Opening Bell: 02.15.13

SEC Looks At Trades A Day Before Heinz Deal (NYT)
Regulators are scrutinizing unusual trading surrounding the planned $23 billion takeover of the food company H. J. Heinz, raising questions about potential illegal activity in one of the biggest deals in recent memory, a person briefed on the matter said. The Securities and Exchange Commission opened an insider trading inquiry on Thursday as Berkshire Hathaway and the investment firm 3G Capital agreed to pay $72.50 a share for Heinz, this person said. Regulators first noticed a suspicious spike in trading on Wednesday.

Deferred Pay Draws Fed’s Scrutiny (WSJ)
U.S. banks and securities firms would have to step up their compensation disclosures under rules being considered by the Federal Reserve, said a person familiar with the central bank’s regulatory efforts. The rules are in the formative stages and wouldn’t take effect for some time. But an early draft has circulated internally at the Fed, this person said, marking a step on the path toward a public proposal. The Fed’s push ultimately could give investors sheaves of new data on how and when companies pay their employees—including scarce numbers on how much compensation has been promised but not yet paid out.

Shifting Blame Muddles S&P Suit (WSJ)
The Delphinus deal, which means “dolphin” in Latin and is the name of a small constellation in the Northern Hemisphere, was one of more than 30 CDOs included in the federal government’s lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last week. Federal prosecutors say that S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos., disregarded its own standards when rating Delphinus and the other CDOs, misled investors and should cover losses suffered by federally insured banks and credit unions that bought the securities, which included bundles of subprime mortgages. The discrepancy could give S&P a way to counterattack the Justice Department as the two sides gird for a battle that legal experts say will be grueling. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is seeking more than $5 billion in damages from S&P, which claims the allegations are “meritless.” The U.S. government’s conflicting opinions about the Delphinus deal might be a problem if the civil-fraud suit goes to trial. The ratings firm probably will argue that “these banks aren’t victims,” says Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now is a law professor at Duke University.

Ackman: Herbalife Short Unaffected By Icahn Stake (CNBC)
In his first public comments following the disclosure of activist investor Carl Icahn’s stake in Herbalife, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who made $1 billion short bet against the stock, told CNBC he remains convinced that “Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.” Ackman’s statement read, “We invest based on a careful analysis of the facts. After 18 months of due diligence, we have concluded that it is a certainty that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. Our conclusions are unaffected by who is on the other side of the investment. Our goal was to shine a spotlight on Herbalife. To the extent Mr. Icahn is helping achieve this objective, we welcome his involvement.”

G-20 Seeks Common Ground on Currencies After Yen Split (Bloomberg)
Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers begin talks in Moscow today with investors seeking clarity on how comfortable they are with a sliding yen. Questions are being asked after the Group of Seven united around a pledge not to target exchange rates only to divide over its meaning for Japan. “We have to get to the bottom of this, of course, listen to our Japanese colleagues and how they explain this and what decisions they will take and what exchange-rate policy they will follow,” Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview yesterday before hosting the meeting. He said the G-20 should adopt more “specific” language opposing exchange-rate interference in a statement to be released tomorrow.

Corvette’s stick shift thwarts Orlando man (OS)
Orlando police said the 20-year-old tried to carjack a man inside a Corvette near Orlando Regional Medical Center late last month, but couldn’t steal the car because he didn’t know how to use the clutch or stick-shift. He and his accomplice ran away from the car, but not before stealing the victim’s wallet and cell phone, police said. Soon after the failed carjacking, the victim’s credit card was used at a McDonald’s on Kirkman Road. Surveillance video inside the restaurant showed Sayles at the register, placing an order at about 12:15 a.m. Jan. 28. Not long after, the stolen cellphone’s internal GPS registered with the phone company. Authorities tracked the phone to a home on Grandiflora Drive in a neighborhood off Kirkman Road. On Feb. 8, police went to the home, and Sayles answered the door. Officers noted in their arrest report that they immediately recognized him from the surveillance video inside the McDonald’s. When asked why the victim’s stolen cellphone would detect at his house, the report said, Sayles said a lot of people come to his residence and they could have brought it.

One-Man Bank Keeps German Village Business Running (Reuters)
The Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG cooperative bank in southern Germany is one of the country’s 10 smallest banks by deposits and is the only one to be run by just one member of staff. Small banks like this dominate the German banking landscape. Rooted in communities, they offer a limited range of accounts and loans to personal and local business customers. While numbers have shrunk from around 7,000 in the 1970s to around 1,100 now, cooperative banks like Raiffeisen Gammesfeld provide competition for Germany’s two largest banks – Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. A typical day’s work for Breiter involves providing villagers with cash for their day-to-day needs and arranging small loans for local businesses. Not to mention cleaning the one-story building that houses the bank, which is 200 meters from his own front door. Moving from a bigger bank, where it was all “sell, sell, sell”, Gammesfeld-born Breiter says taking up this job in 2008 was the best decision he ever made. The advertisement required someone to work by hand, without computers. The typewriter and the adding machine bear the signs of constant use, although Breiter, in his standard work outfit of jeans and jumper, does now have a computer. “It’s so much fun,” Breiter, a keen mathematician, says as he deals with a steady stream of lunchtime customers. He knows his customers by name and regularly offers advice on jobs, relationship and money woes.

