brokerage business—would not receive bonuses for 2007. This decision was made by the board of directors on Monday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Zeroing out executive bonuses has become something of a trend […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 9:15 AM
  • News

    Opening Bell: 1.31.08

    Derivatives Write-Downs Hit MBIA (WSJ) Just so you can keep tabs, MBIA lost $2.3 billion, as it took a quarterly writedown of $3.5 billion. The good news: without the writedown, MBIA is making a lot of money. $1.2 billion to be exact. And as typical for these things, the company also closed another $500 million […]

    / Jan 31, 2008 at 6:57 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 01.30.08

    $$$ New Fed Policy: ‘No Rogue Trader Left Behind’ [Jeff Matthews] $$$ Jerome Kerviel (almost) did what brother Olivier could not. [Telegraph] $$$ The Big R [WallStrip]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 6:22 PM
  • Bond Insurers

    Bond Insurer Gets Downgraded

    Well that rally didn’t last very long did it? The word that FGIC Corp’s bond insurance arm was downgraded by Fitch today certainly didn’t help things. Not that this was totally unexpected. We predicted a downgrade today in a post early this morning. Charlie Gasparino was talking about this on Wednesday. Fitch cut FGIC’s “AAA” […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 4:23 PM
  • Tim Sykes

    Utter Disappointments

    A few weeks ago we reprinted a compilation of Tim Sykes’s hate mail, which he’d forwarded to us completely altruistically besides for the request that we link to his website. There were many gems. Many ad hominem attacks. Many instances of out of the box type insults (my personal favorite: “If I fed you rat […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 4:05 PM
  • Loan Defaults

    The Mystery of Low Defaults For Leveraged Loans

    Talk of recession is everywhere. The Fed is cutting like a barber above a pie shop. Consumer confidence is sinking, spending failing to keep up with spending power. You can’t read a Fed statement without coming across worries about the credit crunch. You’d think that we might see an increase in defaults for leveraged loans […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 4:00 PM
  • Fed

    Flying Away On A Wing And A Prayer: 125 Basis Points In 8 Days

    Well, the 47.5% minority of those polled at DealBreaker got it right. The Fed announced a cut of 50 basis points in the target rate and the discount rate, meaning we’ve seen 125 basis points slashed off the Fed Funds target rate in the last week or so. As far as we can remember, this […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 2:29 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Is Sailfish Sinking?

    Sailfish Capital Partners is blowing up, according to the hedge fund experts at FinAlternatives. Yesterday the traders at the Stamford based fund were ordered to begin liquidating its entire portfolio as quickly as possible. The trouble began when the two partners, Mark Fishman and Sal Naro, got into a shouting match yesterday. At the conclusion […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 1:54 PM
  • Fox

    Charlie Gasparino’s Advice: “Kill The Mook”

    Mary in Indianapolis is a fifty year old single mother dealing with a deadbeat ex-husband who doesn’t pay child support and whose “financial incompetence” is about to drive their home into maybe forclosure*, which Mary is paying for because her name is on the mortgage, even though she’s living elsewhere and he’s shacked up with […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 1:16 PM
  • Jerome Kreviel

    Who Would Play Jerome Kerviel in the Movies?

    That’s the question raised yesterday by Deal Journal’s Heidi Moore. Her suggestions: Tom Cruise – of whom Kerviel’s Paris neighbors say he is a lookalike. But we think Paul Rudd–the romantic love interest from the classic film “Clueless”–wins the resemblance sweepstakes hands-down. Ed Norton, former boyfriend of Francois Pinault’s wife, Salma Hayek, has played men […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 12:36 PM
  • Countrywide

    Why Didn’t the Post Headline Say ‘Home Mo’ Goes Down?’

    There’s a shocking story in today’s Post about how Countrywide’s Angelo Mozillo said the company would be profitable in the fourth-quarter and—HOMG—it wasn’t. An investor in Georgia is “a little bit disappointed” that he lost $3,200 and a lot of people are just plain hurt that they were taken for a ride (in AM’s red […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM
  • Fed, Reader Poll

    Twenty-Five Or Fifty? The DealBreaker Reader Poll

    Just in case you missed it last night, we’re bringing the reader poll on today’s Fed decision back to the top of the page. There’s about an hour left to vote for this before we shut down the poll and start gearing up to cover the aftermath. Opinion Polls & Market Research

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 10:12 AM
  • Bond Insurers

    Downgrade Of Insurers Now More Likely

    Wrangling over a plan to bail out troubled bond insurers is inviting a downgrade by ratings agencies, according to source familiar with the discussions within one of the agencies. New York state insurance regulators have asked the agencies to postpone a downgrade while they work out a plan with Wall Street banks but a flurry […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 9:42 AM
  • Fed

    Shifting Opinion On Fed Cut

    What a difference a day makes. Just two days ago, DealBreaker’s reader poll revealed an almost even split between those who thought the Fed would today announce a 50 basis point rate cut and those predicting a 25 basis point cut. The 50 bps cut had a slight edge, in fact. Late yesterday we began […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM
  • Layoffs

    Quiet Layoffs At Cowen & Company

    We hear that Cowen & Company has quietly been making cuts to its investment banking units. Like many financials, shares of Cowen & Company have suffered tremendously in the past year. It is down 52% over the past 12 months, worse even than Bear Stearns. A source told DealBreaker that the investment bank had cut […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 8:43 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 1.30.08

    China Snow Crisis Shows Vulnerability (AP) This isn’t a metaphor. The China snow crisis is just that, a crisis about snow. As in the cold white stuff that we’ve had none of this year. Apparently certain parts of the country are getting hammered, leading to all kinds of supply chain issues and shortages of food […]

    / Jan 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM

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