June 2012

  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 06.29.12

    $$$ Markets Cheer Europe Plan, Await Details [WSJ]

    $$$ Merkel Secures Vote for Euro Treaties [Der Spiegel]

    $$$ Icahn Takes Aim at Forest Lab’s Succession Plan [DealBook]

    $$$ Area man has no name, big idea: don’t let poor people vote [NetNet / John Carney]

    $$$ [Mike Tyson] raised a few eyebrows when he tweeted: “Holyfield’s ear would’ve been much better with his new BBQ sauce.” Holyfield had used the social media forum to promote his new Real Deal BBQ Sauce on Twitter earlier in the day. “My realdealbbqsauce.com will make you take a bite out of someone’s ear! Ask Mike Tyson – Luv ya bro!” [NYDN]

    $$$ Citi’s alternative asset management platform Citi Capital Advisors is looking for an associate-level research analyst for its event-driven fund [DBCC]

    $$$ Counterparties feel effect of bank downgrades [FT]

    $$$ AB InBev, Modelo in $20.1 Billion Deal [WSJ]

    $$$ RIM’s Plunge Adds Pressure To ‘Sell, Break Up Or Die’ [Bloomberg]

    $$$ Gary Maggetti, general manager of food and beverage at [Disney theme park] California Adventure, says the chili cones are part of an effort by the world’s largest theme park operator to create dining options as special as its rides. Consumers, he says, are looking for “signature items that create unique food memories.” [BW]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 6:27 PM
  • News

    Former Citigroup VP Who Helped Himself To $23 Million Gets 8 Years

    Nobody fucks with Count Vikula!

    Former Citigroup Vice President Gary Foster was sentenced to 97 months in prison for embezzling almost $23 million from the bank, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York. Foster pleaded guilty to bank fraud in September, admitting that he transferred money from various Citigroup accounts to his own at JPMorgan Chase. He concealed his activities by making false accounting entries, according to the government. He used the money to buy real estate and luxury sports cars, including a Ferrari and a Maserati, prosecutors said. The government has seized or restrained property from Foster valued at a total of $14 million. “I executed a scheme to defraud Citigroup,” Foster told U.S. District Judge Eric Vitaliano at his plea hearing last year in Brooklyn. “I directed funds to be wired into my personal account at JPMorgan.”

    Ex-Citigroup Executive Gets 8 Years For Embezzlement [Bloomberg]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 5:41 PM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Credit Suisse

    Cuts were said to have gone down at the House of Dougan this week.

    “Layoffs at Credit Suisse this week, mostly Wednesday and Thursday. ASO / VP level in IBD groups in New York (TMT, Energy, Industrials, Sponsors).”

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 3:38 PM
  • News

    Analysts Attempt To Call The JPMorgan (Second Quarter) Close

    Despite Jamie Dimon’s promise that JPMorgan will be “solidly profitable” for the quarter, some are skeptical given the growing estimates of Whale-boy’s losses. According Mike Mayo, the bank “will only make $727 million…including $4 billion of losses in the unit that made the bungled bet [though] if the losses exceed $5 billion, JPMorgan could make an overall loss.” Barclays’ Jason Goldberg thinks things are gonna be okay here, and sees the bank making $3.3 billion, assuming you know who will have only lost it $3 billion when all is said and done. And yourselves?

    Start considering your predictions now, as come July 13, there will be a visit from the Sandwich Fairy and a coveted bath toy for whoever comes closest without going over.

    Will The Whale Swallow JPMorgan’s Second-Quarter Earnings [Dealbook]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM
  • News

    Bank Of America Wins (Unofficial) Deal-Making Award For Remarkable Achievement

    Remember when Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008 and CFC Chief Executive Officer/Oracle Angelo Mozilo said they wouldn’t be sorry and it wouldn’t be long before BofA would “reap what Countrywide hath sowed“? He wasn’t kidding and now, finally, BAC and Ken Lewis, the guy who had the foresight to do the deal, are having their vision and skills recognized.

    Bank of America thought it had a bargain four years ago when it paid $2.5 billion for tottering mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. But the ill-fated decision has already cost the Charlotte, N.C., lender more than $40 billion in real-estate losses, legal expenses and settlements with state and federal agencies, according to people close to the bank. “It is the worst deal in the history of American finance,” said Tony Plath, a banking and finance professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Hands down.”

