Opening Bell: 02.28.14

Bitcoin Derivatives Sprout as Regulators Play Catch-Up (Bloomberg)
The closing of a major Bitcoin exchange in Japan not only focused attention on the digital currency’s risks, it also rattled a still-newer market that regulators are just starting to monitor: Bitcoin derivatives. George Samman, a former Wall Street investment adviser who in May helped start a platform for betting on Bitcoin’s price swings, saw trading on his BTC.sx website grow to more than $35 million by Jan. 21. After the shutdown at Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based exchange for buying Bitcoins, BTC.sx suspended trading — because it had to find another exchange partner for its customers. “It is semi-Wild West, but that’s only because it’s new,” Samman said before the Mt. Gox shutdown.

Bitcoin owners find safe place for digital currency: on paper (Reuters)
Canadian mortgage broker and bitcoin enthusiast Chung Cheong writes out his secret number by hand and puts it in a safety deposit box. “The only way to ever access that address and those bitcoins is that piece of paper,” said Cheong. “I pray that there isn’t a big fire and the bank burns down. Because if that happens, I’m out of luck.”

Third Point’s Loeb Ramps Up Fight with Sotheby’s (WSJ)
Mr. Loeb nominated himself and two others to Sotheby’s board of directors early Thursday, setting up a potentially distracting fight for shareholder votes. The move came hours before the company said its profit jumped 37% in the fourth quarter amid strong sales of Asian and Impressionist art. The two sides are battling over Mr. Loeb’s arguments that Sotheby’s needs to improve its performance online and expand its presence in contemporary art. In a scathing letter to the board in October, Mr. Loeb criticized Sotheby’s as an “old master painting in desperate need of restoration.”

State Street Enters Fray as Corporate-Bond Broker (WSJ)
As Wall Street banks pull back from some corporate bond trades with clients, other large financial institutions are looking to step in. A State Street Corp. unit has begun handling corporate-bond trades between large investment firms as an intermediary, company officials said. That job is often done by a bank-owned broker-dealer. Rival Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is considering offering a similar service, said people familiar with the matter. The move marks the latest effort to profit from a gradual shift in how trades are handled in the $9.6 trillion corporate-bond market. As banks have retreated from acting as middlemen for bond trades, citing tough new regulations on their capital and risk-taking, a host of financial firms, including some small regional dealers, have looked to cash in on the void they leave behind.

Microsoft Chairman Says Company Must Focus Under Nadella (Bloomberg)
“The issue for us is, quite frankly, about focus,” Thompson said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “One of the reasons we chose Satya Nadella is he has a strong technology background. He understands exactly what needs to happen to move Microsoft forward.”

The Battle to Cheer Up Africa’s Last Polar Bear (WSJ)
Wang was sprawled on his back in the sweltering heat, when veterinarian Katja Koeppel approached with apple slices and the daunting task of cheering up Africa’s last polar bear. “Wang!” she called. “Here, Wang!” Ms. Koeppel threw the sliced green apples 30 feet down into his rock-and-grass enclosure. Wang ambled toward the apples, ate them and went back to lying listlessly on the grass. Ms. Koeppel looked resigned. It was another dreary day for one skinny, dirt-covered and depressed polar bear. Wang has been on his own since Geebee, his companion at the Johannesburg Zoo for nearly three decades, died of heart failure in January. Wang’s keepers fear grief on top of liver trouble and a summer heat wave in the Southern Hemisphere could combine to kill the 29-year-old bear. So they’re ramping up his behavior enrichment with a full regimen of toys, treats and psychological intervention aimed at lifting his spirits. On Valentine’s Day, keepers wrote “We love you, Wang” on a cardboard box filled with treats and lowered it into his enclosure. As couples watched from above, Wang nosed the package into a dark room, delicately opened the lid and devoured the fruit and heart-shaped beef steak within. “Wang is pining for Geebee,” says Ms. Koeppel, the zoo’s manager of veterinary services, “and is understandably very stressed.” As was true of Geebee, Wang is nearing the limits of polar-bear life expectancy, so the zoo says it’s too late for him to adjust to a new partner.

