Popularized in films like Limitless, legal smart drugs called Nootropics are becoming more and more prevalent in board rooms and on Wall Street.Keep reading »
Heady U.S. IPO Market Rolls Into Autumn (WSJ)
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans this month to begin a marketing roadshow for what could be the largest IPO ever, potentially raising more than $20 billion. New York office landlord Paramount Group Inc. filed preliminary paperwork last week for what may be the largest-ever debut by a real-estate investment trust. Online-storage startup Box Inc. and consumer-credit upstart LendingClub Corp. also are expected to price offerings in coming months. The anticipated flood would cap off the busiest period for new U.S. share listings in decades. Companies this year have raised $46.4 billion, the most in the first eight months of any year since 2000, according to data provider Dealogic. “We still have a ton in the hopper, and I think people are optimistic about being able to execute deals after Labor Day,” said Marc Jaffe, co-chair of the global capital-markets practice at law firm Latham & Watkins LLP.
Bootcamp For Bankers (Dealbook)
Robert Vickers struggled not to grin, but the camouflage-clad drill sergeant caught him anyway. “Get down and beat your face. Start pushing!” Air Force Technical Sgt. Elbert Fish shouted, sweat beading on his chiseled face as the sound of combat — gunfire, incoming mortar shells, air sirens and helicopter rotors — punctuated the early morning air from speakers around a grassy field here. “You call that a push-up?” After counting out 20 push-ups, Sergeant Fish yelled, “Get up. I don’t want to see that smile on your face again.” Mr. Vickers volunteered for this treatment, but not for the military. He was one of about 300 employees of USAA, the financial services firm that primarily caters to military veterans and service members, who were doing push-ups, situps and jumping jacks before work at the company’s 280-acre corporate campus. Each of them had signed up for this taste of military basic training and spent months attending seminars and extensive workouts to prepare. They spent the predawn hours running several miles in formation, exercising and marching together. Zero Day PT, named after the first day of Army basic training, is one of many things USAA does to better educate its employees about the armed services. “You serve the military best when you understand the military,” said Josue Robles Jr., the chief executive and president of USAA, who is a retired Army major general.
Can the New York Stock Exchange Be Saved? (WSJ)
The day after Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman and chief executive of Atlanta’s Intercontinental Exchange Inc., took control of the New York Stock Exchange, he sent trusted lieutenant Thomas Farley to size up the 222-year-old icon of capitalism. On a crisp November morning, the 38-year-old Mr. Farley arrived alone at the corner of Wall and Broad streets in lower Manhattan. After walking beneath the building’s majestic colonnade and past its storied trading floor, he found signs of an institution that was showing its age. Mr. Farley says he got lost in a “rabbit warren” of hallways and wood-paneled offices. He saw little interaction among employees, and some longtimers said they had never heard of colleagues who worked a few floors away. Within minutes, Mr. Farley made a decision: gut the place. Since then, Mr. Farley and his boss have launched a bruising, top-to-bottom renovation of the former NYSE Euronext, acquired for $8.2 billion. They want to shrink the company, simplify its operations and reshape its culture.
Carlyle’s $115M ends private equity ‘collusion’ case (NYP)
Carlyle Group is the last of the private-equity giants to settle civil charges that it colluded with rivals on tens of billions of dollars worth of deals. The Washington, DC-based firm, led by David Rubenstein, agreed over the weekend to pay $115 million to settle the federal court case brought by shareholders in the target companies. Seven PE firms agreed not to step into a rival’s takeout deal, thus cheating the shareholders out of a possible robust bidding and a higher takeover price, the suit alleged. Carlyle, Goldman Sachs, KKR, Bain Capital, Silver Lake Partners, Blackstone Group and TPG Capital neither admitted nor denied guilt.
