Matt Levine

  • Look at this face, does this face look like a tax avoider, etc.


    Senate Discovers There’s A Tax Code

    Here’s a math problem: what does this sentence, from John McCain, tell you? “Apple claims to be the largest U.S. corporate taxpayer, but by sheer size and scale, it is also among America’s largest tax avoiders,” he said in Monday’s pre-hearing comments. The answer, of course, is that Apple is among the most profitable companies […]

    / May 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM
  • tell me more about this admitting crimes in exchange for not being prosecuted for them.


    SAC Capital May Be Forced To Admit That Its Multiple Convicted Insider Traders Insider Traded

    What is the point of prosecuting a company? Sometimes they pay fines, that’s something. A criminal conviction against a company may keep that company from doing bad things in the future. As a prosecutor, you get to say “this prosecution proves that no company is too big to jail,” despite the fact that a company […]

    / May 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM
  • Be careful you don't tumbl off that thing! SORRY

    M&A, News

    Yahoo! Radically Changes Acquisition Strategy To “Don’t Screw It Up”

    If you’ve seen the internet today you know that everyone wants to talk about their feelings regarding the union of Yahoo! and Tumblr, those icons of two different generations of internet orthography. Do you prefer the florid olden style of Extraneous Punctuation! or the sleek postmodern vibe of Mssng Lttrs?1 Let us know in the […]

    / May 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM
  • He is just impeccable.


    Nobody’s Happy With CFTC’s Plan To Only Micromanage Swaps Trading Strategy A Little

    Are you as puzzled as I am by the mild brouhaha over the CFTC’s new swap execution facility rules? Basically the rules require that most swaps be traded on pseudo-exchange-y-type things called “swap execution facilities,” which are run either by an order-book system or a “request for quote” system. The RFQ system would require anyone […]

    / May 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM
  • I'm crushing your head


    JPMorgan Shareholders Will Find Out If Jamie Dimon’s Gonna Stay Chairman When Jamie Dimon Decides To Tell Them, Okay?

    CommonWealth REIT, a REIT that has more or less decided to enthusiastically own the title of “worst governed company in America,” did a pretty great thing yesterday: Following the appeals of activist investors, shareholders of office landlord CommonWealth REIT on Tuesday forced the resignation of a trustee on the company’s board, Joseph Morea, by failing […]

    / May 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM
  • I now this is a boring picture but it is a little weird that Fannie basically works out of a suburban castle, no?


    Fannie And Freddie Preferred Stock Slowly Finding Its Way Back Into The Hands Of People Who Don’t Know Any Better

    Articles about the Fannie & Freddie preferred trade have been burbling around for a while and I’ve never understood it. The Journal has two good articles on it today, with this being a particularly clear explanation, and … I still don’t get it? Basically the thing is: the government seized Fannie and Freddie in 2008 […]

    / May 15, 2013 at 7:01 PM
  • ACA's proprietary cash-flow model


    Company That Helped Goldman Build Terrible CDO Loses Lawsuit Over The Result

    Everyone knows the story of Abacus 2007-AC1 by now: Goldman Sachs sold some mortgage-backed-security CDOs to some people, and those people thought that the underlying mortgage-backed securities were chosen by an outfit called ACA Management to be Good, but in fact they were chosen by Paulson & Co. to be Bad, and they turned out […]

    / May 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM
  • At the round table.


    The SEC Will Keep Talking About Credit Rating Agencies Until Everyone Stops Paying Attention

    You don’t have to agree with everything the SEC does to respect the way they do it: passive-aggressively. Felix Salmon this morning discussed “the problematic JOBS Act, where the SEC has done a good job of stalling on various silly yet Congressionally-mandated reforms,” and the SEC’s similar strategy of “being sensible and dragging its feet” […]

    / May 14, 2013 at 6:27 PM
  • Google image search for "zombie"


    Actually Lehman’s Bankruptcy Worked Out Well For A Lot Of People

    Bloomberg has a fantastic article today about how Lehman’s decaying corpse is suing a bunch of former clients, many of them wee and sympathetic nonprofits, who hosed Lehman when they terminated swaps in September 2008. Some of these lawsuits turn on disputes over when those clients, or their consultants, should have valued the swaps for […]

    / May 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM
  • Charles Dow seems to have been half Portuguese Water Dog.


