Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 02.15.12

LightSquared to Be Blocked by FCC Over GPS (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission vowed to block LightSquared Inc. after the Obama administration found the wireless venture backed by hedge-fund billionaire Philip Falcone would disrupt navigation gear. Federal agencies determined that LightSquared’s signals interfere with global-positioning system devices, Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The FCC is preparing to withdraw the preliminary approval it granted last year for the company to build a high-speed network serving as many as 260 million people, Sun said. “The commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted,” Sun said. “The commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared.” The FCC’s action marks a blow to LightSquared and a setback for Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, which has invested $3 billion in the venture. It follows a yearlong lobbying fight between LightSquared and opposing GPS companies that featured a series of government tests denounced by LightSquared as flawed.
LightSquared in a release issued yesterday before the FCC’s statement said it is “committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry.” The company said it “fully expects” the FCC “to recognize LightSquared’s legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network.”

Greece Struggles to Win Second Financial Bailout as Europe’s Doubts Mount (Bloomberg)
Finance ministers canceled a Brussels meeting slated for today and will hold a teleconference instead to prod Greece to do more to clinch an aid package worth 130 billion euros ($171 billion) along with about 100 billion euros of debt relief from private bondholders. Greece needs the money to make a 14.5 billion-euro bond payment on March 20. The decision to cancel the meeting is “very worrying,” and “reflects a growing concern amongst some euro-area countries that Greece will not abide by the conditions of the second bailout package,” said Nicola Mai, an economist at JPMorgan Chase Bank in London. “It appears that some euro-area countries are willing to let Greece default.”

Hanks Paulson: Europe Crisis Will Take Years To Sort Out (CNBC)
“There is similarity [with the financial crisis in the U.S.] in certain regards. This has been going on for a long time and I think it will take years to play out,” Paulson told CNBC. Paulson, who served as Treasury Secretary when the subprime mortgages credit crunch erupted, sparking the world’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, said that at the time the U.S. was faced with a “collision of political forces and market forces”. “That’s really what you’re seeing in Europe,” Paulson said. “The structural issues around the EU are very difficult issues.”

Goldman Analyst Draws Scrutiny (WSJ)
Federal criminal authorities are investigating whether a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. technology analyst leaked inside information to hedge funds, adding a new angle to a broadening insider-trading probe, people close to the situation say. The development takes the insider-trading investigation inside the research operation of a major Wall Street firm for the first time. It involves Henry King, a high-profile analyst well-known among technology investors for prescient calls on tech firms…Goldman clients were told in recent weeks that Mr. King, head of Taiwan research, took a leave from his Goldman post in Asia after making a trip to the U.S. earlier in the year, people close to the situation say.

BNP Paribas Profit Hit By Greece (WSJ)
The Paris-based lender, France’s largest bank by market value, reported a 51% drop in fourth-quarter net profit to €765 million ($1 billion) from €1.55 billion a year earlier. BNP Paribas took a €567 million write-down on its Greek sovereign bonds and booked a €148 million charge as part of its plan to limit the impact of the European debt crisis by slashing its balance sheet. It expects to book an additional €850 million in charges to cover its downsizing plans in 2012 earnings but said it is “well-positioned to take on the challenges associated to today’s new environment and continue to finance its clients.” Revenue fell 6.1% to €9.69 billion, as continuing growth of the bank’s retail operations partially offset a sharp drop in corporate and investment banking revenue.

Shark Devours Another Shark Whole (AP)
National Geographic has released this soon-to-be classic photograph of one shark eating another shark whole. The photo comes from Daniela Ceccarelli, of Australia’s Research Council Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Ceccarelli was working with fellow researcher David Williamson on conducting a “fish census” off Great Keppel Island, part of the country’s Great Barrier Reef. That’s when Ceccarelli thought she spotted a brown-banded bamboo shark hanging out near the ocean’s floor. “The first thing that caught my eye was the almost translucent white of the bamboo shark,” Ceccarelli told National Geographic in an email. Instead, as Ceccarelli moved in for a closer look she noticed a camouflaged wobbegong shark emerging from seclusion with the same bamboo shark partially wedged inside its jaws. “It became clear that the head of the bamboo shark was hidden in its mouth,” she said. “The bamboo shark was motionless and definitely dead.”

