Archive for May 2012

  • 29 May 2012 at 2:30 PM

Plan D: A Hostile Takeover Of The Newark Bears

“Major League Baseball has approved three potential buyers to review the financial records of the San Diego Padres, team owner John Moores told MLB.com. Moores said one group is headed by movie executive Thomas Tull, another is led by former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley and the third by billionaire hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen was an unsuccessful bidder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were sold in March.” [Bloomberg, Earlier: Steve Cohen Bids For Dodgers, Earlier: Steve Cohen Bids For Mets]

Earlier this month, the Journal explored the difficulty MF Global customers have encountered in attempting to get their “missing” money back, after the firm went down for the dirt nap last October. One woman who can relate all too well? Barack Obama AKA Angela Dozier-Carter, who is owed $150 trillion and then some, of which she hasn’t seen a dime. Read more »

Only a quarter of the 300 to 400 sex shops that once existed in Athens have survived the crisis, and business looked bleak for those who brought their wares to Greece’s biggest sex fair-the Athens Erotic Dream- last Friday…”Things look really bad,” said stall holder Donatos Passaris, 38, standing in front of a long bench of vibrators, lotions and other items. “We’re making just €20 [£16] a day, if at all,” said Marianna Lemnarou, another retailer. “Some customers just don’t feel like having sex – others can’t afford to buy our stuff in the crisis.” Just as other manufacturers have suffered from soaring wage costs since Greece joined the euro, local makers of erotic underwear have found it difficult to compete with cheaper rivals abroad. “The Chinese and the Turks are killing us,” said Lefteris Papadopoulos, 55, who offers discounted hot pants, garters and stockings for €5 to €10 apiece…But a return to the drachma currency – feared by many – would deal the industry a further setback. Almost all sex toys sold in Greece are imported from countries such as Germany or Poland, and a devalued drachma would make them unaffordable. “A vibrator that now costs €20 would then cost €50,” said Passaris. [Telegraph]

Opening Bell: 05.29.12

Greece Pours $22.6 Billion Into Four Biggest Banks (Reuters)
The long-awaited injection—via bonds from the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund—will boost the nearly depleted capital base of National Bank, Alpha, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank. “The funds have been disbursed,” an official at the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility, who declined to be named, told Reuters. The HFSF was set up to funnel funds from Greece’s bailout programme to recapitalise its tottering banks. The HFSF allocated 6.9 billion euros to National Bank, 1.9 billion to Alpha, 4.2 billion to Eurobank and 5 billion to Piraeus. All four are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week. The news came as two government officials told Reuters that near-bankrupt Greece could access 3 billion euros, left from its first bailout programme, to cover basic state payments if efforts to revive falling tax revenue fail.

U.S. Ready for Europe Fallout, Says Fed Official (WSJ)
“There’s absolutely no reason for people in the United States to get all in a dither,” Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Plosser said that in the short run, uncertainty in Europe might even work in the U.S. economy’s favor, via lower U.S. interest rates and energy prices.

Greece to Leave Euro Zone on June 18, Says Guy (CNBC)
Greece will leave the euro zone on June 18 if the populist government wins the country’s elections on the 17 as the rest of the euro zone rounds on “cheaters,” Nick Dewhirst, director at wealth management firm Integral Asset Management, told CNBC Monday. “The euro zone is a club but you get cheaters who get away with it until everyone finds out and at that point you need to remove them otherwise everyone will cheat. It’s better for Greece to leave,” Dewhirst said. He added that Greek society was built on cheating and scheming, saying “everyone does it” but that voters elsewhere in the euro zone were now calling Greece to account. “The basic question is that a German has to increase working from 65 to 67 and that is to pay for Greeks retiring at 50. The 17th of June is the perfect opportunity to say either ‘we’ll behave’ or ‘we’ll carry on cheating,'” he said.

