Opening Bell: 12.10.13

Companies, Activists Declare Truce in Boardroom Battles (WSJ)
Activist investors are increasingly encountering an unusual reception when approaching corporate targets: an open door. Instead of pulling up the drawbridge as activists approach, corporate executives and directors more often are engaging, concluding that it is easier and cheaper to negotiate rather than resist and risk a public fight, advisers and executives said. Even Carl Icahn, long seen as the archenemy of chief executives, is finding the path to the boardroom easier to tread. Mr. Icahn, among the most relentless of activists, secured representatives on more boards this year than he ever has, without resorting to shareholder-vote battles. “I’m even surprised,” Mr. Icahn said in an interview. “Being admitted to all these boards without a proxy fight would have been unthinkable only a year ago.”

Hilton Moves Up IPO To Wednesday (WSJ)
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. has accelerated the timetable for its potential $2.7 billion IPO and is now planning on pricing its shares after markets close on Wednesday, instead of on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said. The acceleration reflects strong demand for the IPO from investors who have met with management during the ongoing road show, the people said.

Candy Crush maker not sweet on IPO in ‘13 (NYP)
Candy Crush Saga — the popular mobile game — will not go public this year, according to published reports. The company behind the game — Midasplayer — has delayed its initial public offering on the Nasdaq until next year amid fears that the flagship game has been “too successful”. The British company does not wish to be seen as a one-trick pony with Candy Crush and wants to take some time developing other games to add to the portfolio before coming to public markets.

Nomura to Hire 20 U.S. Bankers in Bid to Regain M&A Rank (Bloomberg)
The company will seek people to work on leveraged lending and building relationships with private-equity firms such as KKR & Co., global investment banking head Kentaro Okuda said in an interview in Tokyo. Others will be recruited to cover the hotel, real estate, casino and gaming industries, he said. The hiring plans mark a shift by Chief Executive Officer Koji Nagai toward resurrecting Nomura’s global ambitions after spending the first 16 months of his tenure fixing his predecessor’s missteps, such as ballooning overseas costs and an insider-trading scandal that roiled domestic operations. The brokerage is expanding in leveraged finance as stricter global capital requirements make the business more expensive for banks. “We’ve entered the phase where we can think about how to make deals and obtain clients in the Americas,” Okuda, 50, said in the Nov. 28 interview. “There are tons of deals there.”

SAC analyst claims sleep kept him from passing along tips (NYP)
It is hard to do insider trading in your sleep. That just about sums up Jon Horvath’s testy comeback to defense lawyer Barry Berke’s continued jabs in Manhattan federal court Monday. On Feb. 9, 2009, Horvath received an email from Primary Global Research’s Danny Kuo, a member of his insider-trading circle, who had developed an accounting-manager source inside Nvdia who gave him inside information about upcoming earnings of the tech company. But Horvath did not pass the information along to his boss, portfolio manager Michael Steinberg, when the two communicated that day and Steinberg traded in the stock. Horvath, trying to show the jury that not every illicit tip was passed along, responded to Berke: “I think I was in Taiwan and didn’t see this at the time. It was difficult to do in my sleep.”

Bowlers Journal International Rolls On (WSJ)
In its October issue, Bowlers Journal International offered advice to college freshmen, encouraging them to study hard, think positive and avoid excessive curve on the ball. “You do not have to hook it that much,” said the column. The issue also profiled a Latvian bowling queen, identified the sport’s most powerful people and reviewed new balls such as the Reign On: “With the hybrid Reign On, players get the traction of a dull solid reactive, but with the extra backend of a pearl reactive.” As a magazine that covers bowling, Bowlers Journal operates at the intersection of bad and worse. Not only is the magazine industry troubled, losing advertisers to the Internet. But since 1980, the number of competitive bowlers in America has plummeted from almost nine million to about two million, leaving most bowling publications with no place to go except broke. The latest to tumble: 20-year-old Bowling This Month, a magazine that published its final issue this autumn, citing economic difficulties. By contrast, Bowlers Journal turned 100 last month, and marked the occasion by publishing a 300-page commemorative edition “celebrating 100 years of world-class bowling journalism.” It is a milestone few magazines ever reach, and those that do tend to cover topics that never fall out of style. For instance, Good Housekeeping. “You hear people say that magazines are dead, and you hear people say that bowling is dead. Yet here you have a 300-page bowling magazine,” says Samir A. Husni, director of the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center.