    Bank Of America’s $40 Billion Mistake [WSJ]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM
  • News

    Europe Is All Better (As Of January 2013)

    Ooh look there’s another Europe thing. In this thing, Europe, in the form of the almost-existing ESM,* will take equity (?) stakes in troubled Eurozone banks, rather than its previous plan of buying senior debt of troubled Eurozone sovereigns so those sovereigns can invest the proceeds in equity stakes of their troubled banks. There has […]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Paulson And Co Not Shedding Any Tears Over Investors Who Don’t Know What’s Good For Them

    “We know that about investing with John Paulson. He makes macroeconomic calls,” says Joelle Mevi, the chief investment officer of the New Mexico PERA [which piled into the fund after 2007 and has since  liquidated its holdings]. But “we started to notice a consistent underperformance of the fund, and we were noticing a bit of […]

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 11:55 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.29.12

    JPMorgan Cushions Drew’s Retirement With $21.5 Million (Bloomberg)
    JPMorgan’s decision to let Chief Investment Officer Ina Drew retire four days after the bank disclosed a $2 billion loss in her division allowed her to walk away with about $21.5 million in stock and options. Drew, who resigned May 14, can keep $17.1 million in unvested restricted shares and about $4.4 million in options that she otherwise would have been required to forfeit if the New York-based bank had terminated her employment “with cause,” according to regulatory filings and estimates from consulting firm Meridian Compensation Partners LLC. A 30-year JPMorgan veteran, Drew also had accumulated 661,000 unrestricted shares of common stock worth about $23.7 million based on the May 14 closing price, $9.7 million in deferred compensation and $2.6 million in pension pay as of Dec. 31, according to company filings. Altogether, Drew’s stock, pension and deferred pay come to about $57.5 million.

    JPMorgan Models In Spotlight (WSJ)
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the bank’s primary regulator, has requested reviews of models that measure the possible effects of everything from trading losses to interest-rate moves, the people said. A change in one of these models contributed to losses in the bank’s Chief Investment Office, a once-obscure unit that manages $370 billion in excess cash. The change effectively increased the amount of risk traders were allowed to take.

    Jim Rogers: Be Afraid (CNBC)
    Even as markets cheered the agreement by European leaders to allow the direct use of the bloc’s bailout funds to recapitalize struggling banks, investor Jim Rogers told CNBC the move does nothing to help solve the region’s biggest problem…Rogers argues that the deal does not improve the solvency of indebted nations such as Spain. Spain’s central government budget deficit has soared to 3.41 percent of GDP in the first five months of 2012, above the EU limit of 3 percent. He adds that the governments need to stop coming to the rescue of failing banks, even if it results in “financial Armageddon.”

    SEC May Order Nasdaq Upgrade (WSJ)
    As part of the deepening inquiry, regulators are weighing demanding that Nasdaq agree to revamp its processes for developing, changing, testing and implementing the computer code used in initial public offerings and other exchange functions, according to people familiar with the investigation.

    FBI arrests Bernie Madoff’s brother Peter ahead of expected guilty plea (AP)
    Given Peter Madoff’s “level of financial experience and sophistication,” the trustee alleged that he either knew or should have known that he reaped gains “derived from purported transactions grounded in fraud and deception.” The trustee also took aim at his daughter Shana, who once worked as an in-house lawyer at the firm and has denied involvement in the scheme. “Had Peter, as the Chief Compliance Officer, or Shana, as Compliance Counsel, done their jobs properly, the fraud might have been revealed years earlier,” the complaint said. “Either they failed completely to carry out their required supervisory/compliance roles, or they knew about the fraud but covered it up.”

    Euro Zone Sees Single Bank Supervisor (WSJ)
    European leaders at a two-day summit in Brussels said they would speed up plans to create a single supervisor to oversee the euro zone’s banks, and agreed on measures aimed at reducing soaring borrowing costs for Spain and Italy.

    Credit Suisse Says Second Quarter Will Be Profitable Overall (Reuters)
    “Further to its statement of last Friday and in response to media reports about its second quarter financial performance, Credit Suisse informs that it expects based on quarter-to-date information to be profitable at the group level and in all its divisions,” the Swiss bank said in a brief statement on Friday, the last day of the second quarter.

    Bankers Fleeing Europe Crisis Head To Singapore (CNBC)
    “Singapore seems like a very green field compared to Paris. It looks like what Europe was 20 years ago, in the sense it’s got a lot of opportunities in terms of new prospects for the markets.”

