Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 06.24.14

Allergan Rejects Latest Offer from Valeant (WSJ)
Allergan again rebuffed advances from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., saying Monday that its board has unanimously determined that the unsolicited exchange offer to acquire all of the Botox maker’s shares outstanding is “grossly inadequate.” Allergan said its board strongly recommends that Allergan shareholders not tender any Allergan shares to Valeant, adding that the offer substantially undervalues the company, creates significant risks and uncertainties for Allergan shareholders, and isn’t in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. A representative for Valeant said Allergan’s rejection of the proposal is based on assumptions about the business that aren’t supported by the facts. Pershing Square didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dean Foods Subpoenaed in Icahn Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
Federal authorities have sought information from two companies in connection with an insider-trading investigation of activist investor Carl Icahn, sports bettor William T. Walters, and golfer Phil Mickelson, according to people familiar with the matter. Dean Foods Co. in recent weeks received a subpoena from criminal authorities ordering the company to produce information, said a person familiar with the matter. Clorox Co. and Mr. Icahn received requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011 related to trading in the company’s shares, according to a person familiar with the matter. Neither of those developments has been previously reported. In the case of Dean Foods, authorities are probing whether Mr. Walters provided stock tips to Mr. Mickelson, said people familiar with the matter. In the case of Clorox, investigators are looking into whether Mr. Icahn tipped Mr. Walters about his actions involving Clorox, the people said.

Ex-Millennium Fund Manager Gets Four Years in Prison (Bloomberg)
Former Millennium Global Investments portfolio manager Michael Balboa was sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding investors by inflating the value of Nigerian sovereign debt by $80 million. Balboa, convicted in December in a retrial in Manhattan federal court, had faced a possible life sentence because of the size of his fraud. The U.S. said investors lost more than $390 million based on Balboa’s misstatements…Balboa, a London-based investment manager, was convicted of providing fake valuations to inflate month-end market prices on Nigerian warrants. The scheme generated millions of dollars in management and performance fees for which he earned as much as $6.5 million, prosecutors said.

American Apparel: Charney’s Bad Behavior Was Very, Very Expensive (BusinessWeek)
Dov Charney’s behavior has never been a secret. For starters, as the chief executive of American Apparel (APP), he occasionally walked around the Los Angeles headquarters in his underwear. He was open about his libertine attitudes toward sex in general and sex in the workplace in particular, at one point “putting on a show” for a journalist on assignment for Jane magazine. So when Charney was fired last week “for cause,” it was reasonable to wonder “why now?” In his termination letter, posted on BuzzFeed yesterday, the board accuses him of sexually harassing employees, paying off some of them with “significant” severance packages, and refusing to participate in sexual harassment training…It is true that Charney’s antics are not new, but apparently they have grown unacceptably expensive. The [termination] letter to Charney eventually comes around to this point: “Your conduct has required the Company to incur significant and unwarranted expenses, including expenses associated with litigation and defense costs, significant settlement payments, substantial severance packages that were granted to employees, and unwarranted business expenses that you incurred for personal reasons. The Company’s employment practices liability insurance retention has grown to $1 million from $350,000. … The resources American Apparel had to dedicate to defend the numerous lawsuits resulting from your conduct, and the loss of critical, qualified Company employees as a result of your misconduct cannot be overlooked.”

How Marissa Mayer Fell Asleep and Kept Ad Executives Waiting For Hours (CMO Today)
Last Tuesday evening, Interpublic Group arranged a private dinner at the swanky L’Oasis for Ms. Mayer to meet executives from marketers such as Mondelez International , brewer MillerCoors and Greek yogurt maker Chobani. It was supposed to be a chance for Interpublic and some of its clients to get a first hand update from Ms. Mayer on what Yahoo has to offer. But Ms. Mayer was nearly two hours late, and several dinner attendees including IPG Chief Executive Michael Roth ended up leaving before she arrived, people familiar with the matter said. Ms. Mayer told some attendees that she had fallen asleep, some of the people said.

Crash captain left helm for ‘drunken 3-way sex romp’ (NYP)
Craig Gallo…was busy messing around with a pal and a woman they’d just met when his 28-foot Wellcraft boat crashed early Sunday into runway approach lights at La Guardia Airport, sources told The Post. Gallo later admitted to cops that he’d been drinking and was involved in a boating accident, prosecutors said.“I was driving, I had a few beers,” Gallo told cops, who noticed he reeked of booze. Gallo, who was arrested in 1999 for urinating in public, refused a Breathalyzer test…The boat captain and friend James Benenato, 60, were boozing it up from 9 pm to 11:30 pm at a tiki party at the Arrow Yacht Club in College Point, when they picked up Mary Ann Belson, sources said. Gallo docks his 1981 fishing boat at Skyline Marina next door. The crash happened at 11:47 pm, cops said. Both Gallo and Belson, 60, suffered facial injuries in the crash, while Benenato, 60, was not hurt. Photos taken after the crash showed a dozen or so Budweiser beer cans overflowing a bucket and strewn about the deck and cabin, with sheets and clothing strewn about the ship’s cramped cabin.

