Archive for May 2012

“I’m single and don’t know if I could ever get married after sleeping with so many married men — more than I can remember…some are really handsome and well-dressed. There have been a few where I’ve actually been jealous of their wives, even though they’re there sleeping with me. It’s a weird feeling. It’s easier with the ugly or arrogant ones…With [my pimp] Sam gone, I had to figure out a way to keep clients and to get new ones — which was relatively easy. I started looking online and found sugar daddy dating sites in a Google search. I thought this could be a way to meet men who want something long-term. At first, there were a few possibilities. One guy who was in private equity gave me $5,000 a month for four months, but then he disappeared. These men, it’s like they die one day. They write you all the time and want to see you a lot, but I now know it’s only a matter of time before they die out. I look at it like that because it makes it easier to swallow that this person just drops you. I can’t trust any of them. They’re all liars. Some nicer or cuter than others, but all liars.” [BuzzFeed, related]

  • 02 May 2012 at 4:06 PM
  • M&A

Spending A Year On An M&A Bidding War Is Apparently Overrated

There are probably some things that bankers could advise companies to do that are unequivocally bad. Obviously if I were Bank X’s Executive Director and Global Head of Lighting Money on Fire, and I went around showing companies a pitch book that was all “signalling benefits of lighting money on fire,” and I got a bunch of companies to do it, and it became a thing, and academics and industry groups did studies on it, I suspect that they would consistently report that the trade was NPV negative at a 1% level of significance. But maybe not, because, industry groups. Anyway though you can probably imagine some of these things existing outside of silly stylized examples – in hindsight, CDOs of mezz ABS look pretty close to lighting money on fire – but not too many of them. Because if a thing is always bad through the cycle then you’d quickly run out of people to do it, for some value of “quickly.”

Is it possible that mergers are such a thing?

No, it is not!

There, that was easy. Nor, obviously, are they the sort of thing that is unequivocally good – I suppose there are such things?* Instead, mergers are like, I dunno, hedge funds. You can ask the specific question of “will this merger be good for this company?,” and the answer will mostly be “maybe” but said with DCFs and stuff. Or you can ask the general question of “are mergers mostly good or mostly bad?” and the answer will be entertainingly indeterminate. Thus mergers are unequivocally good for academics, QED. Anyway this is a strange paper: Read more »

If it did, the BAC would be treating its li’l bankers as though they were individuals with unique talents rather than lumping them together and calling them all by the same name. Anyway, here are a few more details about Brian Moynihan et al’s plan (announced yesterday) to fire a bunch of senior people and bus teams of junior employees around wherever they’re needed to pick up the slack. Read more »

  • 02 May 2012 at 12:57 PM

Warren Buffett Sends Another Athlete To The Olympics

As some of you may recall, back in 2007, Warren Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that they were in for a big treat at the company’s annual meeting– the opportunity to play an 11 year-old girl, Ariel Hsing, in table tennis. Buffett met Hsing when she was 9 and after having his ass handed to him at the table, decided she’d make for great entertainment in Omaha. At the time, Hsing was ranked number one among girls under 16 in the US and now, thanks to what we choose to believe was some Bela Karolyi-esque grooming on Buffett’s part, she’s hit it big. Read more »

Dear Third Point Investors

April performance. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.02.12

UBS Earnings Helped By Wealth-Management Focus, Risk-Cutting (WSJ)
UBS’s first-quarter earnings showed that the Swiss bank’s strategy of shifting its focus to managing assets for wealthy clients and reducing risk is starting to pay off, demonstrating that it is putting behind it a troubled past marked by huge investment bank losses during the financial crisis, a bruising battle with U.S. tax authorities and a trading scandal last year. Worries about the global economy are likely to prevent clients from investing much in the second quarter, but “we believe our wealth-management businesses as a whole will continue to attract net new money, as our clients recognize our efforts and continue to entrust us with their assets… We have the utmost confidence in our firm’s future,” UBS said in a statement. The bank’s wealth-management units recorded a rise in pretax profit during the quarter and attracted CHF10.9 billion ($12.1 billion) in new assets from clients. UBS also managed to shed more risky assets during the quarter, raised new capital and is on track to meet its target of saving CHF2 billion in costs annually…Reported results for the bank as a whole were less pleasing because an accounting loss on UBS’s own debt led to a 54% drop in net profit. Excluding this charge, which was higher than forecast, earnings beat analysts’ estimates and contributed to the rise in UBS’s shares. The Zurich-based bank said net profit fell to 827 million Swiss francs in the quarter ended March 31 from CHF1.81 billion a year earlier. Revenue fell 22% to CHF6.53 billion from CHF8.34 billion, while operating expenses declined 15% to CHF5.22 billion.

Wealthy Americans Queue To Give Up Their Passports (Bloomberg)
Rich Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion four years ago. About 1,780 expatriates gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy, citing figures from the government’s Federal Register. The embassy in Bern, the Swiss capital, redeployed staff to clear a backlog as Americans queued to relinquish their passports.

The Big Doubt Over Facebook’s IPO (WSJ)
“The question with Facebook and many of the social media sites is, ‘What are we getting for our dollars?’” said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors Corp.’s North American division. The automaker has advertised on Facebook since 2009 and plans to increase its ad spending on the site. While building brand awareness on a site with 900 million users is valuable, Mr. Sprague said he’s unclear if “a consumer sees my ad, and does that ultimately lead to a new vehicle sale?” The concerns from Kia and other advertisers underscore the difficulties of measuring results of nascent-forms of social-media advertising.

Madness In Spain Lingers As Ireland Chases Recovery (Bloomberg)
“Ireland faced up to its problems faster than others and we expect growth there rather soon,” said Cinzia Alcidi, an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. “In Spain, there was kind of a denial of the scale of the problem and it may be faced with many years of significant challenges before full recovery takes place.”

Euro-Zone Economic Woes Deepen (WSJ)
The euro-zone economy contracted by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of last year, and most recent data suggest it did so again in the first quarter of this year. Many economists regard two quarters of contraction as indicating an economy is in recession.

Carlyle’s big-name IPO may not generate big gains (NYP)
Like debt asset manager Oaktree Capital Group, which declined on its first day of trading earlier this month, Carlyle warns that its first priority is to the interests of its fund investors, and it could make decisions that would reduce revenue in the short-term, such as limiting the assets under management that it oversees or reducing management fees.

Did May Day Save Occupy Wall Street? (TDB)
For some protesters, the lack of one or two key demands and a stronger organizational structure made the day less effective than it could have been. “I think they have to state their demands along with their actions,” said Anton Alen, a student at Hunter College, adding that he thinks Occupy Wall Street has been clear on many things it would like to see changed. Alen said that the idea of trying to occupy another space Tuesday night was in the right spirit but needed to be thought out better. “I don’t think it can be so spontaneous and still be effective,” Alen said. Sofia Gallisa of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, disagreed. “This isn’t about specific demands,” she said. “It’s never been about specific demands.” Occupy Wall Street has changed the kind of discussions Americans are having about inequality, she said, particularly around issues of class. Read more »

Write-Offs: 05.01.12

$$$ McClendon to Step Down as Chesapeake Chairman [WSJ]

$$$ Buyout Kings Size Up Their Sector, the Elections and Europe [DealBook]

$$$ NYPD Raids Activists’ Homes Before May Day Protests [Gawker]

$$$ How would you like to run Goldman Sachs’s Twitter feed? [Finextra via FTAV]

$$$ Or I guess you could just be a hedge fund analyst at a fund of funds in New York [DBCC]
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