Opening Bell: 04.09.14

Goldman Mulls Closing Dark Pool (WSJ)
Goldman Sachs s considering shutting down one of the world’s largest private stock-trading venues, according to people familiar with the matter. In conversations with market participants over the past several months, Goldman executives have broached the subject of closing its so-called dark-pool trading operation, known as Sigma X, the people said. Goldman executives are weighing whether the revenue that the firm generates from operating Sigma X is worth the risks that have been highlighted by a series of trading glitches and growing criticism of dark pools, the people said. No decision is imminent, and Goldman could keep the business, according to the people.

Sotheby’s comes out with defense in battle with Loeb (Reuters)
Sotheby’s (BID.N) on Tuesday published a 53-page slide deck in its defense against hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who has been trying to force his way onto the board of the auction house. Sotheby’s said Loeb, whose Third Point LLC is the biggest investor in the company with a 9.6 percent stake, and his nominees would add “no incremental, relevant skills, experience or expertise” to the company’s board, according to a regulatory filing. The auction house’s aggressive response comes after Loeb last week urged investors to support his board slate, arguing he and his fellow nominees would be better able to reinvigorate the company from within after years of poor governance.

Investors Brace for Weak Earnings Reports (WSJ)
Profits of S&P 500 companies are forecast to decline in the first quarter from a year ago, according to Wall Street estimates collected by data provider FactSet. If borne out, that would be only the second year-over-year decrease since the financial crisis.

FTC gives Facebook go-ahead on WhatsApp deal: source (NYP)
Facebook has gotten regulatory approval for its controversial acquisition of WhatsApp, a source close to the situation said. The Federal Trade Commission was close to hitting its deadline to approve the $19 billion deal or extend the merger review, sources close to the process said. Facebook announced Feb. 19 it was buying the mobile messaging service.

How Flappy Bird Is Ruffling Feathers in the Gaming Industry (Bloomberg)
“The mobile audience is humongous, and there are so many developers out there that now you begin to see a lot of experimentation,” said David Helgason, chief executive officer of Unity Technologies, which licenses tools for game developers. “Some games like Flappy Bird can be over in 10 seconds, while other games you see are much deeper. It’s that kind of risk-taking that makes it an exciting space to be in.”

Untaxed U.S. corporate profits held overseas top $2.1 trillion: study (Reuters)
Foreign profits held overseas by U.S. corporations to avoid taxes at home nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013 to top $2.1 trillion, said a private research firm’s report, prompting a call for reform by the Senate’s top tax law writer. “The new numbers … certainly highlight what is one of the key challenges for tax reform. I do think there need to be some reforms in this area,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden told reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Under U.S. law, corporations do not have to pay income tax on most of their overseas profits until they are brought into the United States. These earnings can be held offshore for years if they are classified as indefinitely invested abroad.

Syracuse surgeon slapped sedated patients, called them insulting names, feds say (Syracuse)
A doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center often slapped anesthetized patients on the buttocks and called them derogatory names before surgery, a government investigation alleges…The slapping and other inappropriate behavior by the surgeon went on for at least a year and the hospital did nothing about it until a complaint was filed with hospital administrators in December, the report says…That report says the surgeon would slap the buttocks or hips of some sedated patients before operating. Three staff members told investigators the doctor called patients names, such as “fat ___ ,” while slapping them hard. One staffer described seeing the doctor “almost wind up” to deliver the slap to a patient. Another said the slaps seemed to be done as a gesture to say “let’s get this procedure going.” The doctor said he slapped patients to test the adequacy of the spinal anesthetic, the report says. Eleven staff members interviewed told investigators they had never seen another doctor do this.

Bob Diamond hires former lieutenant for African venture (Telegraph)
John Vitalo, head of the Middle East and North Africa at Barclays, is set to join Atlas Mara, an investment fund co-founded by Mr Diamond focused on buying Africa-based financial services businesses, as its chief executive.