MBIA says Credit Suisse hid crucial documents in U.S. mortgage case (Reuters)
Credit Suisse Group AG has withheld many key documents from MBIA Inc in a lawsuit accusing the Swiss bank of lying about how it processed loans used in mortgage-backed securities, and it should be ordered to review whether it has more evidence suggesting misconduct, the bond insurer said. In a filing in New York state court on Monday, MBIA objected to what it called Credit Suisse’s failure to turn over “some of the hottest documents” in the 4-1/2-year-old lawsuit, on the ground that they were “non-responsive.” MBIA, based in Armonk, New York, said it learned of the documents only in the last few months, after a court told Credit Suisse to turn over deposition transcripts from other U.S. cases involving similar claims.

Lew Defends Council’s Work to Guard Against Financial Risk (Bloomberg)
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew pushed back against Republican efforts to curtail the work of a council of regulators charged with preventing another financial crisis and said a failure to examine potential risks could lead to “large-scale problems.” “If we avoid or are discouraged from asking questions” altogether, “our financial system will be more exposed to unseen risks, potentially leading to large-scale problems,” Lew said in testimony prepared for a hearing tomorrow before the House Committee on Financial Services. Lew also said regulators should take further action to reduce vulnerabilities in wholesale funding markets, including money market-mutual funds and triparty repurchase agreements, “that can lead to destabilizing fire sales” of assets.

Officials at Ex-Im Bank Face Investigations (WSJ)
One employee, Johnny Gutierrez, an official in the short-term trade finance division, allegedly accepted cash payments in exchange for trying to help a Florida company obtain U.S. government financing to export construction equipment to Latin America, according to a person familiar with the inquiry. Mr. Gutierrez was escorted from the Ex-Im Bank building in April, said two people familiar with the matter.

Trophy Art Brings Top Prices at Sotheby’s (WSJ)
In 2010, Christie’s offered up Claude Monet’s 1906 “Water Lilies” for at least £30 million ($51 million at current exchange rates) and no one nibbled. On Monday, Sotheby’s brought the same painting up for sale and at least three bidders dueled for it. An American telephone bidder ultimately won it for £31.7 million, or $54 million. That price amounts to the second-highest ever paid at auction for a Monet, whose purple-blue pond scene ranks among his later works set at his French garden in Giverny.

Woman breaks into house, samples wine, pajamas (NYDN)
A real-life Goldilocks is accused of breaking, entering and making herself at home in a Florida house Friday night, according to a report. But while a shower and a soft couch in an empty St. Augustine Beach home might have seemed just right to 19-year old Chancy Layton, her trespass was an unpleasant surprise for the homeowners. The owners returned home early Saturday and told a local news station that they were stunned to find Layton asleep on their couch, wearing stolen pajamas and surrounded by bottles of their wine…The nursery rhyme scenario ended with charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief for the blonde suspect, who left her purse and passport behind when she fled the scene, according to the arrest report. Police caught up with Layton a block away from the house, where she expressed remorse and wanted to return the pajamas she’d taken. Layton told police that a male friend had broken into the house earlier and told her it was empty. Her friend, whom she knew only as “Jeremy,” left the balcony door open for Layton to enter, she told police.

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35 Responses to “Opening Bell: 06.24.14”

  1. Guest says:

    Marissa Mayer is a rutard that got promoted because she used to sit on red balls.

  2. FatGuySkinnyTie says:

    "Avoid Bankrupting Your Family and Destroying Their Future With These Simple Tips on Life Insurance"

    Jesus fuck guys, this ad situation is getting out of hand.

    • Quant me maybe... says:

      Not to be critical of Bess Levin and Jon Shazar's work, but Breaking Media needs to do an overhaul of this site. The numbers just don't lie — I looked at quantcast (they track visitors to web sites) and the numbers look kind of scary. Picking a random day in the first week of June for the past 3 years:
      June 2012 — about 21,000 different people visited the site during a single day.
      June 2013 — about 17,000 different people visited the site during a single day.
      June 2014 – about 11,000 people visited the site during a single day — that's like about half that number of people that would visit just 2 years earlier.

      I don't know what needs to be done to refresh the site — maybe more content but focusing on different segments of the banking/investment world? I don't know, but I really like this site and don't want to see it continue to fade.

      >Loyal Dealbreaker reader since 2009.

      • ThatsWacc says:

        Bess just needs to shoot me an email. I can improve this site's traffic with this one WEIRD TRICK, digital marketers hate me.

        – Guy who is upset he had to scroll past a billion ads to get to the comments

        • Texashedge says:

          What grinds my gears is that I used to be able to page down to the comments, and now I have to scroll slowly so that I can click with my mouse–my fucking mouse–on the hidden comments button.
          I ain't got time for that!
          I know that you millennials love your touch screens and your mice or your mice proxies, but for me, that's a bunch of bullshit.
          There's also a lot of white space on the side–maybe fill that up a bit before you make me scroll?
          /reader since 2006

      • FatGuySkinnyTie says:

        Completely agree, I love this blog, but I can't help feeling like it has lost the plot a little. Bess has such a unique voice, and when she's on fire there are very few writers out there that come close to her sharp wit and subtle sarcasm.