    S&P Keeps Monopoly On Way To Count

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a very stupid measure of the stock market for at least two reasons, which are (1) it is an average of only 30 big stocks and (2) it is weighted by share price, an entirely arbitrary number, rather than market cap or equal weighting or anything at all sensible. […]

    / May 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM
  • All Carl today.


    Activist Investors Do A Lot Of Hurry-Up-And-Wait

    A subject dear to my heart for no particularly good reason is the controversy over whether activist hedge funds should have to disclose their positions early and often (so that management can react and everyone else can piggyback on their trade), or should instead be allowed to keep secretly buying stock so they can surprise […]

    / May 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM
  • Hey, this is the deal.


    Carl Icahn Sees Silver Lake’s $13.65 Bid For Dell And Raises It To $12

    Let’s take Carl Icahn’s bid for Dell seriously because, y’know, no one else will. At first I was a little underwhelmed by Icahn’s bid of $12 in cash or stock for Dell, which careful noticers will notice is less than the $13.65 offer on the table from Silver Lake and Michael Dell, but that $12 […]

    / May 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM
  • WHAT.


    How Could Anyone Stay Angry At This Face?

    A thing that happens from time to time, and also yesterday, is that people in or around the financial services industry say furious things about Ben Bernanke: “Ben Bernanke is running the most inappropriate monetary policy in the history” of the developed world, said Stanley Druckenmiller, the retired head of Duquesne Capital Management. A thing […]

    / May 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM
  • philfalconeofficehockeystick

    Hedge Funds

    SEC Settlement Stops Short Of Demanding That Phil Falcone Not Commit Fraud Any More

    They’re not gratuitously cruel after all: The settlement deal, the people said, is also notable for something that it did not include: a common provision that prohibits defendants from committing future violations with fraudulent intent. The lack of a so-called fraud injunction is an unusual victory for the target of an S.E.C. action. I imagine […]

    / May 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM
  • NOT TO SCALE. Skilling is really off the chart, even after his resentencing.

    Banks, News

    Non-Binding Vote On Wording Of Jamie Dimon’s Business Cards Should Fix All Of JPMorgan’s Problems

    Is Jamie Dimon too powerful at JPMorgan? I have a wonderful, simple test in mind, though it may be impracticable; anyway here it is: if a majority of shareholders vote in favor of the nonbinding proposal to strip him of his role as chairman of the board, and he remains chairman of the board, then […]

    / May 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM
  • Per TRACE 15 trades for a total of $15mm so far today, all a bit over par.


    It’s Okay That Chesapeake Forgot To Call Some Bonds

    Well this isn’t great: The story behind that – more fully described here – is that Chesapeake issued $1.3 billion of seven-year bonds in February 2012, and those bonds were freely callable from November 2012 to March 2013, and thereafter not callable (except with a T+50 makewhole) until maturity. And in March Chesapeake tried to […]

    / May 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM
  • What could possibly etc.


    Citi Didn’t Stress Too Much About That Whole Lehman Bankruptcy Thing

    Yesterday Citi sued Barclays over an indemnity that Barclays gave Citi during the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and while, yes, the lawsuit is boring in the way that only lawsuits over indemnities can be, I’m nonetheless going to tell you about it under the heading “laugh at Citi doing stupid stuff.” The stupid stuff here […]

    / May 7, 2013 at 5:16 PM
  • It's been too long, Googly-Eyed Pile Of Money.

    Banks, News

    Who Would You Rather Trust: Bankers Or Regulators?

    A simple model of banking regulation and, like, counter-regulation goes something like this: Regulators are conservative and dumb, and want to safeguard banks from bad risks even at the cost of preventing good risks, Bankers are aggressive and smart, and want to take lots of good risks even at the cost of taking some bad […]

    / May 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM
  • Booooorrrrring. The Google results for MBIA are mostly for Stéphane Mbia, who I don't think is related.


    BofA And MBIA Can’t Get Enough Of Each Other

    The best and worst part of the long-running feud between MBIA and Bank of America is how it intricately intertwines many strands of lawsuits and stratagems and insurance disputes and market sniping into a single complex tapestry of orneriness. BofA and MBIA are suing each other about everything everywhere, and each case is not really […]

    / May 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM
  • I feel like Pechi is a little too much of a civilian to be pictured here, plus I couldn't find one that I was sure was her.


