Opening Bell: 03.05.14

Ballmer Says Microsoft a ‘Two-Trick Pony,’ Working on Third (Bloomberg)
“You’re pretty genius in our business if you’re a one-trick pony,” Ballmer said. “In our company, I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve done at least two tricks. Tricks are worth billions and billions of dollars.”

Pimco Gets Brush Off Close To Home (WSJ)
When the county pension fund serving cities and towns including Pacific Investment Management Co.’s headquarters of Newport Beach, Calif., met in November to decide how to put $100 million in new funds to work in the bond market, members of the investment committee made a surprising decision: They chose Swiss fund-management firm GAM Holding AG. The choice by the $11 billion Orange County Employees Retirement System shows how smaller fund managers are benefiting from Pimco’s loosening grip on the bond business, said GAM portfolio manager Jack Flaherty. The pension system regularly invests with other asset managers, but Pimco was its largest bond manager in November, public documents show…Until recently, GAM never considered going after customers in Pimco’s backyard, Mr. Flaherty said. But now, the Swiss asset-management firm is using turmoil at Pimco to get in the door with major potential customers.

Lehman Europe creditors in line for extra $8 billion payday (Reuters)
Hedge funds, asset managers and other creditors of Lehman Brothers’ European arm will next month be fully paid out from money recovered from the carcass of the bank and could get an extra 5 billion pounds ($8.4 billion). PwC, the administrator of Lehman Brothers International Europe (LBIE), is paying a fourth dividend of 7.8 pence in the pound to unsecured creditors on April 30, which will lift payouts to 100 percent after three bigger dividends in the past 15 months. PwC estimated another 5 billion pounds of surplus cash could be paid to creditors, but any extra cash cannot be paid until there is agreement on how it is shared.

Moelis IPO Filing Shows Rise of Small Advisers (WSJ)
The planned filing—and indeed Mr. Moelis’s founding of the firm seven years ago—represent a bet that big corporate clients will continue handing more lucrative M&A assignments to firms such as Moelis that have a narrower focus than their larger Wall Street peers and are perceived to be freer of potential conflicts of interest. Last year, 80% of the 10 largest M&A deals had independent advisers, up from 30% just 10 years earlier, the filing said. In Tuesday’s filing, Moelis said it has advised on more than $1 trillion of deals, including three of the 10 biggest announced global mergers in 2013. They include H.J. Heinz Co.’s $23 billion takeover by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital, and the $35.1 billion pending merger of Omnicom Group Inc. and France’s Publicis Groupe SA…Helping encourage Moelis to move on the share sale now, according to people familiar with the firm’s planning: Shares of other small investment banks that already are public have gained sharply over the past year. Evercore Partners Inc. shares, for example, have risen 38% in the past year.

Red Flags Amid Citi Losses (WSJ)
Oceanografía SA, the Mexican oil-services firm that Citigroup Inc. alleges is responsible for duping the bank out of $400 million, was well known in energy and investor circles as being behind on its bills despite a steady stream of contracts with state oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos. Operating out of this oil town on the Gulf of Mexico, Oceanografía had a history of late payments to bondholders, suppliers and even employees, according to workers, investors and legal filings. Investors say Oceanografía frequently leaned on its 30-day grace period to pay bond coupons late. “The traditional emerging market investor didn’t have the best image of the company,” said Jim Harper, director of corporate research at BCP Securities in Greenwich, Conn. Workers claiming they haven’t been paid have been protesting sporadically for more than a year outside the company’s headquarters, but the protests intensified in recent weeks. In a September bond prospectus, Oceanografía said it faced 352 labor disputes, which it estimated would cost less than $3 million to settle.

Prized Corvettes rescued after falling into massive sinkhole (AP)
Two classic Corvettes re-emerged Monday from a giant sinkhole that gobbled up those and six other prized vehicles still trapped beneath the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky. Workers in a cage painstakingly hooked straps around the cars before a crane slowly hoisted them one by one from the enormous pit that opened up last month. Onlookers cheered after each car was rescued, but the joy was more subdued for the second car, which had more extensive damage. The first car hoisted out — a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil — showed only minor damage that included cracks on lower door panels, a busted window and an oil line rupture that oozed oil, said Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran. Workers were able to get that car running. Cheers went up as the engine revved at the Bowling Green museum. “It sounded awesome, just like before,” said museum executive director Wendell Strode. Doran said the car was in “remarkably good shape. You could have that car back on the road in a couple of days.” Not so for the other car retrieved Monday, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette. The body panels and window glass need replacing, but the vehicle is salvageable, Doran added.

