Archive for April 2010

  • 28 Apr 2010 at 2:47 PM

Caption Contest Wednesday


[via Reuters]

Earlier: Live-Blogging The Goldman Flogging

Related: Introducing The Lloyd Face

According to the cover story of Bloomberg Markets Magazine’s Junes issue, entitled “Buffett and the Prince,” yes. Before we get into all that, however, just take a moment to appreciate the setting in which this interview took place:

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sits under an almost full moon near a campfire at his rustic retreat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He’s surrounded by a zoo with zebras and giraffes, an artificial lake and a lodge that has an indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms. Three hooded falcons are perched on stands in front of him. Five young women, dressed in black miniskirts and jackets and orange knee-high boots that match their nail polish, serve clove-and-cardamom tea to Alwaleed and his entourage.

Now, the Prince and his infatuation. Is it so much an obsession with the Oracle of O as it is one with simply being as rich as him? Obviously that’s part of it, though with a net worth of $16.6 billion, his highness has a bit of catching up to do to Buffett’s $48.7 billion (a disparity Big Al is not sweating. “When he was my age, he was not as big as me,” Alwaleed says. “I still have 20 years.”) And former aides say “being the best, being the wealthiest is what motivates [the Prince], whose preoccupation with his status and wealth is on display at Kingdom Holding’s headquarters, where bookshelves display reprints of magazine articles about his ranking on billionaire lists. After rankings are published, he sometimes issues a press release touting his position.” But there’s more than just a “I would like to have a few more billions in my name” thing going on than a serious “I want to be Warren Buffett, I want to posses Warren Buffett, if I can’t have Warren Buffett no one can” vibe emanating from Alwaleed. First off, he refers to himself as “the Buffett of Arabia.” And he takes pains to prove to reporters that he and Buffs are basically two bodies, one soul, as indicated by similarities such as the fact that they both use filing cabinets and they both wear pants (sometimes).

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When a community bank gets seized by the FDIC, you expect its non-deposit assets to include some computers, office chairs, bank vaults, free lollipops, stress balls, stuff like that. But Bank of Lincolnwood, a Chicago-area community bank that was shut down last year, has some peculiar, and expensive, collectibles in its coffers.

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  • 28 Apr 2010 at 10:45 AM
  • MBAs

Business School Follies: “I Go To Darden, B*tch”

Looking to douse yourself in a little second-hand embarrassment today? Business school follies are here to help! If the above offering from Darden doesn’t do it for you, perhaps the future business leaders of America at CBS can get the job done.

Update: Wharton has beseeched me to throw their effort into the running.

*Confidential to Darden guy– the limbo scene was pretty good stuff.

Opening Bell: 04.28.10

Greece Official: IMF Loan Boost Possible (WSJ)
“There has been talk that the IMF could boost its contribution in the support mechanism. But at this point we don’t believe it will happen. The talk is for another €5-10 billion,” said the official, who asked not to be identified. “But everything is still very fluid. If our partners and creditors feel that more money is needed to finally calm the markets and stop hurting the euro, more money could be approved. It is being discussed among all parties involved,” he added, without elaborating.

Europeans Fear Greek Debt Crisis Will Spread (NYT)
“It’s like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns,” said Philip Lane. “It is not so much the fundamentals as it is the unwillingness of the market to fund you.”

Barofsky’s First Days On The Job (Bloomberg)
“They eventually discovered a broken sewer main beneath the floor,” says Barofsky, 40, adding that he doesn’t think any slight was intended by relegating him to the malodorous quarters. Still, he says with a smile, “I wasn’t given the prime real estate in Treasury.”

Dick Bove: Goldman a $200 Stock, ‘You Should Own It’ (CNBC)
“I think the SEC suit will be thrown out of court, I think Goldman’s reputation will improve,” Bove said. “I think it’s a $200 stock. I think the company’s earnings are very good, I think you should own it, I think it’s a tremendous opportunity,” he added.

SEC Probes Side-Pocket Deals (WSJ)
Not the side-pockets!

How Many Times Did Sen. Levin Say ‘Sh**ty Deal’? (CNBC)
Apparently 11. Which seems low.

  • 27 Apr 2010 at 5:40 PM

Live Lloyd

*5:33 – LB: “I don’t think our clients care nor should they care” about whether Goldman is short something. “You could have the biggest mutual fund in the world selling stock and you wouldn’t know it

Carl: “This is a shitty deal, this is crap, what you think about that.”

LB: “We are selling securities all the time that we don’t like” but people just want to buy things.

*5:41 – LB and Carl Levin go back and forth and back and forth on what being a market maker is and whether anyone care if Goldman is short something it was selling to someone else.

Carl: You’re selling, then shorting. LB: We’re buying and selling all the time.

Carl: “I wouldn’t trust you if you came to me trying to sell something.”

LB: The buyer doesn’t care. They don’t give a crap that we’re betting against this stuff.

*5:46 – John McCain pops in despite the fact he’s been gone the entire day. Asks Lloyd why he thinks Goldman needed the TARP money.

LB – “We were brought in” and had no choice but to take the gov’t money.

McCain – Brings up shorting the residential mortgage market. LB says they made $500 million in revenue in 2007, but “did not make big money.” McCain slips up and says “you took Pork, I mean TARP money.”

*5:52 – Has Goldman done anything, McCain asks, to help community banks and homeowners pay their bills? LB: “We delivered $1 billion of the firm’s money to philanthropy” with $500 million to help small businesses. “Are any of these things enough? Not for the suffering existing in the world, but we are trying to do our part.”

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* 9:45: Fifteen minutes to go. Disappointingly, His Fantabulousness and Lloyd Blankfein are on separate panels, meaning no opportunity for potential backhands to the face. No matter. There’s gonna be a showdown. So while we wait:

[I have it on good authority that Lloyd and Lucas have rehearsed the above moves and will be performing them at intermission.]

* 9:57: The “Pink Ladies” have traded in their standard uniforms for prison garb. Good one, ladies.

* 10:03: Carl Levin (NO RELATION) is telling us why we’re here. Goldman Sachs took advantage of its clients, yada, yada, yada.

* 10:04: That’s right, cameraman, focus on The Fab (who’s grown his hair a little longer and is looking kind of hot).

* 10:09: Carl: “Goldman Sachs treats clients like objects (of profit).” Jackie Treehorn, a former prop trader, was the first to pioneer this model at the firm.

* 10:16: Goldman made money off its shorts. Dun Dun Dun.

* 10:26: Apparently Goldman didn’t just hurt its clients, it hurt everyone in the world. Take a moment right now to show us on the doll where Goldman touched you.

* 10:28: Going to interrupt Carl for a moment to announce that Melissa Francis gave birth last night to her second son (with husband Wray). The kid’s name is Greyson Alexander Thorn. May he grow up to be a Goldman banker.

* 10:32: Senator Susan Collins: I’m very discreet…but I will haunt your dreams.

* 10:38: According to Suzy, we’re not here to celebrate the fact that Goldman Sachs made some money during the crisis. Which means I’ve made a terrible mistake. Reader poll: cancel the stripper cake, even though she’s already inside? Or just say fuck it? Why should this lady get to say what’s what?

* 10:40: Senator Claire McCaskill is just going to throw words out there, arrange them in any way you like: bets, odds, bookies, tranches, waterfalls, golden showers, clown-facing, pit bosses, Las Vegas, street gamblers, KGB.

* 10:44: SENATOR MARK PRYOR: “I MAY NOT UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING ON WALL STREET.” Read more »