Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 09.30.14

Trial in $40 Billion Lawsuit Against AIG Bailout Begins (WSJ)
A $40 billion lawsuit against the U.S. government for its crisis-era bailout of American International Group Inc. AIG -0.64% got under way in federal court Monday, with a lawyer for the insurer’s shareholders accusing the government of unlawfully seizing a majority stake in the insurer. Litigator David Boies called the deal a “grab” of a 79.9% equity stake at an “extortion interest rate” in an unlawful attempt to punish AIG’s shareholders. Government lawyer Kenneth Dintzer responded in his opening statement that American taxpayers had extended “an enormous benefit” to AIG shareholders in the ultimately successful effort to stabilize AIG, one they weren’t automatically entitled to and which they apparently “do not appreciate.”

Pimco staff ‘frantic and sad’ in wake of Bill Gross sudden exit (Reuters)
As executives worked at damage control and to promote the new faces behind investment decision-making at the $2 trillion asset manager, some employees were struggling to cope with the tsunami that swamped their world on Friday. “I couldn’t believe it on Friday, and I still can’t believe it now,” one employee who was not authorized to speak publicly told Reuters. “We lost Mohamed El-Erian in January and now Bill Gross. It’s been confusing, frantic and sad.”

Pimco Is in a Race to Keep Investors After Bill Gross Exits (WSJ)
Pimco executives, among them Chief Executive Douglas Hodge and the firm’s new portfolio-management team, hosted a string of calls with financial advisers at Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, to explain why the firm will thrive despite Mr. Gross’s exit, according to people familiar with the matter. “We’re energized, we’re prepared and we’re strong,” Mr. Hodge said to a group of Morgan Stanley financial advisers Monday afternoon on a teleconference, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Bill Gross is NOT crazy (CNBC)
“Let me say flatly, Bill Gross is NOT crazy. There was a palace coup in which disgruntled underlings gave an ultimatum to Pimco’s parent company, Allianz, complaining that the “Bond King” had become difficult to work with and erratic. Five managers said it was “us or him,” and Gross reportedly quit the day before he was set to be fired. Some have said Gross’s investment letters to shareholders were indicative of a delusional mind. Gross is well-known for his colorful, contemplative and, often, offbeat, market commentary. But so what? That does not make him a lunatic who deserves to be locked up, or a wild man, hell-bent on self-destruction. That is how you get your work to stand out from the pack when you’re trying to make the bond market interesting to investors who might otherwise never read his missives. Was he a demanding boss? I suspect so. Was he dismissive of other’s ideas? Perhaps — and it wouldn’t be the first time that would be true of a highly driven and successful money manager. Legendary hedge-fund managers from Michael Steinhardt to Julian Robertson to Stan Druckenmiller to my old boss, Steve Cohen were, or are, reputed to be impossibly difficult to work with. I know all of them quite well. Michael Steinhardt, who is extraordinarily gracious in social setting, would admit that, in his day, his voice would thunder so loud that the walls shook when he berated an underling. Steve Cohen, who says he has mellowed in recent years, would also acknowledge rattling a few cages in his younger years, which, I suspect, would be a mild way of describing those interactions with SAC employees. Socially, almost all of these folks are amiable and surprisingly gentle outside the office. But like highly skilled athletes, they are animals when they get on the field.”

PayPal co-founder rounds on European tech entrepreneurs and regulators (FT)
“If you’re a slacker with low expectations, those low expectations are likely to be met,” Peter Thiel said. “I don’t think optimism always works. There is a form of pessimism, such as in China where people work really hard because they are scared that they will be old while they are still poor. “Pessimism in China motivates hard work. Pessimism in Europe has a more demotivating effect. When you’re pessimistic and unmotivated, it has as self-fulfilling character.”

Nerds Want Muscles Too; Workouts For Comic-Con Goers (WSJ)
Fitness programs and gyms are popping up around the country, catering to people who have spent much of their lives on the sofa playing games, reading comic books or acting out fantasies of superhero stardom. These new fitness regimens use characters and storylines from those media to spur people to move their bodies in real life—not just as avatars. “They stumble across Nerd Fitness and they can truly be themselves,” says Mr. Kamb, who attributes the interest in nerd-centric fitness to the rise of movies based on muscular Marvel Comics characters such as Captain America, and the expanding definition of a nerd. “They can talk about squats and deadlifts and vegetables, and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and be accepted for it.” [...] Earlier this month Nerd Fitness held its first large public gathering, a four-day summer camp for adults at a retreat center in Clayton, Ga. Michelle Grimaldi, 23, of Warminster, Pa. attended and met like-minded exercisers. She did “Game of Thrones” combat training with PVC-pipe swords and attended a lecture on making your kitchen and home healthier called “Building Your Batcave.” Campers came from as far as Australia, did ropes courses, lifted weights and danced dressed as fictional characters such as the Mario Bros. of video-game fame. Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.29.14