    Former Credit Suisse VP Who Spent Her Vacation At The Office Past Midnight Will Fit Right In At Goldman Sachs

    We don’t have her side of the story yet but from what her enemies say about her I like Agostina Pechi’s style. Pechi is the former Credit Suisse emerging markets sales VP who quit to go to Goldman and whom CS is now suing because she (allegedly) took a bunch of secret stuff with her […]

    / May 6, 2013 at 11:20 AM
  • The other way to go here is obvs shirtless Brad Pitt


    Ringleader Of Insider-Trading “Fight Club” Didn’t Want Any Sarcastic Comments With His Inside Information

    I suppose in like 1985 there were people who worked on Wall Street and un-self-consciously ate cheeseburgers for breakfast, got shoeshines at their desks, went to strip clubs every night, and slammed down their phones hard enough to break them, but my assumption is that in 2013 any remaining “stereotypical Wall Street behavior” is mediated […]

    / May 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM
  • Tarullo does surprisingly well on Google Images.


    Fed Governor Wants Everyone To Remember That It’s Not Just Banks That Are Too Big To Fail

    One reason that a lot of people are enamored with the Brown-Vitter approach to bank regulation is that it’s very simple, and everyone deep down sort of thinks that the simple answer has to be better than the complicated one. “You don’t need risk-based capital or stress tests or liquidity coverage ratios or VaR models […]

    / May 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM
  • Getting there


    Dell Wants Shareholders To Know That Southeastern Wasn’t Looking Out For Them

    Man, the resistance to this Dell deal is crumbling pretty fast isn’t it? Blackstone dropped its bid two weeks ago, Icahn and Southeastern have been relatively quiet since Icahn defended his right to a free exchange of ideas just before Blackstone dropped out, and the stock is at $13.33, ~2% below the $13.65 deal price, […]

    / May 2, 2013 at 5:54 PM
  • The dollars above were (mm) too, but repasting into WordPress is surprisingly annoying


    Lehman’s Bankruptcy Worked Out Well For Intel, Anyway

    One possible reaction to Apple’s gigantic tax-optimized share repurchase program is to think that spending a lot of time fiddling with how to optimize your share repurchase program might mean you’re out of better ideas. You can ponder whether this Intel share repurchase trade described in a Lehman Brothers bankruptcy lawsuit filed yesterday supplies any […]

    / May 2, 2013 at 12:09 PM
  • Brown and Vitter, though don't ask me which is which.


    Bill To Make Banking Boring Actually Might Be Kind Of Fun

    There are a lot of things you can read about the Brown-Vitter bill recently, though it’s a really nice day out and you probably shouldn’t. It’s not … it’s not like a real thing is it? When the text of the bill, which would raise the equity capital requirements on big banks to ~15% on […]

    / May 1, 2013 at 5:22 PM
  • It's Tim Cook.


    Apple Sold Some Bonds

    Well someone today did an entirely non-imaginary debt offering to fund a stock buyback so bully for them. Should we look at some things Apple’s debt deal is bigger than (most of them!) and other things its yield is smaller than (also most of them!)? I guess that’s a thing, I don’t know. It’s a […]

    / Apr 30, 2013 at 5:58 PM
  • Uhh, I guess I'll have Value Meal #2, Crate of Raw Vegetables with a side of Burbling Brown Goo


    Herbalife Asks Investors To Close Their Eyes And Imagine That It Did A Big Debt-Financed Stock Buyback

    A theme these days seems to be that if you can dream up a debt product, people will buy it, as long as the coupon is low enough. Take your pick of UBS’s 7.625% 10-year coco that is in some loose sense junior to its common equity, 2013 looking like a record year for covenant-lite […]

    / Apr 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM
  • I was all "aww, cute, I had one of those as a kid" but then I realized this was the advanced Macintosh that I *didn't* have, I had like the IIc, and then I felt just incredibly, incredibly old.


    Apple’s Bankers Angling For The Chance To Work For Free

    Now that Goldman Sachs has succeeded in its mission of helping Apple fend off David Einhorn’s demand that it raise a two hundred plus billion dollars of preferred stock, I guess it’s time for someone at Goldman to sit down with Apple and say “now, guys, really, you ought to think about raising two hundred […]

    / Apr 29, 2013 at 6:46 PM

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