Matt Levine

  • Really among the greatest photographs of a human being ever taken.

    M&A, News

    Even Carl Icahn Wants To Wrap Up This Dell Thing

    Carl Icahn’s ideal literary genre may be the press release – or, possibly, the tweet – but sometimes you want to write at length and filing a 25-page complaint in the Delaware Court of Chancery gives you that luxury. Plus I guess some lawyers to write it, but the complaint Icahn filed against Dell today […]

    / Aug 1, 2013 at 5:58 PM
  • We still love you Fab!

    News

    Fabrice Tourre Will Never Sell Synthetic CDOs In This Town Again

    Poor Fab! I, for one, was utterly persuaded that he didn’t commit securities fraud by sending an email that he admitted was “not accurate” but not “false,” but the significance of that distinction seems to have eluded the jury: A federal jury found former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader Fabrice Tourre liable for misleading investors […]

    / Aug 1, 2013 at 4:22 PM
  • Here is an obvious visual pun on one ratings agency getting a bit out of line. The cows encourage obviousness.

    News

    Bond Rating Agency Decided To Try To Rate Some Bonds

    What does a AA credit rating mean? The intuitive answer is something like “it means that the rating agency rating the thing thinks it has a probability of default no higher than X% and no lower than Y%,” where X and Y are the boundaries of AA- and AA+ respectively, and sure, that’s about right. […]

    / Aug 1, 2013 at 11:44 AM
  • FACT: The least interesting picture of Carl Icahn is more interesting than the most interesting picture of Michael Dell. If this thing goes to September I'm gonna be using pictures of silver lakes.

    M&A, News

    Dell’s Board Is Having So Much Fun They’re Thinking Of Keeping This Going Until September

    I think we can all agree that the Dell board’s latest proposal to its buyout group – to up the price from $13.65 to $13.75, not change the voting rules, but move the vote to mid-September, with an August record date – is a bad idea. I mean I’m sure we can’t all agree on […]

    / Jul 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM
  • Antony Jenkins one day you might find a place in my heart to rival Bob Diamond but you're not there yet.

    News

    Barclays Asks Shareholders If They’d Mind Terribly Chipping In Just A Bit More Cash

    Barclays today announced a fancy new capital plan that illustrates the subtle cultural differences between US and UK banking. When U.S. regulators want banks to raise more capital, they tell them to do it by 2018, and the banks spend the intervening five years whining about it. When UK regulators want Barclays to raise more […]

    / Jul 30, 2013 at 5:52 PM
  • Obviously Blythe Masters

    News

    Electricity Market Rules Did Not Provide A Worthy Opponent For JPMorgan’s Brainpower

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission fined JPMorgan $410mm today and you can see why JPMorgan would be okay with that. The details are in this marvelously complicated FERC order and settlement agreement,1 but the outlines of the story are simple. FERC built a terrible box, and the box had some buttons that were labeled “push […]

    / Jul 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM
  • Take a tweet:

    M&A

    Carl Icahn And Michael Dell Will Miss Spending Time With Each Other When This Is All Over

    A fun thing about being rich is that it expands your opportunities for passive-aggressive sniping. Like, if Michael Dell wants to insult Carl Icahn, he can call up the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg and say “hey, I was thinking about insulting Carl Icahn, if I do will you print it?,” and of course the […]

    / Jul 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM
  • You have part of my attention. You have the minimum amount.

    News

    Judge Wouldn’t Mind Reminiscing About The AIG Bailout With Ben Bernanke

    A question that I don’t generally spend a lot of time thinking about is “what if Hank Greenberg wins his $25 billion lawsuit against the government claiming that they unfairly took AIG away from him?,” because come on. Hank Greenberg winning his $25 billion lawsuit against the government always struck me as being about as […]

    / Jul 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM
  • He made $1.7mm in 2007, which makes me feel less bad for him now. Still rooting for you, Fab, though.

    News

    Fabulous Fab Really Wanted To Get Abacus Done

    Fabrice Tourre testified in his SEC trial late last week and many perplexing things came out, with the most perplexing being a tie between: Fab’s claims that the key disputed email, in which he maybe-defrauded maybe-victim ACA, was “not accurate” but not “false,” an epistemologico-semiotic dispute that probably sounds better in French, and the fact […]

    / Jul 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM
  • My personal utility would make the jail line even steeper but de gustibus.