Gross Trading Against Gross Seen Starting Monday (Bloomberg)
The way Gross quit is seen inside Pimco as him going out of his way to do damage to Pimco, the person said, because of all the things Gross did that flew in the face of standard practices at the company. The person requested anonymity because he doesn’t want to jeopardize his relationship with Pimco. First, there is supposed to be a transition period to protect clients that have stakes in the products managed by a departing portfolio manager. Normally this period is at least weeks if not months. Second, the announcement from Janus was supposed to be coordinated with a simultaneous announcement from Pimco, which didn’t happen. Third, there’s normally an understanding that there will be no competition for some period of time, the person said.

Pimco moving away from Bill Gross model, CEO says (Reuters)
Pimco is moving away from a founder-led model and the $2 trillion asset manager’s flagship fund, formerly run by co-founder Bill Gross “does not define Pimco,” CEO Doug Hodge said on Sunday. “Over the last five years, we have expanded into far more parts of the fixed income market and into other asset classes and other geographies, so the Pimco Total Return Fund does not define Pimco,” Hodge said. “It’s an important flagship product of this firm but it is not our only strategy.” Hodge and Dan Ivascyn, who takes over for Gross at the Newport Beach, California-based firm as group chief investment officer, told Reuters in an interview that they have been speaking to clients all weekend about the new leadership. Pimco is a unit of Munich-based Allianz.

Billions Fly Out the Door at Pimco (WSJ)
Pacific Investment Management Co. suffered roughly $10 billion of withdrawals following the Friday departure of co-founder Bill Gross, a person familiar with the matter said, a sign of how quickly Mr. Gross’s surprise move is reshaping the bond-investing landscape. Pimco is bracing for more outflows on the heels of the veteran investor’s departure after months of internal strife over his leadership. At the same time, some managers say they remain committed to the firm. Some within the Newport Beach, Calif., investment firm are projecting it will lose at least $100 billion or more in assets due to withdrawals, the person familiar with the matter said, and some analysts peg the estimate higher.

American Apparel Names New Interim CEO, CFO (WSJ)
Scott Brubaker, an Alvarez & Marsal managing director, will serve as interim CEO while the maker of jeans and T-shirts searches for a permanent successor to Dov Charney, the company’s founder. Mr. Charney was removed as CEO in June over allegations of misconduct. He is currently serving as a consultant at the company while a special board committee reviews the results of an investigation into allegations that he misused company funds and allowed nude photos to be published on the Internet of a former employee who had sued him alleging sexual harassment. Mr. Charney’s lawyer has called the allegations baseless.

Goldman Sachs bars traders from trading (NYP)
Goldman Sachs said it’s now barring its investment bankers from trading individual stocks and bonds, a source told Bloomberg News. Goldman employees were notified on Friday of the change, which takes effect immediately, the source said. They also aren’t allowed to invest in activist or event-driven hedge funds, the person said. Previously, bankers needed approval before they could invest in individual stocks. The change came on the same day that a former employee at the New York Federal Reserve Bank released examiner’s recordings of her ex-colleagues’ dealings with Goldman Sachs.

Bodybuilding Christian Swingers From Florida Start Spouse-Swapping Website (HP)
If you like Jesus, pumping iron and pumping/getting pumped by acquaintances bound by holy matrimony, there’s a website just for you. It’s called Fitness Swingers, and it’s the brainchild of Cristy Parave and her husband, Dean, who dreamed up the site after reportedly having a threesome with this wife and her female friend…The Florida couple, who met at a bodybuilding competition, are interested in sharing their beliefs and their spouses with others who feel similarly. They started their online network 7 years ago, and haven’t looked back. The pillars of their relationship: A commitment to their faith, to fitness, and to the ideals of the swinger lifestyle. Dean Parave told Barcroft Media that he doesn’t think that his swinger lifestyle conflicts with his Christian beliefs. In fact, he considers it a kind of ministry. “So far today, God hasn’t told me, ‘Dean stop that, it’s a sin. I don’t want you to do that.’ Until he does that, I’m going to keep trying to help as many people as I can,” he told Barcroft. Christy said she needed a little convincing that it was moral at first, but now she’s totally convinced that god is on their side. Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.26.14

Pimco’s Bill Gross to Join Janus Capital to Manage Bond Fund (!!!) (Bloomberg)
Bill Gross, co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., will join Janus Capital Group Inc., the company said. Gross will start Sept. 29 and will start managing the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund starting Oct. 6, according to a press release distributed by BusinessWire today.

