Diversions

M&A Country Music: I Love This Deal

“I Love This Deal” may not be on the lips of very many bankers and private equity dealmakers these days. With credit crunchy and the M&A pipeline running dry, there’s not a lot of deals to love. But the folks over at Headwaters MB have decided to lighten up an otherwise ugly week with a handful of finance country music songs. “I Love This Deal” is probably our favorite of the bunch.
Our thanks to the folks at the Deal for bringing this to our attention.

One Liners: Quick Hits For A Quiet Valentines Day

• What Ben and Hank watched to get psyched up for today’s Capitol Hill hearing.
• Is MainStreet.com the worst idea ever? Or is Portfolio just super-psyched not to be the newest kid on the street anymore?
• MBIA wants you to trust the accuracy of their internal risk analysis and forget you ever heard of Bill Ackman.

Douchebag Defined: The Flowchart

flowchart.jpgIf someone needs to explain to you why this is appropriate for DealBreaker, you probably shouldn’t be reading this at all. (Via Gawker)

The campaign to demonize smoking has scored so many victories that many of us now live in occupied territory and have begun to sympathize with the captors. It’s the smoking version of Stockholm Syndrome. Where once we were outraged by smoking bans in saloons we now find ourselves enjoying the absence of the scent of burnt tobacco when we return from a night of bent elbows. Particularly in winter, when sweaters and heavy coats absorb the stench, we find ourselves wondering how we ever tolerated pre-ban pub life.
But the smokers have begun to strike back, and not a moment too soon. In Germany, a story circulated that three employees had been fired from a small telemarketing company for refusing to smoke and requesting non-smoking accommodations. Thomas Jensen (or perhaps Joschko, depending on which version of the story you read), who allegedly owns the company, goes so far as to call for revenge against the non-smokers.
“Smokers have always been our best employees. Non-smokers interfere with corporate peace,” Jensen said. “Our non-smoking employees were actually convinced that they had the right to smoke-free zones. They just complained all the time about smoking, and I don’t like grumblers.
“I can’t be bothered with trouble-makers,” Jensen is quoted saying. “We’re on the phone all the time, and it’s just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It’s time for revenge. I’m only going to hire smokers from now on.”
Unfortunately, it turns out the story was a hoax. Thomas J has recanted and the German reporter who originally filed the story has retracted it. “He said it was a joke and worth the trouble. He said he’s a chain-smoker himself and said he was tired of smokers being hassled so much,” the reporter said. So the smokers have begun their revenge through media pranks. But next time it might be for real.
[Disclosure: Here at DealBreaker we've been known to smoke at our desks in defiance of health ordinances and regularly consume whiskey with our coffee. With each puff we imagine the liberty bell rings out a bit louder for freedom.]

German newspaper says hoaxed by pro-smoking crusader
[Reuters]
Nagging non-smoking workers get burned [MSNBC]

It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty years since “Bonfire of the Vanities” was published. Much of what was groundbreaking in Wolfe’s novel has now entertained the common culture so that it is almost hard to appreciate how original his tale of the moral mayhem into which we were descending was when it was published. Remember, back then it was supposed to be Morning In America. Wolfe showed us that there was some truly dangerous under-currents brewing. We’ve since passed through that period, shuffling off some off its aspects–especially crime, which has been underperforming for years now–and adopting some it into the very heart of our culture–wealth worship and political correctness.
Today, the New York Times asks some of the people who characters in the book were based on about how New York has changed. The most interesting remark, however, comes from Wolfe himself.
He tells the Times:
The big excitement in the financial world, hedge funds, have already shifted their center of gravity out of the city, he said.
Greenwich, Conn., is the new Wall Street, and New York is the Chicago Commodities Exchange.

We’re not really sure whether Tom’s upgrading Chicago or downgrading New York. But if he is downgrading Chicago, he should probably spend some time learning about Chicago derivatives traders.
Looking Back on the Bonfire of the 1980s [New York Times]

Repeal Day

Today we mark a happy day for our Republic–the repeal of the dreaded prohibition amendment 74 years ago. A demon-spawn of progressive error thinking, prohibition plagued the nation for 13 long years. It was a colossal policy failure on every level, failing to produce any of the results that its supporters had claimed for it. We plan to honor the day with a glass of scotch and an open umbrella, the symbol of the “wet” movement.

You Don’t Have To Call Him Merle Hazard Anymore

Hey, remember Merle Hazard? The guy who sings the best ever country song about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives and leveraged buyouts? Well, the other day the New York Times profiled him, revealing his secret identity as a mild mannered money manager.
“Mr. Hazard, to be technical, has another identity, as Jon Shayne, a 46-year-old money manager who studied philosophy at Harvard and then got a law degree from Vanderbilt and whose company manages more than $120 million from Nashville,” Peter Applebome writes.
And, for those of you keeping score at home, he thinks things are going to get worse before they get better. On the bright side, he is available for annual shareholder meetings.
Funny Songs Are Inspired by Sad Times for the Rich [New York Times]