Barclays Said to Move More Singapore Staff to City From Suburbs (Bloomberg)
Barclays will terminate its lease on about 15,500 square feet (1,440 square meters) of office space at a building in Tampines, an eastern suburb, and relocate the employees to Marina Bay Financial Centre by July, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

La Quinta Said to Raise $650 Million in IPO of Blackstone Hotel (Bloomberg)
La Quinta Holdings Inc., the mid-priced hotel chain backed by Blackstone Group LP, raised $650 million in its U.S. initial share sale, pricing the shares below the marketed range. La Quinta, based in Irving, Texas, sold 38.25 million shares for $17 each, according to a person with knowledge of the sale who asked not to be identified because the process is private. The hotel chain had offered 37.2 million shares for $18 to $21 each. The offering roughly triples investors’ equity, the person said.

New York’s new superstar baker, Dominique Ansel, reopens after a brief shutdown (NYDN)
Cronut king Dominique Ansel isn’t letting a little mouse take a bite out of his rich success. After his SoHo bakery was shut down last week for “severe mouse infestation” the reigning “It” boy of American pastries returned Tuesday — and promptly likened himself to the ultimate screen underdog, Rocky Balboa. “Everything we do is looked at under a microscope,” Ansel told the Daily News as he showed off a “Rocky”-inspired version of his celebrated croissant-donut hybrid and greeted a long line of customers. “I grew up watching ‘Rocky,’ ” he said. After the Health Department closure, “I remembered him saying, ‘It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward … that’s how winning is done.” Ansel is back in the ring with his 24 employees, who worked overtime to fix and fortify the 2,500-square-foot shop to city standards. And his oven mitts are off, slamming bureaucratic foes and haters who always want the king to lose his culinary crown. “We were targeted,” he said after a brief video of a single scurrying mouse led to the closure last week. “No other bakery would’ve suffered as we did in a similar situation.” [...] for fans, no homemade hybrid will suffice — and an alleged mouse or two won’t keep them away. “I’d be scared if there weren’t any rodents because that means his food isn’t delicious,” says Joe Lim, 29, an engineer from Murray Hill, between bites of a “Rocky” Cronut. “I’d wait for it again and again.”

12 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (12)

  1. Posted by Shaz's beard | April 9, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    the reigning “It” boy of American (copy &) paste………Jon Shazar

  2. Posted by Bess | April 9, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    "I saw you finished the Opening Bell on time today. Keep up the good work Shazie babe" – *Slap*

  3. Posted by Doc Bess | April 9, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Here's a fuckin cronut you filthy animal.

  4. Posted by Flappy Shazzy | April 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Ergo, I am twice the man as this Flappy Bird

  5. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | April 9, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    RE: this shit….

    "Sotheby’s (BID.N) on Tuesday published a 53-page slide deck in its defense against hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who has been trying to force his way onto the board of the auction house."

    > You just gave Loeb an excellent opportunity to hand you your asses. Now he has something substantial to attack. Fucktards. Thanks for validating that not buying art from you has been an excellent move. And how about getting a gallery downtown so I don't have to hike all the way up the to 70's to go to the previews.

  6. Posted by Fappy Bird | April 9, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Fap fap fap fap

  7. Posted by Sothebys SVP | April 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Try a towncar you filthy animal. We don't..do, downtown.

  8. Posted by Guest | April 9, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    because you last 20 seconds?

  9. Posted by Guest | April 9, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Doctor reminds me of that Kayak commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqrTEQ_1h68

  10. Posted by popacock | April 9, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    My orgasim has left me discombobulated.

  11. Posted by C. Heston | April 9, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Cronuts are people.

  12. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | April 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    /taʊn/ /kɑr/

    Definition: Black car with a glass partition between front and rear seats driven by WOP Gentile from New Jersey or Long Island who overcharges because he thinks you are some stupid fuck from Greenwich or some other shit box Connecticut village where property taxes are way too high and the women are way too fat.

    >Sympathetic with SMU Secure, for once.