Bill Gross Leaves Pimco for Janus (WSJ)
“I look forward to returning my full focus to the fixed income markets and investing, giving up many of the complexities that go with managing a large, complicated organization,” Mr. Gross said in a statement released by Janus. “I chose Janus as my next home because of my long standing relationship with and respect for CEO Dick Weil and my desire to get back to spending the bulk of my day managing client assets.”

Bill Gross leaves Pimco for Janus (Reuters)
The announcement comes just days after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. securities regulators were investigating Pimco and Gross in connection with an exchange traded fund he also managed at Pimco.

Wall Street scared new Attorney General could be Preet (NYP)
Attorney General Eric Holder is heading to the exit door — and that’s making Wall Street nervous. Executives in the financial services industry see Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara as a possible successor — and with his tough-on-corporate-crime history believe a renewed focus Wall Street could be coming to Washington. Holder, after six years atop the Justice Department, is seen as not interested in highlighting white collar crimes. “[Holder] was pretty easy on Wall Street,” Marc LoPresti, a corporate and securities lawyer in New York, told The Post…Bharara, who has held his position since 2009, has successfully prosecuted more than 80 insider-trading cases, including former Galleon Group head Raj Rajaratnam, ex-SAC Capital trader Matthew Martoma, and forced a guilty plea from SAC Capital itself.

U.K. Regulators Hold Talks With Banks on Settling Forex-Rigging Probe (WSJ)
FCA officials, including Chief Executive Martin Wheatley, told the bank officials that the regulator’s goal is to reach a group settlement with the six banks in the next eight weeks, one person said, although that timetable could be delayed. The FCA told the banks that they should each expect to pay the U.K. regulator more than the £160 million ($261 million) that UBS paid in 2012 to settle the U.K.’s probe into interest-rate rigging, the people said.

Woman Drives 12 Blocks With Traffic Officer On Hood Of Car (HP)
A San Francisco woman faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor hit and run after she allegedly struck a traffic officer who was issuing her a citation, then drove 12 blocks with the man on the hood of her car. Witness Allison Yates said she snapped a photo of the incident as driver Bo Mounsombath, 33, sped by with the attendant clinging onto her car the morning of Sept. 18…”I saw her go by and realized there was a guy on the hood on his back, hanging on kind of spread-eagled. She turned right from that far left lane across all lanes of traffic,” Yates told Hoodline. “She was screaming, he was screaming, it was insane.” Yates’ photo is outrageous, but so are the details in the case. Police caught up with Mounsombath on Market Street, about a mile from where the incident started. According to KTVU, the officer told investigators that he saw Mounsombath take a street sweeping ticket from another car and place it on hers. He walked up to give her a ticket, then Mounsombath stepped on the gas, striking him and a motorcycle before leaving the lot. The officer held on. Mounsombath told KRON that the officer asked her to “do things instead of getting a parking citation which led me to believe he was posing as a meter maid.” The woman told KTVU that the officer had asked for her phone number, felt sexually harassed, and fled out of fear. She said she didn’t mean to hit the officer. Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.24.14

Pimco ETF Draws Probe by SEC (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co. artificially boosted the returns of a popular fund aimed at small investors, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest challenge for the firm run by investor Bill Gross. A probe into pricing issues at Pimco has been under way for some months, the people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Gross has been interviewed by SEC investigators, the people said. Mr. Gross declined to comment for this article. The issues being scrutinized by the SEC include the way a flagship exchange-traded fund, managed by Mr. Gross, purchased and valued certain bonds. Investigators from the SEC’s enforcement division are examining whether the $3.6 billion Pimco Total Return ETF BOND +0.08% bought investments at discounted prices but relied on higher valuations for the investments when the fund calculated the value of its holdings shortly thereafter. Such a maneuver could make it seem as though the ETF had scored quick gains when it was in fact taking advantage of variations in the way some investments are valued in the bond market.

