$$$ Draw the blinds: another protest at AIG is planned for Friday. [IACenter]
$$$ Did anyone else think GM’s pledge for ‘deeper, harder, faster‘ restructuring was a reference to this? Just us? [Guardian]
$$$ The Grim Math At GM [WSJ]
$$$ Layoffs at RSM McGladrey: “45 people today in their NY office, including a bunch from their hedge fund group. Lots of Jews among the axed, right before Passover.”
Archive for March 2009
$$$ Draw the blinds: another protest at AIG is planned for Friday. [IACenter]
With President Barack Obama showing the ailing U.S. auto industry some tough love Monday, POLITICO wondered — what’s …
… in the driveways of White House aides? A lot of foreign cars, as it turns out.
Explore the depths of auto-psychoanalysis, after the jump.
Supposedly “the US head of institutional sales, head of risk for one of the engines and the head of structured finance and prime brokerage are all leaving, as well as one of the former CIOs.”
So! A dear friend of Dealbreaker is one of the few b-school applicants to be granted admittance to Club 2 Year Vacay this year. Tuck and Stern have already been crossed off the list (too Hanover, too Nouriel), with Columbia and University of Chicago remaining. Here we have a dilemma, which you can probably guess. The lady in question can’t decide. Difficult as it may be for Dealbreaker readers to form opinions, we figured we’d throw this one at you. Considering all factors (quality of student bodies, social life, chances of getting a job in New York post-grad, etc) please make a decision for her now. Begin. (Oh, and answers like “Columbia” or “Chicago” aren’t helpful. You must elaborate.)
No, just messin’ with ya, but the old boy *was* spotted taking notes at the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on the emotionally disturbed asset relief program, presumably for the new flick. Will he be taking a meeting with Maxine Waters, or at least stop by her office to see what’s a poppin’ later today? Obviously our fingers are crossed.
Moore wore his trademark baseball cap, standing out among the sea of suits. He sat in the third row, chatting with a dark-haired man as TARP cop Neil Barofsky, Elizabeth Warren, who as Congressional Oversight Panel head is overseeing the banking bailout, and U.S. acting comptroller general and Government Accountability Office chief Gene Dodaro addressed lawmakers.
Moore slipped out of the hearing before it ended, avoiding the reporters.
Well, Global Alpha has seen better days. Anyone get the sense that this was a few years too late? Or is that just us?
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS.N) said the heads of its computer-driven investments and Global Alpha, once the bank’s largest hedge fund, retired on Tuesday.
Departing were Mark Carhart and Raymond Iwanowski, who helped run Global Alpha and a group that managed quantitative investments. They left the bank along with research co-head Giorgio De Santis, the bank said.
The departures follow two years of disappointing performance at Global Alpha, where assets fell to $2.5 billion last year from a peak of $12 billion in 2007.
Here’s a thought experiment:
What would you make of the Deputy Prime Minister of a large country that insisted that, compared to the rest of the world, centralized regulation like price or production caps would be difficult to impose in his country because of the independent nature of the country’s legal system and the sanctity of property rights? Sounds reasonable, no?
Then what if I told you that the CEO of the same country’s privately-held and largest energy conglomerate was arrested on almost certainly politically motivated fraud and tax evasion charges? That he was sentenced to nine years in prison and a controlling interest in the firm was then transferred to a successor? And if that that successor was forced to flee to Israel to avoid similar charges? And if I pointed out that what followed was a mass exodus of the entire Board of Directors and most of the executive corps to foreign shores to avoid arrest and prosecution? If I then told you similar stories about the larger media and banking interests in said country, you might find our Deputy Prime Minister’s claims a bit fantastic, no? Consider:
“It would be irresponsible for Russia to join OPEC because we can’t directly regulate the activity of our companies,” he said, as nearly all are privately owned.
Yet, he supports “coordinating actions” with the cartel because of the shared interest in lifting prices. He said Moscow isn’t in a position to mandate lower production, but Russian oil companies will curb output this year as falling prices cut into their ability to produce.
He figured that if oil slides back under $40 a barrel, Russian output this year could fall twice the amount the government now forecasts, or about 300,000 barrels a day.
Oh, and apparently:
“In Post-Soviet Russia, falling price reduces demand.”
Moscow Warns on Low Oil Prices [The Wall Street Journal]
And with the fare hike, he fo sho won’t be able to swing it! Peter Madoff, brother and colleague of Bernie was denied an appeal to not have his assets frozen today, though god love this family, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. According to Pedro’s lawyer Charles Spada, Ponzi Boy’s bro “can’t spend a dime, can’t take a subway ride, can’t buy a loaf of bread, can’t [cough, cough] pay his attorneys…I don’t know that he can afford a MetroCard.” Hopefully he’ll be able to rely on the kindness of sister-in-law Ruth, who, for now, can still cover the Jarlsberg, home in Palm Beach, and costume jewels.