    News

    Push To Make Insider Trading Legal Comes A Bit Too Late For SAC Capital

    Yesterday SAC was indicted for insider trading, more or less, so today people are fighting on the internet about whether insider trading should really be illegal. You know what I think, more or less, but really I just think that’s sort of an unhelpful way to put it. Here is a rough stylized chart of […]

    / Jul 26, 2013 at 2:51 PM
  • Is that image behind him a raised middle finger? That'd be an appropriate logo for SALT actually.

    News

    SAC’s Rigorous Compliance Program Focused On Coming Up With Euphemisms For Insider Trading

    One hopes “black edge” wasn’t on the list. Anyway today’s indictment against SAC, for wire fraud and securities fraud, is a hoot: For example, on or about July 29, 2009, a recently hired SAC PM (the “New PM”) sent an instant message to [Steve Cohen] and relayed that, due to some “recent research,” the New […]

    / Jul 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM
  • over here

    M&A

    Carl Icahn Gets Another Week To Screw Around With Dell, But This Is The Last Time, They Mean It

    I’m sure this is false but I’m going to carry on believing that someone, somewhere, flew to Round Rock, Texas last week for the Dell shareholder meeting, arrived to learn it was cancelled, got on the next plane back to New York or, I dunno, Switzerland, and then flew in again this morning for the […]

    / Jul 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM
  • I hope he is the best witness. He seems like he would be. Good luck today Fab!

    News

    Fab Tourre’s CDO Deal Wasn’t Complicated Enough

    If you wanted to short the housing market in 2007 you could just buy protection on mortgage-backed securities via a synthetic CDO, and that’s what John Paulson did in the Abacus deal, for which Goldman Sachs and Fab Tourre got in trouble. But the problem with that is that buying protection costs money; just for […]

    / Jul 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM
  • I'm sorry I was mean to you Steve, you're okay in my book.

    News

    Steve Cohen Got Nonpublic Information All Day Long, Didn’t Think It Was A Big Deal

    It would take a stronger man than me to resist making fun of the SAC Capital white paper responding to the charges against Steve Cohen, as you can tell from the post I wrote before I read it. But now that that’s out of our system I suppose we ought to actually talk about it? […]

    / Jul 23, 2013 at 6:08 PM
  • If I were Fab I'd just get up on the stand and be like "I told those dopes at ACA like fifty times that Paulson was short, I don't know why they heard the opposite." At this point wouldn't you believe him over a bunch of people who are all "I don't remember who told me what"?

    News

    SEC’s Witnesses Against Fab Tourre Have Nothing But Nice Things To Say About Him

    I haven’t been following Fabrice Tourre’s trial all that closely but I gather that the main evidence against him is that a Goldman saleswoman, Gail Kreitman, told her client ACA Capital Management that Paulson & Co. was going to be a long investor in a CDO called Abacus. That turned out to be false, and […]

    / Jul 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM
  • What can I say, I like a good joke as much as the next guy.

    News

    Steve Cohen Was Serious About Stopping Insider Trading Unless It Occurred In The 89% Of Emails He Didn’t Read

    Surely the most hilarious possible defense to charges that Steve Cohen “failed to supervise” his traders is that he couldn’t have failed to supervise his traders because he was too busy ignoring everything they said and did. So what a delight to learn that SAC has chosen exactly that defense:

    / Jul 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM
  • Smile of a man who doesn't have to care about Yahoo! any more

    News

    Yahoo! Paid Dan Loeb The Dan Loeb Premium For His Shares

    I suppose a way to think about Yahoo! is that its stock has a sum-of-the-parts value equal to: the value of whatever the hell business it’s in, plus the value of Dan Loeb owning a big stake and appointing 30% of its board. Both of those sources of value are kinda nebulous? I mean, the […]

    / Jul 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM
  • Basically anything you read about on Dealbreaker, or in a newspaper, is in the overlap in the middle.

    News

    Regulators Not Happy With Guy Whose Algorithm Tricked Some Other Algorithms

    An important element of any Wall Street education is figuring out what shady practices will win you a reputation as a genius, what shady practices will win you a reputation as a scumbag, and what shady practices will win you a prison sentence. There is substantial overlap!1 That education is extremely contextual, and your intuitions […]

    / Jul 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM
  • And this is where I have troubling IM conversations

    News

    Steve Cohen Had Instant Messenger Debates About Whether His Analysts Were Insider Trading

    The thing is that when you run a hedge fund and “At least nine current or former … employees have been linked to insider trading while working at the firm, including four who have pleaded guilty to crimes,” the SEC really ought to charge you with “fail[ing] reasonably to supervise” your employees, no? At least? […]

    / Jul 19, 2013 at 3:27 PM
  • so less fraud then?

