Opening Bell: 08.19.14

Bidding War Breaks Out to Dominate Dollar Stores (WSJ)
Dollar General Corp, the biggest dollar-store chain in the U.S., on Monday offered to pay $9 billion in cash for the second-biggest, Family Dollar Stores Inc., the latest in a wave of retail mergers that comes as companies struggle with weak traffic and a glut of stores. The offer is an attempt to elbow out the smallest of the three rivals, Dollar Tree Inc., which signed an agreement to acquire Family Dollar three weeks ago. Family Dollar’s board said on Monday that it would review the new $78.50-a-share offer, but continued to recommend shareholders vote for its $74.50-a-share deal with Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree declined to comment. Family Dollar’s stock closed above either price at $79.81, suggesting investors expect the bids to go higher.

Louis Bacon’s Bahamas battle reaches New York court (FT)
A battle over Clifton Bay, a postcard-perfect patch of turquoise waters off the western coast of the Bahamas, has raged for years between a billionaire hedge fund owner and a Canadian clothing mogul. It has now spilled into a New York courtroom in what one side hopes will finally settle the score. Louis Bacon, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Moore Capital Management, took legal action last week by asking a US court to try to gain access to videotaped footage he believes will help him prove that Peter Nygard, founder of clothing manufacturer Nygard International and his Bahamian neighbour, has engaged in a smear campaign against him. The backdrop is a long-running legal feud involving multiple lawsuits over whether Mr Nygard is, as Mr Bacon alleges, harming the environment around Clifton Bay, a beach made famous by James Bond movies, where both men have compounds… The setting for the feud is the exclusive Lyford Cay community on Clifton Bay. In 1993 Mr Bacon bought a 150,000 sq ft estate in a gated community. His nextdoor neighbour is Mr Nygard, who also owns a large estate and has been a permanent resident of the Bahamas since 1986. Mr Nygard has constructed a “Robinson Crusoe playground” with volcanic, smoking Mayan temples, a disco club and 20 themed cabanas where he has hosted celebrities, according to his website.

Goldman to face Libya’s sovereign wealth fund in court over trades (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs and Libya’s sovereign wealth fund are set to meet in a London court over claims the Wall Street bank exploited a position of trust by encouraging the fund to invest more than $1 billion in trades that ended up worthless…The fund, which became a Goldman client in 2007, alleges that the bank deliberately exploited the relationship of trust and confidence it had established with LIA staff, causing the fund to enter into the disputed trades. The LIA estimates that Goldman made substantial profit of around $350 million on the trades, while it was left with “colossal” losses.

BofA’s Montag Becomes Sole COO as Darnell Seeks Transfer (Bloomberg)
Bank of America’s’s Thomas K. Montag, the lender’s top-paid senior manager, will become sole chief operating officer as co-COO David Darnell takes a new title so he can move to Florida. Darnell, 61, will be vice chairman and continue overseeing global wealth and investment management, as well as business banking, Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan wrote in a memo to employees. Montag, who has split the COO job with Darnell since 2011, will still run the investment banking and capital markets businesses.

Steven Cohen’s Firm Loses Another Top Executive (WSJ, earlier)
Thomas Conheeney, who rose over 15 years to become president of Mr. Cohen’s giant hedge-fund firm, resigned Monday, capping a tenure as head of the firm during which eight current or former employees were convicted on criminal charges related to insider trading. Mr. Conheeney was one of the firm’s most vocal defenders during the government’s prosecution of SAC Capital Advisors LP, now called Point72 Asset Management. He will be succeeded by Douglas Haynes, a former director at McKinsey & Co. who was appointed earlier this year to the hedge-fund firm’s executive committee. The turn to Mr. Haynes, 48 years old, is the latest in a series of changes the firm has made—or had thrust upon it—as it has grappled with the effects of the government’s insider-trading investigation.