eBay ‘on guard’ after Icahn challenges board to TV duel (NYP)
Carl Icahn amped up his already fevered battle with eBay on Thursday — challenging the online auction retailer to a duel. Not the pistols-at-20-paces kind of duel, but a live TV debate that the activist investor hopes would settle his argument that the current eBay board is not fit to decide what is best for shareholders. Icahn, known for upping the stakes in his board battles, issued the challenge in his third letter to eBay shareholders this week. Icahn is trying to convince eBay’s shareholders to press the company to split off its financial transaction arm, PayPal. As a first step, he is seeking to add two allies to eBay’s board — and has attacked some current directors in an effort to get them off the board. EBay quickly rejected Icahn’s challenge. “We will not be going head-to-head against Icahn” on TV, a person close to eBay told The Post. The refusal prompted Icahn to compare the online retailer to a restrictive government regime. “It doesn’t surprise me they don’t want to have a debate because in a totalitarian state there are no debates,” Icahn told The Post.

Jos. A. Bank rejects Men’s Wearhouse bid, says open to talks (Reuters)
The company’s move is the latest in a saga that has played out since last October, when Jos. A Bank made an offer to buy out its larger rival. Men’s Wearhouse turned the tables with its own offer and then, in January, went hostile by taking its offer to its smaller rival’s shareholders.

A Bachelor Party House in Singapore (WSJ)
On the third floor, once a code is punched into a number pad, sliding doors reveal the over-2,600-square-foot bedroom and bathroom suite, plus an office and an entertainment room. On a translucent door leading to the bathroom is a depiction of the shadow of a woman, caught in the act of tossing back long hair, one hand pressed against the glass. The large, mosaic-tiled shower doesn’t have a door, but an entry shaped like a long capsule…Mr. Chan bought the property in 2007 for $4.7 million and hired Singapore architect Aamer Taher. Mr. Chan initially planned to build a home to house a multigenerational family, figuring that it could last him “until old age” or have wide appeal if he were ever to sell it. But as construction costs rose, Mr. Chan shortened the outlook and decided what he really wanted was an “all-out party house for myself.” After six months of planning, a year and a half of construction and an investment of about $2.1 million, he moved in. Mr. Chan now says the best party he’s ever thrown in his bachelor pad was his own wedding last May, attended by about 60 friends and family. “It was when the full architecture of the house all came together,” he says. “We had catering staff, chefs, all these people and I felt like the house could take it. It was the entertainment center I wanted.” Wife Calista Chan, a 26-year-old part-time business student, says she loves many things about their home, but that, looking ahead, “we probably will need to add more bedrooms and make it more family-friendly.” Mr. Chan has already offered up the office space next to their bedroom as a start. “It can always double up as a baby’s room,” he says.

Male ex-employee of Manhattan PR firm sues over alleged sexual harassment (NYDN)
Joseph Jackson, 41, claims he endured nearly seven months of verbal come-ons and overt touches from two women supervisors at Open Communications, one of whom allegedly sent him a text asking for a “bang sesh.” Even when John Morris, CEO of Open Communications, a Midtown digital strategy firm, witnessed the raunchy behavior, he simply rolled his eyes and shrugged, the lawsuit contends. Jackson claims he was fired Feb. 21 after formally complaining three times to Morris about inappropriate behavior from supervisors Sally O’Dowd and Katie Campisano. He filed his suit Monday, three days after he lost his job. According to Jackson’s suit, Campisano and O’Dowd started crossing boundaries about a month after he was hired in July. O’Dowd, 45, who co-founded the company, allegedly wrapped her arms around him when he attended her company birthday party in August. The leggy brunette hugged him three times even though he didn’t respond to her, the plaintiff says. “You are so handsome. You are so awesome …You are so talented,’ she allegedly whispered in his ear. Then she kissed him on the back of the neck,” the lawsuit said. The attention left Jackson “distraught,” according to the lawsuit, and he left the party. But the inappropriate contact continued, his suit asserts. Over the next few months, O’Dowd would run her hands over Jackson, touching his abs, massaging his arms and kissing his neck while telling him how “sexy” he was. She also made comments about her sexual escapades, once comparing Jackson to her “hot lover Apollo,” the suit said. Then she started forcing him to touch her, the plaintiff claims. “I’ve been doing these exercises and crunches. My body is so fit and tight. Poke my abdomen,” she allegedly told him Dec. 18…At the same time, he was getting unwanted sexual attention from 25-year-old Campisano, the suit says. “When are we going to have our bang sesh?” she allegedly wrote him in a November text.