    Hedge Funds

    SEC Changes Its Mind About Deal With Phil Falcone That Included “Go Ahead And Keep Committing Fraud” Provision

    Poor guy: The Securities and Exchange Commission overruled its own enforcement division’s decision to settle a civil case with the high-flying money manager Philip A. Falcone and his flagship hedge fund, a rare reversal that signals a broader crackdown by the agency. … While the deal also included at least a two-year ban from raising […]

    / Jul 19, 2013 at 2:13 PM
  • We sent a reporter/photographer team to Round Rock.

    News

    Carl Icahn Gets Another Week To Screw Around With Dell

    You have to be a little nuts to go to a shareholder meeting, though I suppose when the meeting is to vote on a hotly contested proposal to merge the company out of existence you might have business reasons for doing so. So if you’re a merger-arb analyst following Dell closely, I hope you didn’t […]

    / Jul 18, 2013 at 6:41 PM
  • Guy looks nervous in 100% of his photographs.

    News

    Bank Of America Lost $5.7 Billion Gambling With Your Deposits

    You might not remember this but there’s a bank called JPMorgan and that bank invests its excess cash in a portfolio of available-for-sale securities and a year ago this week it announced that a certain cetacean had lost $5.787 billion hedging those securities. Man, that pissed people off. There was a hearing and everything. Good […]

    / Jul 18, 2013 at 4:33 PM
  • Now how can this man help my career?

    News

    Mortgage Banker Finds Creative Way To Reduce Competition

    Bloomberg has an absolutely amazing story this morning about political economy and going the extra mile to build a successful business. Specifically it’s about a guy who worked as a mortgage banker, left to be a senior banking consumer-protection regulator, wrote regulations prohibiting big banks from providing certain kinds of mortgages because they were too […]

    / Jul 18, 2013 at 9:50 AM
  • I feel like this expression would be very effective vs. the SEC

    News

    Guy Who Spent All Of 2007 Telling People He Was Short Housing Vaguely Remembers Telling Someone He Was Short Housing

    Over drinks! In testimony Wednesday, Paolo Pellegrini, the former Paulson & Co managing director, said he made clear to ACA Capital Holdings Inc that Paulson wanted to bet against the deal. “As I told all collateral selection agents, we were interested in shorting a CDO, shorting subprime securities in a CDO,” said Pellegrini, one of […]

    / Jul 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM
  • I can't even any more

    News

    Judge Doesn’t Believe S&P That No One Believed In Its Ratings

    The judge hearing the Justice Department’s CDO-rating lawsuit against S&P refused to dismiss it yesterday, rejecting S&P’s much-mocked theory that its pre-crisis claims of independence and objectivity and, like, plausible ratings were just “puffery” that no one should have taken seriously. Here is the story, and here is his opinion, and here is a rhetorical […]

    / Jul 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM
  • Why am I still the picture for these posts honestly

    News

    Barclays’ Power Traders Manipulated Markets To Build Their Trading Skills And Self-Confidence

    Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered Barclays and four of its traders to pay $488 million for manipulating energy prices by doing basically this: (1) Buying electricity with medium-term swaps, (2) Selling electricity with short-term forward contracts, and (3) Buying electricity in the spot market. And vice versa (switching buys and sells). The idea […]

    / Jul 17, 2013 at 11:19 AM
  • harvey-schwartz-2

    Banks

    Goldman Avoided Talking About Leverage A Lot This Morning

    GS had earnings today and I guess they weren’t that good but all anyone ever wants to talk about on earnings calls these days is leverage ratios. That I suppose is a sociologically interesting fact: is banking a business of selling stocks and bonds and loans and whatnot, or is it a business of optimizing […]

    / Jul 16, 2013 at 1:44 PM
  • "A longtime public servant and seasoned trial lawyer, Jordan [Thomas] ..."

    News

    Even Smaller Minority Of Financial Services Employees Greedy Now

    Labaton Sucharow is a law firm whose business consists of getting disgruntled financial industry employees to sue their employees for various bits of naughtiness, and taking a cut of whatever money those disgruntled employees can get from a lawsuit or settlement. One of their clever marketing techniques is to hire a survey firm to identify […]

    / Jul 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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