The Reason We Yawn (WSJ)
To get to the bottom of yawning, scientists have performed dozens of experiments on groups of people and animals, including baboons and parakeets. Yawning is one of the animal kingdom’s great unifiers. It seems almost any creature with a backbone does it. A leading hypothesis is that yawning plays an important role in keeping the brain at its cool, optimal working temperature. The brain is particularly sensitive to overheating, according to Andrew Gallup, an assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Oneonta. Reaction times slow and memory wanes when the brain’s temperature varies even less than a degree from the ideal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Man Fakes Death To Avoid Wedding (HP)
August 15 would have been Alex Lancaster’s wedding day — if her fiancee hadn’t faked his own death. Lancaster, 23, of the United Kingdom, reportedly met Tucker Blandford, also 23, in August 2012, when she was attending college in Connecticut. The two fell quickly in love. “He was such a gentleman. He showered me with jewelry. We would go out for a posh dinner on the tenth of every month to celebrate the day we got together,” Lancaster said, according to the Mirror. “I’d never been in love like that before. I met his family and they treated me like a daughter. His mum and I became so close.” Lancaster feared their good thing would come to an end when she returned home, so when Blandford proposed marriage, she was eager to say yes. The two talked every day and started planning a wedding in Connecticut. Lancaster said she spent money on a dress, invitations and for flights for Blandford so he could see her in the U.K. Things changed a few months ago, when she got a call from a man who said he was Blandford’s father. “He told me Tucker had been deeply depressed and wanted to die, so had thrown himself in front of a car,” she said, according to Yahoo! News UK. “The man explained that they had been trying to send Tucker off to a psychiatric unit for help. But it was too late. I couldn’t breathe. It was absolutely devastating.” She got off the phone emotionally shattered, but things took a weird turn when she called the family back a short time later. Blandford’s mom answered the phone, but had no clue that her son had died. In fact, he was alive and well. “She said Tucker was absolutely fine –- but she also thought we’d split up,” Lancaster told Reveal.co.uk. “She knew nothing about the wedding.” Lancaster quickly discovered that the venue they had supposedly reserved for their wedding had no record of their booking. Although Blandford has since texted to say he was sorry, and has paid back half the $1,200 he owes her for wedding-related expenses, Lancaster refuses any contact…Blandford admits Lancaster’s allegations are true. “I’m a terrible, awful person. I know I shouldn’t have told her I was dead, but I didn’t know what else to do,” he said.

Singer to subpoena 123 companies for Argentina money (NYP)
Billionaire Paul Singer’s treasure hunt for Argentine assets will lead to a slew of fresh subpoenas this week, including one to a company located on Manhattan’s Madison Avenue, The Post has learned. Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management, which has been in hot pursuit of assets to satisfy $1.5 billion in judgments tied to defaulted Argentina bonds, won a big victory last week when a federal judge in Nevada authorized him to go after 123 Nevada-based companies tied to Argentine businessman Lazaro Baez. The probe into Baez put Elliott hot on the trail of another Argentine businessman Cristobal Lopez — the wealthy and well-connected pal of the late Argentina President Nestor Kirchner, sources close to the matter tell The Post. Nestor’s widow, Cristina, succeeded him as president. Now Singer intends to use the powers granted by the Nevada court last week to issue subpoenas to at least two Nevada companies tied to Lopez, a source familiar with Singer’s thinking said. He is seeking information that could let him seize state assets.

Pimco Scoops Up Quality Junk Cast Off in High-Yield Fund Exodus (Bloomberg)
In their rush to meet redemptions, high-yield money managers picked the wrong assets to sell and created pricing that’s “quite attractive” for some instruments rated just below investment grade, Mark Kiesel, Pimco’s global head of corporate bond portfolio management, said at a media briefing in Sydney today. “High-yield managers have been selling, in our opinion, what they shouldn’t be selling,” said Kiesel, who’s also a deputy chief investment officer at the Newport Beach, California-based company. “They’ve been selling the safest part of the high-yield market, the BBs. We’ve been cherry picking many of these assets over the last couple of weeks and buying them because they’re trading at significant discounts to where we think fundamental value is.”

SNB to Cap Franc Until 2016 as Euro-Area Recovery on Hold (Bloomberg)
The Swiss National Bank is seen maintaining its cap on the franc for at least another two years as the economic revival in the neighboring euro area struggles to gain tractions. More than three quarters of the respondents in the Bloomberg Monthly Survey of 23 economists say that the central bank will keep its ceiling of 1.20 per euro at least until 2016. Not even a 10th say it will remove the barrier next year.