    Louisiana’s Rogue Dolphin Entertains … and Bites (Newser)
    Residents of an upscale New Orleans suburb have been warned to stay away from their friendly neighborhood dolphin. The young bottlenose dolphin, who arrived in a canal off the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricane Katrina, is a big hit with boaters and swimmers, but has bitten at least three people who got too close to him. Wildlife officials have met with residents to tell them how to co-exist with the dolphin—and to remind them that feeding or harassing wild dolphins is banned by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Signs have been put up urging people to stay at least 50 feet away from the dolphin. “He’s like a friendly neighborhood dog, but the dog will bite,” the manager of the local homeowner’s association explains to King5. “He’s a wild animal and you have to treat him like he’s a wild animal and not jump on him, not go swimming with him. He’s not Disney World.” Officials say that relocating the dolphin could kill him—and if he survived, he would probably return to the canal he calls home. One resident has another solution. “Maybe they should find him a girlfriend,” he says.

    / Jun 29, 2012 at 9:30 AM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Goldman Sachs

    The summer cuts continue. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) cut several dozen jobs from its U.S. operations on Thursday, aiming to cut costs amid a slowdown in capital markets activity, three people familiar with the matter said. Goldman cuts jobs across U.S. offices [Reuters]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 6:54 PM
  • News

    You Have Some Extra Time To Finalize Your Hedge Fund’s Ads On Dealbreaker

    You are doing that aren’t you? Now you have no excuse if they’re not perfect: Ms. Schapiro, in prepared testimony before a panel of the U.S. House oversight committee, said that the SEC would not meet a July 4 deadline set by Congress to complete the rules lifting the longstanding ban on publicizing private securities […]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 5:39 PM
  • News

    If One More Person Gives Jamie Dimon Shit About The London Whale Leon Cooperman Is Just Gonna Snap

    JPMorgan disclosed on May 10 that it had a $2 billion trading loss because of riskier-than-expected credit securities. Omega sold about two-thirds of its position the next day, taking a loss: The shares tumbled 9 percent on May 11, closing at $36.96. They traded at $36.78 yesterday. At Omega’s staff meeting in May, one of […]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 4:59 PM
  • News

    Do You Let Your Watch Talk For You?

    And if so, do want to wear one that says “I love UBS and I don’t care who knows it” but unfortunately do not work for the bank and therefore were not given a timepiece that says just that? Do not despair.

    You, too, can now own Swatch watch that was specially commissioned to commemorate UBS’s 150th birthday, provided you beat out all the other guys and girls who want a piece of it.

    Swatch Irony UBS Limited Edition – YCZ4001 – New for 2012 [eBay]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Former Paulson LP Pleased To See Her Ex Hasn’t Changed His Deadbeat Ways, Not That She Actively Looks In On Him And Would Take Him Back In A Heartbeat Or Anything

    As you may or may not have heard, the last 18 months have not been the best of times for John Alfred Paulson. His Advantage Plus fund was down fifty percent last year, he got screwed big time by a bunch of fake trees, his proclamation that 2011’s losses were but an “aberration” has not exactly been helped by the fact that AP was down 10 percent through May 2012, Morgan Stanley’s prime brokerage put Paulson and Co. on a list of firms it warns clients not to invest with, some investors ” have expressed their growing unease,” and others have called it quits. But! JP can take solace in knowing that at least one LP, and probably more, are so not over him.

    New Mexico, which stuck by Paulson through last year’s growing losses, pulled its $40 million investment in the first quarter. “From time to time, I do check on John Paulson to see whether we did the right thing,” said Joelle Mevi, the state’s chief investment officer. “And I see that we did.”

    No word on whether or not New Mexico downs two bottles of wine and then logs onto Facebook to stalk Paulson’s page and mutters “skank” under her breath when she sees JP with more attractive LPs but it seems prett-ay obvious.

    John Paulson’s Returns Falter Again; Investors Fret [Reuters]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 2:21 PM
  • News

    JPMorgan Expanding Risk Team After You Know Who Ruined Things For The Whole Class

    J.P. Morgan has added at least five new employees over the past month to the risk department in its Chief Investment Office, the unit responsible for trading losses that may have climbed to $9 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank is expanding the risk unit as it responds to the trading […]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM
  • News

    Warren Buffett Wants To Get One Thing Straight: He Loves A Good Booze Cruise

    Earlier this month, Denis Abrams, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway-owned Benjamin Moore was fired, because, one story claimed, he’d arranged a “corporate trip to Bermuda on the company tab,” which included an “island dinner cruise aboard a yacht some believed was owned by singer Jimmy Buffett.” According to Warren Buffett, however, such is not the case and any suggestion otherwise is downright offensive. Abrams was fired over a “strategy disagreement” and, more importantly, Buffett would never can anyone for mixing it  up on a booze cruise, a point he cannot stress enough, in case anyone out there was considering not inviting him to their next bash.