54 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (54)

  1. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Last, bithchaz!

  2. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    A 25 year old supervising a 41 year old at a "strategy firm"?? Nonetheless, the young one would get that bang sesh in a second. The older one… tranny.

  3. Posted by HotKarl | February 28, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    I support wang…but fuck the polar bear.

    - B Frank

  4. Posted by HotKarl | February 28, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    O'Dowd = hell no; Campisano = hell yes

  5. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    TV debate on eBay? What does he think it's a presidential election? Icahn's been hanging out with Gasparino too much.

  6. Posted by L Tilton | February 28, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    That would never happen at my shop

  7. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Derivatives on a pretend currency? That beats any Nigerian "investment" by a mile.

  8. Posted by Joseph Jackson | February 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    I am not doing it right.

  9. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Rumor has it Open Communications had a no eyeballs on the CEO before 8 though.

  10. Posted by 25 yr old supervisor | February 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I meant bong sesh.

  11. Posted by Rami | February 28, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    There is a chick in Union Square offering free "hugs" for Bitcoins. The bitcoins go my account, of course.

  12. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    O'Dowd and Campisano agree to the latter statement.

  13. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Pencils Joe Jackson Escapade into his Diary of Life Scenario Dreams

    -Shazar

  14. Posted by Now I Get It | February 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM
  15. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Dear Freind,

    I am Ivan Ivanovich Ivanovanovich, cousin of Mr Sergei Sergeyovich Sergoyovichovich, who is haker that hak computers. Sergei is in possess of 400,000 (four hundred and thousand) BTC (bit-coin) that he got from freind who work at the Mount Goks. But Japaniya lawyer Mr Sashimoto-san watch bit-coin virtual "wallet" very close.

    I hope for to get bit-coin to Sergei, but we need virtual "wallet" to transfer to. If you help with transfer, we pay you 20,000 (twenty and thousand) BTC that right now can be sold for many USD. Please to send private key for you wallet to us and we transfer BTC soon.

    Bestly Regards,
    Vanya I. I.

  16. Posted by Roosh | February 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    hypergamy at its finest

  17. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Bernanke killed the bear.

  18. Posted by Xenomorph | February 28, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    When modern guys like me argued for equal rights for women in the workforce, this isn't what we had in mind. Get back to the kitchen. You've lost the support of the nice guys of the world.

    And really, you couldn't bang them before suing? Nothing says Stockholm survivor like a romp in the hay

  19. Posted by low standards | February 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    eh, I'm sure O'Dowd's masculine facial structure would look great in a certain light

  20. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Now she's just a different kind of addict

  21. Posted by guest | February 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Both statement in all likeliness

  22. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I.e. no light

  23. Posted by Bess | February 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Yeah right, hoss.

  24. Posted by Guesto Santana | February 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    This guy either pitches for the other team or pulls so much tail he doesn't need to find any in the workplace.

    Money over bitches, tho.

  25. Posted by Naked Short | February 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    lights off, with a polar bear…. ahh fuck it

    -guy whos not good at that one but misses the classics

  26. Posted by Drago | February 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Ukraine is game to you ?

  27. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    That polar bear story was the saddest thing I've heard all week. If he's too old for a new wife, can we at least get him some hot young polar bear action?

  28. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    The Ukraine is weak.

  29. Posted by Charlie Bartiromo | February 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    There is nothing sexier than a pretty female with sexual addiction and drug problems.

  30. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | February 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Did you know it's been exactly 52 Weeks since fkapimco last commented?

    >Not stalking.

