Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

Something you probably know about Steve Cohen is that the last number of years have not been so kind to him. Almost a dozen of his employees have been charged with and convicted of securities fraud. The government won’t let him manage outside money. He had to rename his fund, rendering a warehouse full of SAC fleeces useless. No one will buy his apartment. The New York Times thinks his house is only 14,000 square feet. He just wrote a check for $848 million, money that could’ve gone toward Super Duper Weenie products or Guy Fieri cookbooks. It’d be enough to make anyone want to get into bed, pull the covers over their head, and shut out the world, which is exactly what Cohen was doing earlier this year.

So when his wife wanted to attend a little party in East Hampton this weekend, it surely took some convincing. “It’ll be good to get out, Steve,” she probably said. “I bet they’ll serve cocktail franks.” “Alec Baldwin will be there; you loved him in Glengarry Glen Ross and Along Came Polly.”

One or all of these temptations clearly struck a chord, and Cohen decided that yes, he would be nice to get out and mingle. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that Bloomberg‘s exacting eye would be watching. Read more »

  • 25 Jul 2014 at 4:28 PM

Ace Greenberg Once Made Paper Clips Disappear

“I was just shown the results for our first quarter. They were excellent. When mortals go through a prosperous period, it seems to be human nature for expenses to balloon. We are going to be the exception. I have just informed the purchasing department that they should no longer purchase paper clips. All of us receive documents every day with paper clips on them. If we save these paper clips, not only will we have enough for our own use, but we will also, in a short time, be awash in the little critters. Periodically, we will collect excess paper clips and sell them (since the cost to us is zero the Arbitrage Department tells me the return on capital will be above average). This action may seem a little petty, but anything we can do to make our people conscious of expenses is worthwhile…Bear Stearns is probably going to sell stock to the public, and there is one guarantee that I would like to give the potential buyers of our stock – they are going to get the fairest shake from us that management can give any public shareholder. This place is going to be run tight, and the reasons are not all altruistic. We are not going public for the perks. We are going public for a number of reasons, and one is that we want the stock to appreciate.” [BI, earlier]

As you’ve probably heard by now, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, former Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns, who was later named “vice chairman emeritus” of JP Morgan, died today at the age of 86. While he paid the bills with his finance gig, his true passion was magic. On this day, let us remember some favorite facts about Greenberg, vis-à-vis his time on the magic circuit. Read more »

This goes out to no one in particular; they just want to make certain things clear, in case anyone is getting any ideas about, say, marital assets. Ideas about stuff like that. Read more »

What to Eric Schneiderman’s naked eye appears as fraud, Barclays customers apparently understand is just totally legitimate ways of doing business, according to the bank. Therefore, it wants this dark pools lawsuit dismissed and never mentioned again. Not once! Read more »

A question that many have asked themselves and others since Bill Ackman announced he was shorting shake and supplement company Herbalife is, “Okay, but for how long? When does it end?” The Pershing Square founder and his team could very well be right in classifying the organization as a pyramid scheme, but central to their argument is that the government is going to shut this thing down, and that might not happen. Will Pershing keep its position forever? Long after Bill retires and for many years after that? Will CEO Michael Johnson ever be free from this man who haunts his dreams or will Ackman always be there, watching, waiting? In an interview yesterday, the most passionate hedge fund manager to ever live said basically yes to the latter. Read more »

As you’ve probably heard by now, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin is getting divorced, having served his wife Anne with papers at some point yesterday afternoon. So, it’s sad times at Casa de Griffin, made even sadder by the fact that the Citadel founder may be parting with a good chunk of his milkshake allowance at some point in the near future. Read more »

As you’ve probably heard by now, Bill Ackman gave a little presentation yesterday, on his favorite supplement and diet shakes company, Herbalife. Prior to the event, the Pershing Square founder appeared on CNBC hyping up the thing so hard that he came extremely close to promising video of CEO Michael Johnson threatening to fire employees who refused to snort lethal dosages of Formula 1 Healthy Nutritional Shake Mix (Wild Berry flavor) up their noses. So when the presentation failed to deliver, the disappointment across Wall Street was palpable. Pershing Square investors, however, know a good thing when they see it, and are unfazed. Read more »