Goldman Tops M&A Advisers After Blockbusters (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs topped Bloomberg Markets’ annual ranking of M&A advisers in 2013 with an estimated $1.23 billion in fees, the magazine will report in its April issue. Bloomberg changed its methodology in calculating fees to reflect deals that were completed last year, rather than those that were announced.

SEC stays mum on possible Herbalife probe (NYP)
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White told Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that she can’t say anything about any investigation the regulator may — or may not — have under way regarding Herbalife. “The Commission generally neither confirms nor denies the existence of an inquiry or investigation unless and until made a matter of public record in proceedings instituted before the Commission or in court,” White wrote in a letter to Markey, adding that “We appreciate your letter and the concerns you raised.” “I can assure you that we are giving your concerns every consideration,” she added. The SEC’s response came days after the Feb. 28 deadline Markey gave it and the Federal Trade Commission to respond to his request that they investigate the nutritional supplements company that critics say is a pyramid scheme. Herbalife, which denies it is a pyramid scheme, previously disclosed that it was subject to an SEC inquiry about its business practices.

New Apple CFO seen as ‘shareholder-friendly’ (NYP)
“I don’t think we will have battles like we’ve had over the last couple of years,” Brian White, an analyst with Cantor Fitzgerald, predicted of Maestri as CFO. “He has a reputation for being shareholder-friendly.” On Tuesday, Apple said longtime CFO Peter Oppenheimer will retire in September to spend more time with his family and to get his pilot’s license. Oppenheimer has been with Apple since 1996 and has been the CFO for 10 years. Maestri, who came to Apple from Xerox last year, will fill Oppenheimer’s shoes starting in June, Apple said.

Lack of Clarity Could Hurt Puerto Rico Bond Sale (WSJ)
Puerto Rico’s governor on Tuesday signed legislation that authorized selling up to $3.5 billion in debt in the coming days, capping months of recent efforts by the island commonwealth to sell itself as a good investment to bond buyers. Even so, the island’s government still lags behind some other large municipalities in providing details about its financial health. Investors and analysts say these spotty communication skills have cost the island by stoking bond market fears about Puerto Rico’s ability to pay back debt, amplifying price swings in its bonds.

N.J. judge denies teen honor student’s request for emergency funds in suit against parents (NYDN)
A judge Tuesday ruled against New Jersey teen Rachel Canning, who sued her parents for expenses and education tuition after she says they tossed her out of their Lincoln Park home last year. Morristown Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard appears to have agreed with an independent investigators’ assessment of the home atmosphere: that the high school cheerleader and lacrosse player is “spoiled.” “Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?” Bogaard asked when denying an emergency order that would have entitled the teen to $650 a week in child support and would have required the parents to pay for the girl’s private school tuition…Mom and dad may have to foot the bill for college costs – for which they say they have a fund set aside – if the judge rules they left her out in the cold once she turned 18 on Nov. 1. The parents say their rebellious daughter refused to drop a dud of a boyfriend and failed to follow simple house rules such as doing chores and making curfew. She willingly left the home, they contend…Rachel Canning has lived in the Rockaway, N.J. home of classmate Jaime Inglesino. Inglesino’s father, John Inglesino, has foot the bill for the girl’s lawyer fees, more than $12,000 thus far.

39 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (39)

  1. Posted by Just Sayin' | March 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    $12,000 can buy you lots of hooker time in NJ.

  2. Posted by Confused | March 5, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    $12k out the door for some toothy sloppy toppy…

    -Guy who is struggling to justify why else this chick is worth so much to him

  3. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Tricks are worth billions and billions of dollars.”

    Silly rabbit.

  4. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    This is the same Orange County which went bankrupt after consulting an astrologer on which derivatives to buy.

    – Guy who is sad that he is old enough to remember this.

  5. Posted by SMU Secure | March 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Stay classy New Jersey. We raise our children right.

  6. Posted by Father time | March 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    The real sorrow comes when you are too old to remember.

  7. Posted by KingCo | March 5, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    By "right" do you mean meth-addled and toothless or elaborately coiffed and morbidly obese?

    I suppose it depends on which part of Texas.

  8. Posted by Hook em | March 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Not all of Texas is like Texas. Austin is probably the nicest city in the US.

  9. Posted by NJ Secure | March 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Now you're starting a beef with Jersey? Don't bite off more than you can chew, shitkicker.