    “The recent story coupling a top management convocation on a boat with the decision to make a management change at Benjamin Moore is completely false,” Mr. Buffett wrote in the letter. “I had never heard of the boat trip prior to reading about it in the paper on June 14. There was no reason for you to let me know about the meeting and, if you had, I would have had no objection to it at all.”

    We clear?

    Buffett Gets Hands-On At Benjamin Moore [WSJ]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.28.12

    Interest Rate Probe Escalates (WSJ)
    Investigators in the U.S., Europe and Asia have been probing alleged wrongdoing in the interest-rate-setting process for about two years. The Barclays settlement marks their biggest win yet. A series of Wall Street Journal articles in 2008 raised questions about whether global banks were manipulating the process by low-balling a key interest rate to avoid looking desperate for cash amid the financial crisis. Emails and instant messages disclosed in the bank’s settlement show how Barclays’s traders tried to manipulate rates to benefit their own trading positions. “This is the way you pull off deals like this chicken,” one trader told another trader in March 2007, according to the U.K. regulator. “Don’t tell ANYBODY.” Other banks that have disclosed they are under investigation include Citigroup, JPMorgan, Lloyds Banking Group, and RBS. None of these banks have been charged with any wrongdoing in the matter by U.S. or U.K. regulators.

    Calls for Diamond’s Exit After Barclays ‘Moral Failure’ (CNBC)
    Lord Oakeshott, a high-profile Liberal Democrat politician, said: “If Bob Diamond had a scintilla of shame he would resign. If Barclays’ board had an inch of backbone between them they would sack him.” Barclays admitted Wednesday that the actions “fell well short of standards.”

    Madoff’s Brother To Plead Guilty (WSJ)
    Peter Madoff, 66 years old, is expected to plead guilty to two charges at a hearing Friday in Manhattan federal court, including falsifying the records of an investment adviser and a broad conspiracy count to commit securities fraud and other crimes, according to a letter sent to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain and filed in court on Wednesday. However, Peter Madoff, the firm’s chief compliance officer, isn’t expected to admit to knowing about the fraud itself. Instead, he is expected to admit to conduct that enabled the fraud to continue, even if he didn’t know new investor money was being used to pay older investors or that no trading was being conducted at the investment firm.

    JPMorgan Trading Loss May Reach $9 Billion (WSJ)
    The bank’s exit from its money-losing trade is happening faster than many expected. JPMorgan previously said it hoped to clear its position by early next year; now it is already out of more than half of the trade and may be completely free this year. As JPMorgan has moved rapidly to unwind the position — its most volatile assets in particular — internal models at the bank have recently projected losses of as much as $9 billion. In April, the bank generated an internal report that showed that the losses, assuming worst-case conditions, could reach $8 billion to $9 billion, according to a person who reviewed the report. With much of the most volatile slice of the position sold, however, regulators are unsure how deep the reported losses will eventually be. Some expect that the red ink will not exceed $6 billion to $7 billion.

    Kerviel ‘Love’ May Not Be Enough To Overturn SocGen Verdict (Bloomberg)
    Jerome Kerviel’s statement last week that he “loved” Societe Generale may have come too late to help him win a reduced sentence for causing the bank’s 4.9 billion-euro ($6.1 billion) trading loss. Kerviel lawyer David Koubbi may use his client’s remarks during closing arguments in Paris today to offset his own frequent clashes with Judge Mireille Filippini, who threatened to notify the bar about his treatment of witnesses.