Obama to stress “insourcing” as China counterweight (Reuters)
President Barack Obama takes his election-year economic message to the Midwestern heartland on Wednesday, touring a Wisconsin padlock factory and stressing the potential of “insourcing” jobs back to the United States from overseas. The day after meeting China’s leader-in-waiting, Vice President Xi Jinping, at the White House, Obama was set to make the case for exploiting U.S. advantages over fast-growing economies where labor and business costs are rising. In Milwaukee, best known as the home of Miller beer, he will visit the company Master Lock that he lauded in his State of the Union address last month for having moved back about 100 union jobs from China since mid-2010. Master Lock, a unit of Fortune Brands Home & Security, is the world’s largest manufacturer of padlocks and related products to secure homes, cars and bicycles. It says its Milwaukee plant is running at full capacity for the first time in 15 years – an example the White House is eager to replicate as the November 6 election nears. “Right now we have an excellent opportunity to bring manufacturing back – but we have to seize it,” Obama said in a statement released before the Wisconsin visit, which starts a three-day trip where the Democrat will raise funds in California and stop in at aircraft manufacturer Boeing in Washington state.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Hikes DIRECTV Stake By $738M, Cuts J&J By $545M (CNBC)
The 13-F filing with the SEC also shows two new holdings: 1.7 million shares of Liberty Media (Capital), worth $145 million at yesterday’s close, and 2.7 million shares of DaVita, worth $227 million.

Jackie Chan Jet Shows Embraer Breakthrough (Bloomberg)
Embraer SA (EMBR3) is using the star power of Hong Kong-born actor Jackie Chan at the Singapore Airshow as competition intensifies in China’s business-jet market. Chan’s Embraer Legacy 650 jet, with his name and the Chinese character for “dragon” on its tail, is on display at this week’s event as the Brazilian manufacturer competes with General Dynamics Corp. (GD)’s Gulfstream and Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) in capturing Chinese sales projected to grow 15 percent a year.

Obama Returns to NYC for First Wall Street Fundraiser of Year (Bloomberg)
The $35,800-per-person dinner at ABC Kitchen, the first of the evening’s four fund-raising events, is being hosted by many of Obama’s top Wall Street donors, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sponsors include Blair W. Effron, partner and co-founder of Centerview Partners LLP; Marc Lasry, managing partner and founder of Avenue Capital Group; Mark Gallogly, a managing principal of Centerbridge Partners; James Rubin, managing director of BC Partners; Robert Wolf, UBS AG’s chairman for the Americas; and Antonio Weiss, global head of investment banking at Lazard Ltd.

Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin is homeless no more (NYDN)
Lin, who in the span of five games has gone from benchwarmer to the cover of Sports Illustrated, has sublet a two-bedroom apartment from former Knick David Lee in a Trump Tower, sources told the Daily News. The building is in downtown White Plains, a 35-story building right off Main Street that is home to several other Knicks players and some New York Rangers as well, sources said. Lin, a 6-foot-3 point guard who crashed with his brother when he first joined the Knicks this year, will be able to stretch out in his new digs and not have worry about nailing his noggin — it has nine foot ceilings. Experts estimated that Lin, who is 23 and single, will pay around $3,800-a-month in rent.

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39 Responses to “Opening Bell: 02.15.12”

  1. Jason says:

    Falcone, you may need to sell that house of sin you got from Guccione; how did two guys with questionable abilities, very poor taste and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for attention both end up owning the largest brownstone in Manhattan?