Ex-Analyst At SAC Felt Pressured For Tips (WSJ)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office now are using the statements from the analyst to try to build a case against the SAC portfolio manager, Michael Steinberg, and others that could result in charges in the coming months, these people said. Authorities currently are preparing to present evidence to a grand jury against Mr. Steinberg, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The development ramps up the legal pressure on the big hedge fund, highlighting that the previously reported insider-trading investigation of SAC and its founder, Steven A. Cohen, is proceeding on multiple fronts.

Blackstone Keeps Most Of Its Money With SAC (NYT)
The Blackstone Group, the largest outside investor in the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, said it would keep most of its $550 million with the hedge fund for three more months while it monitors developments in the government’s insider trading investigation.

Performance Tops Pedigree in Money Managers’ Fortunes (Bloomberg)
Virtus Investment Partners Inc. and Artio Global Investors Inc. set out on their own in 2009 within nine months of one another. The paths of the two money managers couldn’t have been more different. Virtus, which started as a virtually unknown money manager, has surged 18-fold since its public debut as assets have soared, with its shares hitting a record on Feb. 14. Artio, which listed in September 2009 after spinning out from Switzerland’s 122- year-old wealth manager Julius Baer Group Ltd., saw its life as an independent firm come to an abrupt end with its Feb. 14 acquisition by Aberdeen Asset Management Plc after assets slumped and shares plunged about 90 percent.

Banks Warned Not To Leave Libor (WSJ)
The Financial Services Authority recently sent letters to a handful of major banks—including France’s BNP Paribas SA and the Netherlands’ Rabobank Group—warning them not to pull out of the panel that sets the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, these people said. The letters came after executives at those banks privately informed the British Bankers’ Association, the trade organization that oversees Libor, that they planned to exit the rate-setting panel.

Australian couple get married in IKEA (DM)
Lynne said: ‘We wanted to get married in IKEA for a very simple reason – we adore IKEA. ‘It felt right to be able to show our commitment to one another by getting married somewhere we both love and to show the world that romance can be alive anywhere, even in the aisles of IKEA. Our visits to IKEA over the years have actually brought the two of us closer!’ Every element of the special day featured IKEA products handpicked by the happy couple, including crockery, lighting, dining furniture, decorations, glassware and meatballs.

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Comments (56)

  1. Posted by Just a Kid | February 15, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Getting married in Ikea is the NKI

  2. Posted by CoveredLong | February 15, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    "…but couldn’t steal the car because he didn’t know how to use the clutch or stick-shift"

    I couldn't hit a golf ball because I didn't how to use the club or tee.

    /florida

  3. Posted by Scientologisky | February 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Really?

  4. Posted by Lance Armstrong | February 15, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    I always get the 25 ball combo when I go to Ikea.

  5. Posted by Sir Guest | February 15, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Did that DB gathering ever go down? Any update? Did the DB Admin just queef in everyones face then called the cops to have the thing shut down?

  6. Posted by HoneymoonInCostco | February 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I was late to the marriage….had the wrong AISLE and BIN numbers.

  7. Posted by Jose | February 15, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I was never keen on taking a cruise, but knowing now that most people who fancy these trips prefer to randomly take shits in the hallway, I think I'll pass for good.

  8. Posted by Guest | February 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    "While numbers have shrunk from around 7,000 in the 1970s to around 1,100 now, cooperative banks like Raiffeisen Gammesfeld provide competition for Germany’s two largest banks – Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank."

    As if any of those small town banks could provide serious competition to the big banks. Why would anyone waste a few euros on a small local bank when Deutsche Bank would help them lose money by the billions in Las Vegas real estate?

  9. Posted by Foghorn Leghorn | February 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Just the right amount of wrong…

    DB MD

  10. Posted by Better>U | February 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    I give a tip of $10 for a $28 haircut.

  11. Posted by Uncontrollable | February 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    I had a same problem once with a supermodel. Could't work the corset. Had to walk away with a wad in my hand.

  12. Posted by Uncontollable | February 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Consider the amount of shit spewing on Triumph, they are considering renaming it Carnival Trump.

  13. Posted by kcg | February 15, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Three tomatoes are walkin' down the street.
    Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato.
    Baby Tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa Tomato gets really angry.
    Goes back and squishes him and says: "Ketchup."
    Ketchup.

  14. Posted by Har har | February 15, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    "SEC Looks At Trades A Day Before Heinz Deal"

    I guess the SEC is playing a game of,… ketchup.

  15. Posted by Guest | February 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    I've left more meaningful tips.

    – Leper

  16. Posted by VonSloneker | February 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Oh yeah, the wedding was cracking mate. You missed out on the bachelor party in the ladies underwear department at Myer*…

    - Bruce, Philosophy Dept. Univ. of Woolloomooloo

    * Australian department store

  17. Posted by Attempted Carjacker | February 15, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Well, those small banks likely don't have a rates desk, and when I think upstanding guys to trade rates with, I think of Deutsche Bank.