    With Time Running Out California Gorging Itself On Foie Gras (WSJ)
    California will ban foie gras sales starting Sunday. Meanwhile, goose-liver lovers still have time to enjoy foie gras jelly doughnuts at Umamicatessen in Los Angeles. Chefs there and around the state are counting down their foie gras days by putting it anywhere they can. Some plan foie gras finale feasts on Saturday night. Others offer foie gras in cotton candy, cheesecake, waffles and toffee. “It’s a very difficult thing to say goodbye to,” says Michael Cimarusti, co-owner and chef at Providence, a celebrated Los Angeles restaurant. He plans to leave a gap on his menu in memory of the dearly departed, with the notation: “formerly a foie gras dish.”…At Craftsman & Wolves, a San Francisco bakery, Chef William Werner covers a chunk of foie-gras torchon with a chocolate cremeux that he inserts into chocolate cake batter to create his Devil Inside cake. Some chefs accept the inevitable. Celebrity chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Los Angeles recently replaced his foie gras dog biscuits with ones made from chicken livers. Others are looking for ways to duck the ban. Daniel Scherotter, who owns Palio D’Asti in San Francisco, is checking with his lawyer to see whether he can legally give away—rather than sell—a serving of foie gras with a $20 salad. Mr. Scherotter and others expect some restaurants to turn into “duckeasies,” where diners can order foie gras using certain code words. They take inspiration from chefs such as Didier Durand, who says that, during a Chicago foie gras ban from 2006 to 2008, he served it at his Cyrano’s Bistrot by listing it as potatoes. “People understood that roasted potatoes wouldn’t cost $21,” he says, but that’s what he charged. After two years the ban was rescinded.

    Merkel Stands Ground Ahead Of Euro Summit (Reuters)
    EU leaders arrived for a Brussels summit on Thursday more openly divided than at any time since the euro crisis began, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel showing no sign of relenting in her refusal to back other countries’ debts. Merkel is being urged at home to hang tough and reject all efforts to make Germany underwrite European partners’ borrowing or banks, while her European Union partners say that may be the only way to save the single currency. “Nein! No! Non!” shouted a headline splashed across the front page of the normally sober German business daily Handelsblatt, with a commentary by its editor-in-chief saying Merkel must remain firm at the two-day summit.

    Lenny Dykstra Takes Plea Deal On Fraud Charges (LAT)
    Former New York Mets star and self-styled financial guru Lenny Dykstra, already sentenced to three years in state prison for a car scam, has agreed to a plea deal on federal bankruptcy fraud charges after allegedly looting his mansion of valuables as he struggled to battle numerous creditors…According to federal prosecutors, Dykstra sold sports memorabilia and items from his Ventura County mansion, including a $50,000 sink, that were frozen as part of the bankruptcy case. Typically, a person in bankruptcy can’t touch assets that are part of the case so that they are available to repay creditors. Dykstra allegedly had dozens of items, including chandeliers, mirrors, artwork, a stove and a grandfather clock delivered to a consignment store, Uniques, on South Barrington Avenue in West Los Angeles. The owner of the store paid him cash for a U-Haul truckload of goods, according to the agent.

    Manhattan philanthropist behind alleged madam’s $250K bond post (NYP)
    Bonnie Lunt is the mystery hero who put up $250,000 collateral to spring the accused hockey mom madam from Rikers last night, court records show. The 65-year-old Lunt — a top New York headhunter who has been dubbed the “Jerry Maguire of the communications industry”– posted her own Upper East Side home to help Gristina make bail, according to bail documents. Lunt’s East 76th street pad is just around the corner from the tiny East 78th Street apartment prosecutors claim Gristina used as headquarters for an alleged multi-million dollar prostitution operation.

    Miami attacker who chewed man’s face was not high on ‘bath salts,’ officials say (DJ)
    The Miami “cannibal” who chewed off half of another man’s face last month had no drugs in his system other than marijuana, officials said Wednesday, defying suspicions that he was high on “bath salts” during the grisly attack. Rudy Eugene, 31, was shot and killed by police on May 26 after he was found naked and biting into a homeless man’s face and eyes beside Miami’s MacArthur Causeway. Authorities had suspected Eugene was under the influence of synthetic drugs sold as “bath salts,” which have been known to make some users aggressive and behave bizarrely. Witnesses said he had taken off his clothes and was swinging on a light pole before the attack.

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 9:14 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 06.27.12

    $$$ Merkel dubs quick bond solutions ‘eyewash’ [FT] $$$ Public Exchanges Duel With Newcomers Over Trade Transparency [NYT] $$$ Breaking Up Big Banks Hard To Do As Market Forces Fail [Bloomberg] $$$ Bernard Madoff’s brother to plead guilty, U.S. says [Reuters] $$$ “Underwriting firms publishing today are far less bullish than other analysts in their […]

    / Jun 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

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