Volcker Rule Eases Market-Making While Hedges Face New Scrutiny (Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and three other agencies are set to sign off tomorrow on the proprietary trading ban, which has been contested by Wall Street banks JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and their industry allies for more than three years. Wall Street’s lobbying paid off in part. Regulators granted a broader exemption from the ban for banks’ market-making desks, on the condition that traders aren’t paid in a way that rewards proprietary trading, according to a draft of the final rule. The final version also exempts securities tied to foreign sovereign debt from the ban. At the same time, regulators gave banks less leeway for bets considered hedges for other risks.

SAC agrees to sell reinsurance business to investor group (Reuters)
A group of investors led by insurance-industry veteran Brian Duperreault struck a deal to buy billionaire trader Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP’s reinsurance business. The deal for Bermuda-based SAC Re Ltd. is expected to close in December, a spokesman representing Duperreault and the investor group said on Monday, declining to specify terms. SAC Re will be renamed Hamilton Re upon the deal’s closing, with Duperreault becoming chief executive officer.

Wealth Tide Doesn’t Lift All Boats (WSJ)
Compared with last year, the well-off are probably feeling much better this holiday season. The less well-off, whose spending power is dictated more by gains in wages than wealth, aren’t feeling nearly as flush. Beyond its uneven nature, spending fueled by rising asset values lacks the staying power that income-generated spending does. The Fed reported that third-quarter household net worth equaled 615% of after-tax income, up from 570% a year earlier.

Psychologist comes up with most frustrating tongue twister EVER (NYDN)
Forget about “she sells seashells down by the seashore” and “Peter piper and his peck of pickled peppers.” There’s a new tricky tongue twister in town — so tough, in fact, that a top psychologist claims it’s the English language’s most difficult EVER. The phrase “pad kid poured curd pulled cold” may not make much sense. But it completely stumped every single volunteer recently asked to repeat it 10 times in a row. “If anyone can say this phrase 10 times quickly, they get a prize,” lead researcher Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, from MIT, told Boston Magazine.

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Comments (17)

  1. Posted by guest | December 10, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    I was so happy that the opening bell was posted this early… and then I noticed the date was wrong. Get it together Shaz

  2. Posted by CoveredLong | December 10, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold
    pad kid poured curd pulled cold

    …sorry, got a little distracted doing the repeater.

  3. Posted by KingCo | December 10, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Nomura is like a bulimic, only with hiring and firing.

  4. Posted by segoviacobain | December 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    pad kid pulled pud poured curd

  5. Posted by shakes mcfly | December 10, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    shazar has a t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-time m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-machine?

  6. Posted by Ish | December 10, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Bowling manager? Why would a bowler need a manager?

  7. Posted by Guy Shazon | December 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I wonder what are all the Cubans that escaped Cuba to come to America are thinking now! Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz have betrayed American citizens once again this time Cuban Americans!

  8. Posted by Guest | December 10, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    that will happen…
    that will happen.

  9. Posted by Lame Joke | December 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Go easy on the guy, he was conceived at the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center!

  10. Posted by Guest | December 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Shaz posts the opening bell sometime around four.
    Shaz posts the opening bell sometime around four.

    Not hard to say. It's nine that trips everyone up because of the cognitive dissonance.

  11. Posted by Rebecca M. | December 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    The only tongue twisters I know of involves me, another female, and some cheap alcohol.

  12. Posted by King Pin | December 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Bess: l said l'd sooner get Shazared out here in the middle of nowhere.
    Jon: "Shazared"? What the hell is that?
    Bess: You know. Shazared. To be up a creek without a paddle. To have the world in the palm of your hand and then blow it.

  13. Posted by Guest | December 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Asking for a friend, what is their average salary?

    -UBS VP

  14. Posted by Jeff G. | December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    300 pages of 'two in the pink, one in the stink'?!? Sign me up.

  15. Posted by 2014 | December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    I'm not clear if that's on purpose now or a thing of some kind. I mean how do you fuck up a date ?

  16. Posted by Quant me maybe... | December 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    And a maraschino cherry with the stem still on.

  17. Posted by Guest | December 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Nice job pulling dates. The Volcker Rule is to be announced today not tomorrow.

    -Someone who pays attention to important news