Russia Said to Prepare Transfer of $10 Billion Fund Out of Sanctions’ Reach (Bloomberg)
Russia is preparing to transfer the ownership of a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund to the central bank from a sanctioned state-development lender, according to two people with knowledge of the plan. Russian Direct Investment Fund’s co-investors, which include sovereign funds in Europe and Asia, are concerned that sanctions may affect their investments in Russia if the state lender controls the assets, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Private jet: The new way to get to college (CNBC)
…one company is attempting to put the bling into university travel by offering a £25,000 ($41,562) package to students wanting to arrive by private jet and fast cars. Uni Baggage – an Irish company that transports student belongings across the U.K. and worldwide – has upped its game, looking to tap wealthy students who want to arrive at their new place of study in style. “Our customers are constantly asking us for the full service. Rather than just book a shipping order they want us to look after the whole process of getting to uni, so we went the extreme and did it in luxury,” Paul Stewart, founder of Uni Baggage, told CNBC by phone. Stewart said he had already received two enquiries from students wanting to take a Rolls Royce Phantom to university since launching the service on Monday morning. He could not disclose the name of the institution the students were going to, but said the package would cost them £15,000.
Sad News for Zero-G Sex Study: The Geckos Are Dead (NBC)
Russia’s troubled experiment to study how geckos, fruit flies and other organisms reproduce in weightlessness ended with a huge downer: When the Foton M-4 satellite containing the creatures returned to Earth on Monday and the hatch was opened, researchers found that all five geckos had died. “We can’t say yet at which stage of Foton’s space flight it happened,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source at the Russian Academy of Sciences as saying. Interfax quoted an unnamed source as saying the geckos were mummified and may have frozen to death. The mission has had more than its share of troubles: Foton-M4 stopped responding to commands shortly after its July 19 launch, and although full contact was restored, the satellite was left in an orbit that was more elliptical than intended. More communication problems reportedly cropped up last week. As a result, mission managers brought back the satellite earlier than planned. The news isn’t all bad, though: Scientists say the fruit flies thrived.
Alibaba Pushing Back Start of IPO Investor Meetings (Bloomberg)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is postponing the start of investor meetings for its initial public offering by about a week to answer questions posed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The Chinese e-commerce giant, which was weighing a plan to market its IPO early this week, now expects the meetings to begin in the week of Sept. 8, with tentative pricing on Sept. 18 and trading to start the following day, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
Goldman Sachs Made Big Loan to Banco Espírito Santo Shortly Before Collapse (WSJ)
Through a Luxembourg financing vehicle created by Goldman, Banco Espírito Santo received $835 million in July, according to a prospectus reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, a time when it was nearly impossible for the troubled lender to borrow directly in the capital markets. At least some of that money was earmarked for an unusual destination: helping finance a refinery-construction project that a troubled Chinese company was running for Venezuela’s state oil company. That oil company was a major creditor of companies in the Espírito Santo group. The previously unreported Goldman deal offered a fleeting respite for Portugal’s second-largest bank, which was struggling with a cash crunch and a month later was bailed out and broken up by the Portuguese central bank. For Goldman, what started out looking like a lucrative opportunity became a money-loser. The Wall Street bank planned to sell the Espírito Santo debt to outside investors, but Goldman struggled to find buyers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The deal also drew Goldman near the eye of a Chinese political storm.
JPMorgan Operating Risk Rises With Past Seen as Prologue (Bloomberg)
The firm’s operational risk-weighted assets, a measure devised by regulators that determines how much capital the bank needs to hold against potential losses from human error, external threats, fraud and litigation, rose 6.7 percent in the second quarter to $400 billion, according to an August filing. Regulators can point to $23 billion of legal settlements last year and a cyber-attack discovered last month as they push JPMorgan to boost its buffer against unforeseen losses.
Trio Hid Stolen Rolexes In Vaginas: Cops (HP)
Three women are accused of stealing two Rolex watches from a pair of male tourists by hiding the timepieces in two of the suspects’ sex organs. The alleged robberies took place Aug. 17 at the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas. Two of the suspects, Charmella Triggs and Bryanna Warren met one of the victims at a hotel bar. After some conversation, the group returned to a hotel room that the man was sharing with his friend. The group was soon joined by another suspect, Trinity Kennard. The man’s friend arrived a short time later, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The victims and suspects then started to have sex, according to the police report. Sometime during the sex, the victims were persuaded to remove their Rolex watches, one valued at $12,000 and the other worth around $4,000. A short time later, the victims realized their watches were missing. One of the men chased the suspects down the hall, but backed off when Triggs activated a stun gun near the elevator. According to the police report, surveillance video shows two of the women hiking up their dresses inside the elevator and inserting foreign objects into their vaginal areas. Meanwhile, the victims notified security and the women were arrested by Las Vegas Police at the taxi pick-up area of the Encore.