  2. Guest says:


    Hundreds of walkie talkies on sale at discounted prices, ready to be delivered from our warehouses. Call for a free quote to buy these state of the art, 4Gasmic quality wireless blowers*. Ask for me.

    Wilbur, VP, Telecom Sales

    *may cause interference to nearby civilian and military gps systems.

  3. VonSloneker says:

    Just great…I'll be a Honey Baked spiral cut by Thanksgiving…

    – Wilbur

  4. Dalio says:

    Be the Wobbegong shark.

  5. cruelty inc. says:

    Im outa here.
    -The Pig

    Right behind you

  6. CoveredLong says:

    Subletting in White Plains from a white guy named Lee is the New Linning It!

  7. Batter Up! says:

    The reason investment bankers have no fear of swimming in shark infested waters is because they are absolutely convinced they will be given "professional courtesy".

    -Guy Who Intends to Have More Likes than Dislikes Today for Once

    • Guest says:

      Well it ain't gonna happen recylcing old lawyer jokes.

      • Joe Jamail says:


      • TheJokeBriefer says:

        It has been your humble author's observation that a number of old jokes (lawyer jokes or others) have been recycled through through the Dealbreaker comment area to a deserving audience who typically work extremely long hours in the financial community and perhaps don't have time to keep their joke reservoirs full and tested as a result. Old jokes serve a natural purpose: the older, weaker jokes are weeded out by experienced raconteurs and then consumed by younger bon vivants among us who have never heard such a joke. Thus, the jokes are passed along as a form of oral history – pardon the expression, of course – and the cycle of the joke continues on through the ages. For example, the Spanish branch of the House of Hapsburg ended upon the death of Charles II in 1700 and was replaced by the Anjou branch of the House of Bourbon in the person of his great-nephew Philip V. Philip V, a known boulevardier and practical joker, used to delight in asking newer members of his staff "which House of Hapsburg replaced our former Spanish branch?" When a hapless member of the court replied, "Anjou…", Philip V would say, "Gesundheit!!" and collapse in laughter as longtime advisors would look at the ceiling, reflecting on that old joke.¹

        So, we all owe a bit of recycled respect to the "old jokes" as they lubricate the minds of the newly minted junior mistmakers and confirm their legacy to the seasoned veterans gaming markets today.
        1. "Don't Give Me No Lip – A History of Incestuous Repartee Between Hapsburgs", Historical References via Cousins Press, page 223.

  8. Guest says:

    Good thing Lin rented a two bedroom. Trump Tower, here I come.

    – Wilbur

  9. guest says:

    Han Solo: Han Solo. I'm CEO of Millennium Falcone. Chewie here tells me you're lookin' for wireless cellphone and data reception in the Alderaan system?
    Obi-Wan: Yes indeed, if it's a fast network.
    Han Solo: Fast network? You've never heard of Millennium Falcone?
    Obi-Wan: Should I have?
    Han Solo: It's the network that downloaded "Titanic" the movie in less than twelve parsecs. I've outdownloaded Verizon networks. Not the local bulk DSL servers mind you, I'm talking about the big FiOS servers now. She's fast enough for you old man. Who will need access?
    Obi-Wan: Only NetFlix users. Myself, a pig, and a disfigured prostitute… and no questions asked.
    Han Solo: [chuckles] What is it? Some kind of local trouble?
    Obi-Wan: Let's just say we'd like to avoid any FCC entanglements.

  10. Guest says:

    Sweet, now I can get back to nailing other things.

    – J. Lin

  11. Guest says:

    You're the biggest name in sports. You live in the greatest city in the world. Your helicopter/Tiger Mom makes you move to White Plains. Damn.

  12. Cut Me says:

    I'll wait I can fly in Jenna Jaimeson

  13. ReaganLaw says:

    “I’d say 90% of the people in the building will be very, very happy,” said tenant Daniel Ratki, 32.

    The other 10% were extras in Gran Torino.

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