  10. Posted by Ted E. | March 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Gonorrhea is probably the nicest of the VDs

  11. Posted by NonVerbalCueXpert | March 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    The tache screams, "trust me!" The eyes upward to the left say, "I'm telling the truth."

  12. Posted by middling | March 5, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    It's probably OK, and not really a city in the larger sense.

    University towns are very pleasant, but state capitals tend towards the dull.

    I would chose Dallas if I were living in Texas.

  13. Posted by Beacon Hill Secure | March 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    By "right" you mean your spoiled and unmotivated daughters only getting into SMU or UT-Austin because of your donor level and/or alum connections, i.e., not grades and test scores? And since they have no real employment prospects, they're desperate and conniving college students as they hunt for a fraternity boy to "put a ring on it"?

    -Guy with family in Texas who finds the whole ethos there unsettling

  14. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Didn't you guys just have a kid who killed four people while driving fucked up but got off with an 'affluenza' defense?

    – guy who's upset he's finally responded to an SMU post but who also thinks SMU has contemplated the affluenza defense for his upcoming stat rape charge

  15. Posted by WTF | March 5, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Stop overusing the guy thing.

    You are rruining its useage.

  16. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    My analysis yesterday of the high school slam was 100pc accurate. On campus drunk. Suspended from school. Lost captain title on the cheer squad. Subpar spoon skills. Banging a loser — who is absolutely not pulling out. And a loser that absolutely supplies the molly and coke. (Can't confirm, but he probably drives an Audi A4.) Now expects her parents to pay forty racks a year for her to become a frat house rat (best case). Worst case: Mr Canning doing a Michael Douglas in Traffic impression this summer, as he tracks down his daughter in some Newark crack den.

    What I can't figure out is why the cop Dad didn't send some goons over the rough up the clown boy who wouldn't leave his princess alone?

    -Guy who saw a couple seasons of The Wire and assumes all cops have street goon connections at their disposal

  17. Posted by UFO | March 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Yeah but do you really want to touch a Jersey hooker??

    – guy from Jersey

  18. Posted by segoviacobain | March 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Sadly, I won't be pulling that '67 L79 Roadster out of my ex's rectum any time soon. Ahhh, good times.

  19. Posted by Xenomorph | March 5, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Yeah mofo, we'll cause a traffic jam

    – NOT J. Gotti

  20. Posted by Guy | March 5, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    F-ck you.

  21. Posted by UFO | March 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    The libertarian's wet dream sounds an awfu lot like the shit holes in the Midde East we periodically ass rape with our military.

    – guy who really doesn't like Texas. Or Texans.

  22. Posted by UFO | March 5, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    No no no, I'm going to rape SMU, is there an equivalent fictional disease for people who can't tolerate bullshit?

  23. Posted by Laxdad | March 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Don't hate on STD's until you've tried them. They do wonders to increase sensitivity.

  24. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Anyone else find it disturbing that even the most slightly amusing story can be picked up by national media and find itself on every blog on the internet in a matter of days, leaving the story's subjects with their name permanently recorded online for prospective employers, universities and everyone else to see? And if there's video footage, forget about it – you're done.

  25. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Selective memories must be big in Texas

  26. Posted by .Bo.Bo | March 5, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Marty would have just beat the kid's ass himself.

  27. Posted by Capt. Obvious | March 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM


  28. Posted by Ted E. | March 5, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    The dog says, "I wouldn't take a dump in that bird's nest."

  29. Posted by P&L bitch.. | March 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Prob is this is the first thing you've got right since a lunch order in September.

    Good to know your teen girl insight is so keen

  30. Posted by Ameriprise HR | March 5, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Legend Securities will always needs stockbrokers son.

  31. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    "Good to know your teen girl insight is so keen"

    It's a gift.

  32. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | March 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    They have oxycontin for that little regret.

  33. Posted by guest | March 5, 2014 at 1:03 PM


    -guy who likes guys

  34. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Winklevoss twins headed for space. Figured this is news good enough to share

  35. Posted by Guest | March 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    William H. Macy always looks good in that photo

  36. Posted by ForReal | March 5, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Austin owns Dallas , just like Corky owned Fred Savage

  37. Posted by ForReal | March 5, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    how is that different from anywhere else?

  38. Posted by ForReal | March 5, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Thanks for sharing, its likely noone else here keeps google alerts on Winklevoss

  39. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | March 6, 2014 at 4:33 AM

    The only time I hear "ethos" in the trading room is when the Waha/Ship basis trader is looking at some chicken wings the Transco guy has left on his paper plate and the Waha/Ship guy asks, "Hey. You going to ethos?"