Facebook Debacle Turns High Hopes Into Potentially Mood-Souring Skepticism (WSJ)
It is impossible to measure the impact of Facebook’s flubbed deal on overall investor confidence. But there is at least one sign of possible fallout: More than $3 billion was yanked from U.S. stock mutual funds by small investors in the week ended Wednesday, according to EPFR Global Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. That was the worst week for withdrawals since March. In the previous week, investors added $311 million to U.S. stock mutual funds. David Guthrie, a 30-year-old actor in Toronto, bought 15 shares of Facebook on its opening day. Before then, he had bought just one stock, yet saw the market as a place to make his savings rise in the long run. Now he feels burned. “If Facebook had made a lot of money, I’d try it again,” Mr. Guthrie says. After the stock’s disappointing slide, “I would never put big money into the stock market.”

Moody’s Fading Relevance Exposed In Nordic Downgrades (Bloomberg)
Breaking: “Moody’s in general is very backward looking; they are often stating things that are well recognized from the financial community for a long time,” Swedbank Chief Financial Officer Goran Bronner said in response to Bloomberg questions on May 23. “I don’t think Swedish banks should put any particular emphasis on it.”

Zoos’ Bitter Choice: To Save Some Species, Letting Others Die (NYT)
…Ozzie, a lion-tailed macaque, will never father children. Lion-tails once flourished in the tops of rain forests in India, using their naturally dark coloring to disappear into the height of the jungle. Though there are only about 4,000 remaining in the wild, not one among Ozzie’s group here in St. Louis will be bred. American zoos are on the verge of giving up on trying to save them. As the number of species at risk of extinction soars, zoos are increasingly being called upon to rescue and sustain animals, and not just for marquee breeds like pandas and rhinos but also for all manner of mammals, frogs, birds and insects whose populations are suddenly crashing. To conserve animals effectively, however, zoo officials have concluded that they must winnow species in their care and devote more resources to a chosen few. The result is that zookeepers, usually animal lovers to the core, are increasingly being pressed into making cold calculations about which animals are the most crucial to save. Some days, the burden feels less like Noah building an ark and more like Schindler making a list. Read more »

Write-Offs: 05.25.12

$$$ Spain to inject up to €19bn into Bankia [FT]

$$$ New Democracy, Syriza Tied In Greek Race For First, Poll Says [Bloomberg]

$$$ “Banks get to play a fun game every quarter that could be called Guess the Value of Your Assets! JPMorgan Chase plays it more than its peers.” [DealBook]

$$$ “This study proposes a novel framework for capital regulation that addresses banks’ incentives to take on excessive risk and leverage. The framework consists of a special capital account in addition to a core capital requirement. The special account would accrue to a bank’s shareholders as long as the bank is solvent, but would pass to the bank’s regulators — rather than its creditors — if the bank fails.” [FRBNY]

$$$Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind.” [DI]

$$$ That’s it for us today. We’re off Monday for the holiday, enjoy the long weekend and see you on Tuesday!
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“I think we could have a global recession either in Q4 or early 2013.” When asked what were the odds, Faber replied, “100%.” [CNBC]

  • 25 May 2012 at 2:25 PM

Jon Corzine Bids Hoboken Adieu

JSC has reportedly unloaded his waterfront penthouse, for $2.8 million. That’s 14 percent less than what he bought it for in 2008, which hurts, but on the bright side he’s got some money, if you’ve got any ideas.

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Want to get in shape? Want to save money? Want to hole up and pound out a business plan for the [hedge fund/private equity firm/boutique investment bank/whathaveyou] you want to get off the ground? Want to impress industry execs and potential investors with your problem solving skills and can-do attitude? What if we told you there was a foolproof way to accomplish all those goals and more, that it wouldn’t cost you a thing, that you might even have some fun doing it, and that there’d be free cereal and Coke involved? Would that sound like something you’d be interested in? Then, congratulations, you’re already halfway there. Step 1 was getting on board, Step 2 is finding an investment bank or asset management firm that’s lax on night security and moving in. Read more »