When John Mack was almost lured into enough of a false sense of security (or perhaps a conspiracy) to nearly disclose his plans to raise new equity* and pay back TARP money by CNBC’s Erin Burnett we thought it might be curtains for the guy. We are also not sure how he could have lived with himself after making such a slip it in front of Lloyd’s of Goldman. Our Bess Levin was (virtually) there to capture the moment:
Burnett: Let’s talk TARP…you’ve said you want to return it after the stress test, as early as April…do you still want to do that?
Blankfein: We didn’t say shit. TARP has never been permanent capital…we will return it, at some point, with interest.
Burnett: How ’bout you, Stanley?
Mack: We’re in the same position…we can pay it back…we’ll do it if our regulator wants us to.
Burnett: Okay, more about TARP. If you give the money back, and something catastrophic happens again, and you need the money will you–
Mack: Erin, stop. This was not what the meeting was about. We talked about what are we going to do, how are we going to do it, what are the issues.
Burnett: Your stock is high again…are you going to raise equity?
Blankfein: We’ll be talking to our regulators.
Mack: I need to talk to my board first. As much as I like CNBC, I’m really not going to go there.
Yes, yes. Everything is fine. And how dare you ask that question, you little minx. You’ll never work in this town again! (Phew, that was close). Oh, wait:
Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer John J. Mack, who will run the largest broker-dealer when the acquisition of Smith Barney from Citigroup Inc. is completed later this year, told employees in a nationwide conference call yesterday that 2009 will be “a difficult year,” mostly because of so many toxic debts that have yet to be cleansed from the bank’s holdings. Among the 529 financial institutions that received loans from American taxpayers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley isn’t yet prepared to pay back the $10 billion it received from the U.S. Treasury in October.
Earlier: Coffee Klatsch With Mack and Blankfein
Mack Warns Morgan Stanley of ‘Difficult Year’ in 2009 [Bloomberg]
* Not that there are now or will be any such plans or that such plans are or are not being considered or that said plans exist or could ever be said to have existed.
And thank god for that, otherwise Time would be looking at the business end of a serious hissyfit that I’m sure we don’t have to tell you would escalate in a back alley assault. After nominating Gaspo for its list of the 100 most influential people of the year, and suggesting that a reason one wouldn’t want to vote for C to the G was that he once prognosticated that AIG would never go bankrupt, the mag has correct the error (yesterday Chaz told Dealbreaker, “The only thing I ever said, in December 2007, was that they had enough capital to survive at that point,” and demanded a correction and cover story apology).
Sayeth The Man Without Sleeves: “When alerted, they said they would investigate and then
changed it. They are stand up people. Vote for Chazzy today.”
Honestly, bless the hearts of the Connecticut branch of the Madoff Movie of the Week. Since losing basically all of Fairfield Greenwich clients’ money to Ponzi-boy, they’ve been trying *really* hard not to flit about telling everyone, but mostly mags and newspapers, how great is to be a Noel. But cutting out press cold turkey is hard! And it’s not like the family has posed for any spreads in Vanity Fair lately which, completely sincerely, we think shows enormous restraint. Look, the road to rehabilitation is tough, sometimes you’re going to have slips, like when you can’t help but saying “Okayyyy, Wall Street Journal, I’ll talk to you on the record about the sweet ass life of a Noel. Oh, but you gotta make sure to mention we’re victims at least five times, k? ‘Cause I’m supposed to be playing one.” It feels good, you know? It feels right. It feels like coming home. Let’s do this:
With an apartment in Manhattan and a mansion in London, and then in Madrid, a butler, a chauffeured car and a private jet, he did just that. The Colombian threw lavish parties, assembled an impressive art collection and held court from his Falcon yacht anchored off the Spanish island resort of Mallorca, where he has a hacienda. Friends he entertained included the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Felipe, the heir to Spain’s throne, and top models like Elle Macpherson.
Friends say Mr. Piedrahita settled down after his marriage to Ms. Noel. He merged Littlestone with Fairfield Greenwich in 1997. Shortly after, he moved to London to a mansion on Chester Square. He entertained lavishly. One friend remembers a dinner party flush with English dukes and members of European royal houses. “The only dukes not there were the Dukes of Hazzard,” joked Mr. Botero.
In Madrid, where he moved in 2003, Mr. Piedrahita’s lifestyle became even grander. He commuted between Madrid and London on a private Gulfstream jet which was parked at a military base close to Madrid. He was invited to a costume party at a Russian estate where everyone dressed up as czarist-era aristocrats. He went hunting for pheasants with the cream of Spanish society.
*Yes, we know, but let’s be serious, this is more fitting.