  31. Posted by NakedShort | February 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    IMPOSTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Posted by Drunk Ernest | February 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    "Stockholm Syndrome" is the phrase you are seeking, but not like the Stockholm Syndrome of cold lonely nights I spent intoxicated by the obliterated German tank in the little park where the meatballs made of horsemeat were consumed by the bored policeman and the prostitute with the blond hairy legs, and one sees the little German buttons and uniform militaria laying about like the grape leaves in an Italian vineyard on a warm summer's late afternoon spent with the earthy Citronella, she of northern Italy where there are no mosquitos; not like the ones the British flew in to bomb the SS jail that day, but given the lack of facilities in Italian vineyards, Citronella, she of the enormous appetite for pasta, had to excuse herself to drop a few bombs of her own a couple of furrows over and I would have thrown a dirt clod at her for fun and to hear the sounds of anger from her mouth unmuffled as compared to last night when I was enjoying a French lesson from her and spanked her on a spot on her big Italian ass where, unknown to me, was a boil in its early stage, much like that African boil that rises into the stratosphere, snowy and calling all real men to hunt beneath it, much like the fingers of an Italian ambulance driver examining under a wounded female's skirt, muttering "Mama, mama mia!" in low tone's like the sniper's assistant two rooms above Harry's American Bar in Paris, with a view of the street and the antics of the Hun avoiding the bereted crowd's anger while the sniper wished his duties were over and that he could once again run his steady hands through the blond leg hair of Anna, the Swede, who had also learned his and her deadly trade from the Russian woman who had no humor and mole on her lip whose hairs were pronounced and crossed like those in the scope on his rifle that he placed on non-religious temples of the German persuasion.

  33. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Or, he moved to the buyside. Now he can get poontang left and right whenever he wants to.

  34. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    You still haven't said 'No' to the 41 year old.

  35. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Lights off, curtains drawn, windows taped over with black garbage bags, webcams covered, cell phone batteries pulled, no speaking, and no kissing.

  36. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Yes. Battlefield 4 has been pretty weak, need something new.

  37. Posted by Adjudimicator | February 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Better luck next time.

  38. Posted by Shaggy | February 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Penut butter and cocunut water work every time

  39. Posted by doge_bimbo | February 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    "I was drinking vodka every day (but maintaining a 3.6 GPA…)"

    Wow! Such impressive! Very genius!

    I mean, I'm sure that's really hard to do at Quinnipiac University.

  40. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Bess, when are we going to have our bang sesh?

  41. Posted by doge_bimbo | February 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    "I was drinking vodka every day (but maintaining a 3.6 GPA…)"

    Wow! Such impressive! Very genius!

    (I mean, I'm sure that's really hard to do as a communications major at a gutter called Quinnipiac University.)

  42. Posted by Curious but not bi | February 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Is this the manifestation of severe mental illness or did you just read Fifty Shades?

  43. Posted by UFO | February 28, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Hah, nothing like realizing you spent your life in the wrong career when you're already over the hill. Money can buy some power but it is not actually real power. No seriously, I think he would have made a great dictator.

    - Kim "J-dawg" un

  44. Posted by Back office | February 28, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    ….you would have actually gotten grundled or you'd have hired a hit man afterwards to stifle the possibility of a law suit?

    - Joey Boom Boom from Jersey

  45. Posted by Shaz's beard | February 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    “Jon Shazzy, when are we going to have our bang sesh?”

    -nobody, ever

  46. Posted by the Guest | February 28, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Interesting fact, my (Ukrainian) coworker gets really mad when you call it "the" Ukraine, because apparently Ukraine means border or something in Ukrainian, and calling it "the Border" is more offensive than calling it "Border", because it implies implicit ownership by Russia.

    -'Cool Story Bro' hypocrite

  47. Posted by Father time | February 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    I like you, but without some changes it's going to be 31 in your case.

  48. Posted by G. Soros | February 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    That's a cautionary tale often.

  49. Posted by Actual Buysider | February 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    GO BACK TO WALLSTREETOASIS

  50. Posted by AfroMan | February 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    I thought it was pretty good. Not my thing, but hey, A for effort. I clicked 'LIKE'

  51. Posted by V. Putin | February 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    I think it's time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.

  52. Posted by Guest | February 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    backoffice doesn't count as 'buyside'

  53. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Wow. In two more weeks, it'll be exactly one year.

    -UBS Quant

  54. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | February 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    I'd have countered with a dance-off challenge. Like the Jets and the Sharks in west side story.

    >The perfect irony would be if Icahn and his son could be the Sharks.