Finally this bastard who ruined my childhood is rotting in hell (kidding, probably a very nice guy, RIP). http://t.co/kgnxFkRJw5
— Clifford Asness (@Cimmerian999) December 17, 2014
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Bill Ackman sat in the hair and makeup chair at Bloomberg, waiting for his lieutenants to file in for a quick briefing before he went on the air. He knew what they were going to say and what they needed to hear him say before they’d be comfortable with him getting in front of the camera.
“Now what are you going to do when they ask you about Herbalife, Bill?”
“I’m going to speak about it in a measured tone. I’m going to manage expectations.”
“And why are you going to do that?”
“Because even if it’s true the company is a fraud, it doesn’t mean it’s going out of business tomorrow so we shouldn’t tell people to expect it, even though… [mumbles something about how he knows it will]…”
“What was that?”
“Okay, and what are you not going to do?”
“I’m not going to give an exact date in the near future when the company is going to explode.”
“And I’m not going to use the word ‘explode’.”
“And I’m not going to say ‘If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business in the next 365 days, I’ll give up solid food and subsist only on their shakes and supplements for a calendar year.”
The lieutenants looks at each other and nodded. They weren’t 100% sure they could believe him but this was as close as confirmation as they were going to get. And, to be fair, since the incident in July, he’d kept his promise. His promise to them, sure, but also his promise to himself. It’s not like he liked doing this. It’s not like he wanted to build up expectations re: the demise of Herbalife only to have them fail. But every time he got up on that stage, or in front of a camera, or on the phone with CNBC, something inside him took over and made him blurt out stuff like “Call the coroner, ’cause there’s gonna be a murder tomorrow, of the corporate variety” or “Get all the shakes you can now because in a fortnight, they’re gonna be gone” or “If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business by next week, my name’s not William A. Ackman.”
He wanted to dial down the enthusiasm. He really did. Read more »
The not-exactly-wireless-internet company continues to excel at the only business it’s ever really been in, which is losing money; it’s set $1.8 billion on fire since it went into bankruptcy not quite two years ago, to cover interest payments and to keep the pipes from freezing.
Well, Phil Falcone (‘s investors) dumped some $2.9 billion into the thing, and he seems pretty determined that not a single dollar of that amount will be left when the desiccated hull of LightSquared winds up in Charlie Ergen’s daughter’s college fund. Read more »
The conflict being that the buddies have fled to Poland and don’t plan to return any time soon. Read more »
He already cut it once to $98 million (from 115) and now it’s down to a mere $82 mill. At this point his practically giving it away and if the bargain basement price isn’t enough to get anyone to bite, how about he sweetens the deal by throwing in a coupla signed 8×10 copies of this puppy? Read more »
Ed. note: This is a new weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline, wrapping up the week that was in law and finance. Elie is not a practicing attorney, and anything he says that you listen to can and will be used against you.
The Only Issue I Care About This Week: We Have Better Things to Do Than Prosecute Insider Trading. That’s the title of a Justin Fox article in the Harvard Business Review. Sadly, I think he’s right.
In broad strokes the world can be divided up into three types of people:
* Group 1: Yokels who hear “insider trading” and shout “rabble rabble” at someplace they think is called “Wall Street” while they sharpen their pitchforks.
* Group 2: Wealthy elites and their media spokespeople who believe insider trading is a “victimless crime” as if Peter Gibbons from Office Space is their spirit totem.
* Group 3: Prosecutors who want to be Governors and are trying to shore up the yokel vote.
It’s all terrible. EVERYBODY IS WRONG ALL THE TIME. The people who care about rich people “cheating” don’t even understand what insider trading is anymore. The people who cheat have priced in the risk of getting caught. Over-matched regulators bite at the ankles of symptoms while being totally unable to address root causes.
I believe that we could live in a world where people who trade on material non-public information suffered criminal penalties severe enough to make them stop. But I also believe the Mets are one bat away from being a contender. Reality, it turns out, doesn’t give a crap about what I believe.
Will Cohen celebrate the loss by his noted #2 enemy1 at the hands of an appeals court by saying, “Fuck it, you know what? We’re re-re-naming the firm?” We’ll just have to wait and see (but it seems possible). Read more »
Our friends over at DealBook yesterday gave the Elliott Management chief an audience and a microphone, which means that Paul Singer did what he does when he gets an audience and a microphone: Give his enemies a piece of his mind. The Fed? A bunch of self-important “enablers” with a martyr complex. CalPERS? Doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about. Corporate boards? Lazy incompetents. And don’t get him started on Argentina… oh, wait, forget it: He’s already started. Read more »