        Part of me feels guilty for the general assholishness towards Shazar, but at the same time the level is just not there. He also suffers from the shadow cast by a guy who now shares a desk with El-Erian and Michael Lewis, and is better than both put together.

        I have faith. I think all it takes is one great new contributor and we're back up and running.

        • Quant me maybe... says:

          Speaking of Levine — you know he did an interview on Planet Money (npr thing)? He has a deep, resonant voice and I think he would have a bright future as the new voiceover guy for action movies and monster truck rallies!

          > I can just see him narrating the epic Blankfein vs Dimon bowling match….. "Here goes Lloyd … Will his ball follow the 10 year yield curve back to the gutter of zero percent returns or will his ball hold true to this year's flat s&p performance for a strike?"

          • FatGuySkinnyTie says:

            I think maybe when things are in ultrabull market mode, yields are at 0 and market participants are just glancing at eachother and shrugging their shoulders, financial news is intrinsically less interesting. That's gotta be a factor.

            Occasionally I re-read The Collapse of Lehman and Ensuing Shitshow as narrated by Dealbreaker, and it's some pretty fucking stellar stuff. I don't know. Maybe I'm nostalgic, but I feel like we've moved away from the front lines.

      • BessBoneWild says:

        Maybe transform this blog into a porn site?

      • Guest says:

        Bring back Anal_yst's insightful commentary.

      • Guest says:

        And I wonder how many of these 'different people' are the same guy just using proxies to vote himself up.

      • Nailz6 says:

        I really do think the post-Levine era has hurt. I'm also not seeing as many of the high value commenters that I (had) grown accustomed to.

        – Guy who's visiting DB frequently now that he's back at a boring job

        • purist says:

          please. the people who comment on levine's articles are bloomberg are all other "kill the bankers" or brocaine_brandy, who needs to get a fucking life.

      • guest says:

        Loyal reader for at least 5 years, but increasingly baffled by the coverage choices. I see articles in the mainstream press about banks, hedge funds and private equity firms (or their principals) doing incredibly stupid stuff – business and personal – that would be perfect for a DB takedown, and instead I log in to see the 10th installment of the bitcoin bugle (comments: zero, just like the last 9 installments). Banks giving terrible advice to their clients, hedge funds making idiotic trades, private equity firms running portfolio companies into bankruptcy. Happens all the time, and DB mostly silent.
        Oh, and sorry bess, but I've had steve cohen fatigue for a while now.

      • Mr. Z Hedge says:

        It's positively correlated to the Fed's B/S and QE. Made a mockery of all markets and blogs. Perhaps we should just write about gold all day long. Oh wait…..

      • guest says:

        shrug. 1. quantcast numbers are notoriously way off. 2. it's the summer. check out levine's posts today– he has ONE comment on his morning round up. people are at the beach.

      • 5-3-8 says:

        It's cyclical with the job market. With most viewers logging in from home, the number of visitors will have an inverse relationship with the unemployment figure.

      • Just sayin' says:

        Might it have something to do with the fact that the good ole' days of Wall Street are over (again)?

  3. HotKarl says:

    Fucking underwear-wearing, fuck-stick CEOs are ruining the goddamn fashion business.

    – Geezer Fashion Buyer

  4. Mise en Place says:

    Dov Blarney is Ron Charney.

  5. Guest says:

    A 50/60 year olds tag team nailing some 60 year old chick they just met in Queens on a fishing boat overflowing with Bud Diesel? The American dream lives.

    • Quant me maybe... says:

      Don't read this — you will not be able to unsee the image.

      With all the fat and cellulite sloshing around on that boat, I'm surprised it didn't capsize.

      >You were warned.

  6. Guest says:

    Looking at the articles on ridiculous prices for art and breaking and entering, can someone do the world a favour and break into Steve Cohen's place and destroy his art collection.

    Guest who's not a fan of post-spatial shock art or whatever it's called.

    • guest says:

      Destroying at least one piece of Steve's "art" would result in a tidal wave of formaldehyde washing over the destroyer, so yeah, no.

  7. says:

    We want Greg. We want Greg. We want Greg!

  8. KingCo says:

    …convicted of "providing fake valuations to inflate month-end market prices on Nigerian warrants."

    Funny, I thought that was an actual job description for a position at the central bank in Abuja.

  9. Guest says:

    Maybe Mayers is pregnant again. Cut the little woman a break.

  10. Guest says:

    Seems an unfair judgment on Balboa. As per compliance, I'm sure he had at least 3 emails from 3 different Nigerian royalty with debt prices that would have confirmed the overvalued price.

  11. Guest says:

    That's one CEO that probably looks you in the eye when he walks around the office in his underpants.

  12. Guest says:

    What kind of person is 2 hours late for a meeting with executives from Chobani?

  13. analogyalgogenerator says:

    db:today's wall st as f* boom of 90's