Opening Bell: 05.29.14

Ackman Plans Public Hedge Fund (Dealbook)
While hedge funds typically raise funds privately, the founder of the $13 billion Pershing Square Capital Management is planning to tap the public stock market. Mr. Ackman is aiming to raise billions of dollars for a closed-end fund that could list on the London Stock Exchange as soon as this summer, according to three people briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it. Mr. Ackman, 48, was in London in late April to drum up support among European investors for the fund, according to two of the three people who were briefed.

Snapchat CEO ‘Mortified’ by Leaked Stanford Frat E-Mails (Bloomberg)
Snapchat Inc. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel apologized for e-mails he sent during his fraternity days that celebrated getting drunk and convincing sorority women to perform sexual acts. The profanity-laced e-mails were published Wednesday by Gawker Media LLC’s Valleywag blog and mostly related to Spiegel organizing Stanford University fraternity parties for Kappa Sigma in 2009 and 2010. In one missive, Spiegel recounts being so drunk he peed on a woman in bed with him. “I’m obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic e-mails during my fraternity days were made public,” Spiegel said in an e-mailed statement. “I have no excuse. I’m sorry I wrote them at the time and I was jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women.”

Goldman blames economy for trading slide (FT)
Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, blamed the world economy rather than regulation for sharp declines in trading volumes at his bank and across Wall Street, but said “we’re not just waiting for things to get better”. In remarks to a Sanford Bernstein conference on Wednesday, Mr Cohn said regulation and fiscal and monetary policy played a role in the slide in overall fixed income volumes this year. He added: “We firmly believe that economic fundamentals more than any other factors are responsible for the current operating environment.” But Mr Cohn also sought to combat the perception that Goldman executives were sitting around waiting for an upturn. Headcount in fixed income trading, the misfiring engine of investment bank profits, has been reduced by 10 per cent since 2010, he said, while risk-weighted assets in fixed income, currencies and commodities had dropped by $90bn since June 2012.

Rio Jilts World Cup as $11 Billion Bill Sours Brazil (Bloomberg)
Almost every one of the 12 stadiums being built or remodeled for the event has cost more than anticipated and several promised urban mobility projects have either been scrapped or delayed. During the Confederations Cup, a warm-up event held last year, more than a million people took to the streets in the biggest protests in a generation. They demanded schools and hospitals reach the same standards as stadiums being created to meet soccer governing body FIFA’s criteria. “Tourists: Don’t get sick. We have stadiums but we don’t have hospitals,” reads graffiti across the street from the Pedro Ernesto hospital just 800 meters (2,600 feet) from from the Maracana stadium.

Ziffs Shut Down Hedge Fund, Shift Way Wealth Is Managed (WSJ)
The billionaire Ziff brothers are shutting down the last multibillion-dollar hedge fund that invests their family fortune, one of the biggest such pots of money in the U.S. The three brothers, heirs to the wealth created by their grandfather’s magazine-publishing empire, are shutting the second of their two hedge funds and stepping away from the one-for-all, all-for-one investing style they followed for more than two decades, according to people familiar with their plans. Dirk, Robert and Daniel Ziff, ages 50, 47 and 42 years old, respectively, are closing their London-based hedge fund after its veteran portfolio manager, David Fear, decided to strike out on his own, the people said.

Apollo Uses Wedge Maneuver to Save Caesars (WSJ)
In its efforts to salvage the $1.7 billion-plus it has invested in Caesars Entertainment Corp., Apollo Global Management is employing a tactic often used by the Roman emperor of the same name: divide and conquer. Turf wars between owners and creditors often flare up over financially troubled firms, but in this case Apollo co-founder Marc Rowan and his team are aligning with some funds that have bought into Caesars’s roughly $23 billion of debt and is clashing with others. Some creditors snapped up Caesars debt at discount prices and hope to take away control of the casino company from Apollo if Caesars files for bankruptcy protection.