Bitcoin’s Price Falls 12%, to Lowest Value Since May (Dealbook)
“This is just how Bitcoin trades, for better or worse,” said Barry E. Silbert, who oversees a Bitcoin investment fund through his company, SecondMarket. “This is normal — par for the course.”

Every time a congressional staffer has edited the Choco Taco Wikipedia page (WaPo)
The Twitter bot @CongressEdits has, since July 9, gleefully collected the Wikipedia edits of anonymous congressional staffers. Some of the edits are funny; some serious; some mundane. But surely none has enchanted the cynical public more than the entry for Choco Taco, which has been edited six times by staffers at either the House of Representatives and the State Department, during the workday (!!), since the page was opened in January 2007.

Zoo-Goer Climbs Into Giraffe Pen, Gets Kicked In Face (AP)
A police report says 24-year-old Amanda Hall, of San Luis Obispo, California, climbed over one fence and almost got over the second fence of the giraffe enclosure at the Henry Vilas Zoo about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. A 2-year-old, 12-foot-tall giraffe named Wally gave Hall a lick, then turned and kicked her in the face. Zoo staff told police that giraffes are capable of killing lions, so the woman was fortunate that her injuries were not life-threatening. Police ticketed Hall for harassment of zoo animals, which has a fine of $686. The police report says Hall told officers she climbed into the exhibit because she loves giraffes.

19 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (19)

  1. Posted by fify | August 19, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    "Hall told officers she climbed into the exhibit because she loves giraffes. And PCP."

  2. Posted by Wayne | August 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Dave I didn't know that you liked to get wet. That's PCP, angel dust, Sherman Helmsley, love boat, ashy larry.

  3. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    That's how my tool looked after I was done with Shazmom this morning.

  4. Posted by guest | August 19, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    If I had a nickel for every time I faked my own death to get out of a wedding…

  5. Posted by HotKarl | August 19, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Inquiring minds want to know….what happened when she went into the donkey pen?

    - J Gundlach

  6. Posted by Bot | August 19, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    With a bit out if it, she's an animal

  7. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Matt on Bloomberg TV.

  8. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Let's call it my Shazbris.

  9. Posted by Dolla | August 19, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    The battle for the dollar stores just shows how few working class people are able to survive in this economy. No raises, hours are cut at a managers' whim, if you can even get healthcare the costs go up each year, gas prices are high and everything seems to be more expensive. A lot of you guys on delabreaker just don't get the pain and misery that is out there for the working class.

  10. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Ahh, Captain Buzzkill, we've been expecting you.

  11. Posted by Walled Compound | August 19, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    What do you mean we "don't get it" ? We caused it, numbnuts. More for us, less for you. We like Mexico's "model" of their high to low income gap.

  12. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    If we want to become like Mexico, shouldn't we start banking at HSBC?

  13. Posted by Sammy Israel | August 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    I might fake my own death just to get out of dinner plans tonight.

    "Saying I do is painless…"

  14. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    You forgot that the rent is too damn high

  15. Posted by Narcissus Bellicose | August 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    "A lot of you guys on Dealbreaker…."……sounds like Stacey Hessler's ex has found this site. What was his name? Raju? something like that….

  16. Posted by Tyler Durden | August 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Most of us have endured during the past twenty years the demise of capitalism and the banishment of supply and demand from the scene by the deranged market manipulation of QE compounded by the ZIRP, which has gorged the fire sector casino operations with loot, while we along with the real economy have been starved. Regulators who occupy castles in the sky have been in liege to Banking Lords ever since regulation became a synonymous with government perfidy, and it is natural that bankers should die along with their moribund institutions. Banks require regulation, and society requires that banks store deposits and lend against those deposits in order to train the workforce and to grow businesses for the sake of the creation of "The Wealth of the Nation." Instead we have created Bankster Icons and seeded the court of the Queen of Hearts with very rich madhatters.

  17. Posted by investorcluzo | August 19, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    "He showered me with jewelry"

    Let me guess, there was a necklace…or three?
    -J. Epstein

  18. Posted by Rebecca M. | August 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Or her current beau Jose, along with their love child http://www.gofundme.com/6wtxio

  19. Posted by Guest | August 19, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Shaznigga in the asszzz!