  18. Posted by uncontrollable | February 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    It was an honest mistake. SAC traders just asked the new intern from Blackstone to get a shitload of ketchup for their fries. BTW, Did you know that if you let go Pee and the get a Tea, a shipload becomes a shitload. happened on Triumph!

  19. Posted by Triumph of the Shill | February 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Would you fuckers please shut up about Raiffeisen Gammesfeld. We're trying to get a gas trading desk started there.

    -Former Deutsche Bank Gas Traders

  20. Posted by Herb Schmertz | February 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    C'mon, it's a good ship…

    ..for me to POOP ON!

    - Triumph

  21. Posted by Guesteban | February 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    We all promise not laugh.

  22. Posted by Slacker quant | February 15, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    18 months of due diligence? You guys need to take a break.

  23. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | February 15, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    If Kate Upton was a booger, I'd pick her first!

  24. Posted by Real Estate Genius | February 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    So you doled out AAA ratings for S&P?

  25. Posted by King Al | February 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Good morning, bitches.

  26. Posted by Dumbass Credit Co | February 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Their diligence is 18 months due? Pay up!!

  27. Posted by ... | February 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    The inclusion of the LIBOR story that was in the Opening Bell yesterday indicates this is a Shazar opening bell.

    - UBS Dick Tracy Quant

  28. Posted by Van Beek | February 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Lame puns don't cut the mustard, my friend. I don't relish saying this but you need to lay off the sauce. You're just getting yourself in a pickle. Lettuce remain on-topic, mmkay?

  29. Posted by guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Heard Ackman talking on BB. Coverage of that charity event he does. He's def a motor mouth. Or interpreted a more kind way, thorough. I can understand the 18 mos.

  30. Posted by Thong Song | February 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Bess was heavily intoxicated and kept calling Shazar a retard. Matt had technical difficulties getting the projector to work and began to sweat profusely while on stage. Bess then somehow got a hold of a bathroom scale and was trying to get this fat chick Shazar brought to stand on it. Fat chick leaves crying, Matt continues to sweat profusely when he realizes he bought chips but no salsa. Some other things happened, but I can't recall.

  31. Posted by guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    note to self: next time a piece of shit cab steals my iPhone call 911 and tell them I was carjacked so Verizon will give them the GPS coordinates and the po po go kick in the prick's door. get iPhone and if I'm feeling generous I won't press charges

  32. Posted by uncontrollable | February 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    This is no shit. Ikea is giving a free crib in 9 months, if you made a baby on Valentine's day. http://www.businessinsider.com/ikea-valentines-da

  33. Posted by also guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I assume by "steals" you mean "keeps after I black out and forget it in the back seat"

  34. Posted by Bored Guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    C'mon and spare a talon for an old ex-leper?

  35. Posted by Bored Guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Go…away.

  36. Posted by guest | February 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    either way, the cabbie is going to flip it for $300 and deny he ever saw it. fuck him

  37. Posted by UBS Biology Quant | February 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    What's significant about the 9-month mark?

  38. Posted by Mike Larson | February 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    <img src="http://Now.apparelbookstore.info/rest.jpg"/&gt; LOL, nice imagination there.

  39. Posted by Savage Pampers | February 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I don't care. I laughed at this.

  40. Posted by Had to | February 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    What's the big dill? Garnish their wages.

  41. Posted by UBS A/S/L Quant | February 15, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    fascinating… our research indicates nobody has used "LOL" since AOL version 5.0…

  42. Posted by uncontrollable | February 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    That is just a bunch of Bologna!

  43. Posted by Laxbro | February 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    I fired off a couple "hey beautiful, happy valentine's day" texts this morning. Girls who remain mellow will get sushi.

  44. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 15, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Bean there, done that.

  45. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    The first rule of Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading Night is you don't talk* about Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading Night.

    *Or completely remember it after you started downing post-game whiskys at the bar with Levine, but whatever.

  46. Posted by Joke Trader | February 15, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Short Friday's comedy on DB

  47. Posted by Guest | February 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    I can help you with your problems.

    -O. Pistorius

  48. Posted by Guest | February 15, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I give your wife the whole shaft unlike you.

  49. Posted by HackySackBrotha | February 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Margin call for the pun thread.

  50. Posted by PORTAGENT | February 15, 2013 at 1:49 PM
  51. Posted by Felton Licter | February 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    When you choke a bit while eating some french fries and you spill a drop of ketchup on your hand, the acr of licking it off your hand is called the Heinz Lick Maneuver.

  52. Posted by Poop Deck | February 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Ever heard of me?

  53. Posted by Teresa's Horse | February 15, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Hay!

    - did the joke weeks ago

  54. Posted by UBS Joke Trader | February 15, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I went long Outs.

  55. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 15, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Jesus H, are you in 9th Grade or something?

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