Molly Schuyler downs two 72oz steak meals in under 15 minutes (TDC)
A mother of four and competitive eater consumed a 72oz steak and all the sides — twice in under 15 minutes. According to The Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant in Amarillo, Texas, Molly Schuyler, of Bellevue, Nebraska, ate the first meal in under five minutes and the second in just under 10. Schuyler, who was listed as being 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 125 pounds at an eating contest in January, said she rushed to consume the first medium-rare steak and its sides, which including a baked potato, shrimp, a salad and a bread roll, but slowed down on the second meal, the Amarillo Globe News reported. “We witnessed history,” Big Texan co-owner Danny Lee told reporters. “If there’s a zombie apocalypse, I want to stay away from this girl.” The previous record was held by competitive eater Joey Chestnut. Schuyler told the newspaper that she plans to return to the Big Texan with the goal of eating three of the steak dinners in one sitting.

Judge denies Wells Fargo’s bid to dismiss L.A. predatory lending suit (Reuters)
In the lawsuit, Los Angeles said the bank had engaged in discriminatory lending practices since at least 2004 by making loans to minority borrowers that they could not afford, resulting in a disproportionate rise in the number of foreclosures. In the complaint filed by the city against Wells Fargo, former employees of the San Francisco-based bank described how the predatory loans were specifically marketed to minorities and minority communities in the city.

Santander Bank to Face Suit Claiming Bias in Mortgages (NYT)
On Thursday, the city of Providence plans to file suit against Santander Bank, claiming that the bank has deliberately bowed out of mortgage lending in predominantly minority neighborhoods. The case revives concerns about “redlining,” or the refusal to lend in certain areas, that had all but died out during the easy money days before the housing market crashed.

Women Courted With Cakes as Japan Seeks Stock Buyers (Bloomberg)
When Chiho Higo started teaching stock trading at a Tokyo night school in 2008, there were often no female attendees. Now there are 50. One mother said she bought shares in a toymaker instead of toys for her child. “If there was a woman, she usually looked like she’d wound up there by accident,” Higo, a 36-year-old lecturer, said in an interview in her classroom at Tokyo’s Financial Academy. “Now in some lessons, it’s like a girls’ night out.” That’s welcome news to Japanese institutions that have struggled to entice women to stocks, no easy task in a market that has returned 1 percent a year for three decades. Now, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hoping share appreciation will help revive the economy and the Topix index coming off its best annual rally since 1999, the Tokyo exchange and its members are pushing everything from gifts to free cake to spread the gospel.

China’s millionaire machine slows (CNBC)
China’s millionaire population grew 3.6 percent last year, adding 100,000 millionaires and bringing its total millionaire count to 2.9 million, according a new report by the Chinese wealth website Hurun. The growth rate marks a sudden slowdown from the double-digit millionaire growth in China in recent years.

World Cup 2014: Stephen Hawking calculates England’s odds of success (Telegraph)
Hawking claims the English sportsmen will need a temperate climate as an increase of just 5C could reduce their chances of winning by a massive 59 per cent while the team are twice as likely to be successful on pitches at altitudes of less than 500m. England’s chance of victory increases by a third when starting at 3pm local time and by a fifth if they wear red shirts, which psychologists in German found made teams feel more confident and appear more aggressive to their opponents, the Cambridge-based scientist claimed. He also revealed that a 4-3-3 formation was more successful for England than 4-4-2. The long haul flight to Brazil could damage the team’s chances by as much as 22 per cent, found Prof Hawking. Finally, England supporters must hope for a European referee, under which the nation has won 63 per cent of its games compared to 38 per cent when the referee is from elsewhere. “European referees are more sympathetic to the English game and less sympathetic to ballerinas like Suarez,” said Prof Hawking yesterday (Wednesday) as he unveiled his research, which was commissioned by betting firm Paddy Power. “Contrary to tabloid opinion, the presence of Wags is irrelevant.” [...] Prof Hawking also addressed England’s penalty chances telling the audience: “As we say in science, England ‘couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo’.”

25 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (25)

  1. Posted by InfiniteGuest | May 29, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    I mean, you could get a good look at a T-Bone by sticking your head up Molly's ass, but wouldn't you rather just use a banjo?

  2. Posted by guest | May 29, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Every dick head with a calculator thinks they can figure out WC winners and losers these days

  3. Posted by FatGuySkinnyTie | May 29, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    I'm trying to think whether I am happier where I am now in my life but with all the stuff from the ole glory days firmly locked up in my brain and some very close friends' brains.

    Or if I'd rather have all the money in the world and everyone knowing what I did to Elise while she was drooling chunks on herself. Inter alia.

  4. Posted by HotKarl | May 29, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Peed on a chick while she was in bed? That's fucking child's play….glass-bottom-boat some bitches and then we can talk.

    - J Gundlach

  5. Posted by gest | May 29, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    What up, DIRRRRK???

  6. Posted by Guests | May 29, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Hey Spiegel, meet me at Minetta's. Punch me in the face and then pee on me so I know its you.

    B Pitt

  7. Posted by J Shazar Sr | May 29, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Who hasn't peed on a chick before. How do you think Shaz was born?

  8. Posted by Eugene Fama | May 29, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Yup, same with the stock market.

    - efficient-market hypothesis

  9. Posted by Squeaky the Mouse | May 29, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    A service that encourages posting pics of irresponsible behavior has a CEO who was a degenerate frat brother?

    Shocker.

  10. Posted by Kal Vilmer | May 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Worst comment in the history of the World Cup.

  11. Posted by Guest | May 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    I'd be more concerned if it didn't.

  12. Posted by SMU Secure | May 29, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    The Gowanus is truly a national treasure. Stay beautiful NYC.

  13. Posted by Winner Winner | May 29, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I think you are the first person in history to call Steven Hawking a dick head.

  14. Posted by SalesGuy | May 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Evan Spiegel should take a page out of Johnny Manziel's playbook and tell the media to piss off. It's remarkable how people don't stand up for themselves when the media exercises their journalistic excellence in prying into said person's life.

  15. Posted by Shakesbeer | May 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Setting: Kappa Sig House
    Time: 1:32pm

    Frat Bro 1: (wakes up, checks phone) "Bro! F*ck! Haha! I totally sent a d*ck pic out to like 6 chicks last night! Oh sh*t! My mom too!

    Frat Bro 2: (high fives FB1) "Bro! Haha! That is EPIC! Can't take that back! Those things don't just disappear, bro!"

    Frat Bro 3: But….what if they did….

    End Scene

  16. Posted by Rahodeb | May 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    I think my favorite part is that his dad refers to him as Shaz.

  17. Posted by Turnip Truck | May 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    I think he's more into pissing on.

  18. Posted by Guest | May 29, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    How about Steven Cohen?

  19. Posted by Tinder | May 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Here's a little tip: Never swipe right on a girl who is stuffing a record setting amount of deviled eggs down her gullet unless you're willing to pay for not 1, but 2, 72oz steaks on your first date. FYI- the sex was nothing to write home about.

  20. Posted by Captain STFU | May 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    It must be great to be one of the Ziffs or any other trust fund asshole. The only thing you ever had to do was be shot out of the right guys dick after a few too many Louis tre's and whammo!! Set for life.

  21. Posted by guest | May 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    You want to go through your life (and you only get one, fyi) managing and spending a fortune made two generations back? No thanks.

  22. Posted by Puck It | May 29, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I don't need a calculator to know it's going to be Brazil's year.

  23. Posted by Guest | May 29, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Uh… yes.

  24. Posted by Guest | May 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Day One of Zombie Apocalyse: we finished eating the trust fund assholes that went through their lifes managing and spending a fortune made two generations back. Taste was horsey but without the oomph that allows you to win Derbys.

    Day Two of Zombie Apocalypse: we proceeded munching on the horses. Half of us died after going down on the Noel sisters. The other half died at the Kerry ranch from exposure to botox. I am now the only survivor.

  25. Posted by guest | May 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    excellent