Harvard Endowment Earns 15.4% Return for Fiscal 2014 (WSJ)
Those returns exceeded internal goals and boosted the endowment’s assets to $36.4 billion as of June 30. Harvard also deepened its commitment to alternative investments in hedge funds, private equity and assets such as real estate. The nonprofit agency that manages Harvard’s money said it had received approval to increase allocations to private equity and hedge funds during fiscal 2015 to 34% of assets, up from 31%, according to a letter issued by Harvard endowment chief Jane Mendillo.

Oracle Cuts Ellison’s Stock Awards, Adds CEOs’ Incentives (Bloomberg)
Ellison’s performance-based stock award was cut by 187,500 shares, or $7.28 million based on Oracle’s closing price today, and his stock-option award for fiscal 2015 was reduced by 750,000 shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Ellison’s total compensation last year was $67.3 million, down from $79.6 million the prior year. Mark Hurd and Safra Catz were both named CEOs of the software maker on Sept. 18, while Ellison became chairman and took on the title of chief technology officer. Hurd will run sales, marketing and strategy, while Catz will remain chief financial officer and oversee legal and manufacturing operations. Each received a one-time grant of 500,000 stock options and a performance-based stock award of 125,000 shares in connection with their promotions, according to the filing.

Apple’s Tim Cook: ‘Get on board’ with climate change (CNBC)
Apple CEO Tim Cook took on the hot-button issue of climate change on Monday during the Climate Week NYC 2014 conference. Speaking during the opening day of the high-profile climate change event, Cook said people shouldn’t accept a trade-off when it comes to business and the environment. “What are the root causes?” he said. “And you are not accepting that there is a trade-off between the economy and the environment. Too many people believe you can do this or that. What we found is that both are doable. If you innovate and you set the bar high, you will find a way to do both.” Cook added: “When you realize it and you see the urgency, it is time to act now. Everyone that hasn’t been on board, that’s OK, but now is the time to get on board.”

Looking to cuddle? There’s an app for that (NYP)
The app launched on Sept. 11 allows users to set their hug preferences, including whether they like to be the big or little spoon to ensure they are matched with nearby huggers of similar tastes. Cuddlr founder Charlie Williams told The Daily Mirror newspaper that the app was only designed for a “little cuddle,” but users could take the relationship further if they pleased. “On Cuddlr, you get together straightaway, have a little cuddle, and then part ways,” he said. “If you want to hang out again, you can exchange information then and there — but you already know what kind of cuddles they give.” Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.23.14

Barclays will ‘robustly’ defend dark pool allegations: CEO (CNBC)
Jenkins said the matter was investigated fully by “internal and external resources.” “We believe our defense is strong, and we intend to defend robustly those allegations that were made against us,” he said in an interview with “Closing Bell.” “Obviously if we have made mistakes, if we have gotten things wrong, then we’ll acknowledge that, we’ll take the sanction, we’ll learn and we’ll move on but where we think we are on strong ground, then we will defend our position.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought the lawsuit against Barclays in June, and last week he defended it in court documents filed in the case. He also reasserted allegations that Barclays employees misled clients about their exposure to high-speed and potentially predatory market participants.

Morgan Stanley Trader Misses Bunnies as She Quits Playboy Club (Bloomberg)
The Morgan Stanley trader-turned-chef has quit the London club to open a restaurant and recalls the fun she had over three years, cooking for celebrities from Justin Bieber to Kate Moss. “Talk about a massive fun factor with the brand, and the stories I walked away from there,” Joo says. “It was incredible, hanging out in the Playboy Mansion in L.A. and looking after tons of rappers and footballers. ‘‘And I miss the bunnies. I love those girls. Who doesn’t love being surrounded by beautiful people? Come on!’’ To say that she has had a varied career is an understatement. Joo, 39, a Columbia engineering graduate, interned at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. She spent more than four years with Morgan Stanley in New York and San Francisco before studying at the French Culinary Institute in New York. She then moved to London and got a job as a pastry chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Television beckoned and she appeared on ‘‘Iron Chef’’ before being named executive chef when the Playboy Club returned to London in 2011. The Korean-American is now set to open a restaurant in London’s Soho in December. It will be called Jinjuu, which means ‘‘pearl’’ in Korean and will occupy a site on Kingly Street. She’s bringing her head chef from the Playboy Club, Andrew Hales, as well as pastry chef Jaime Garbutt.

Alibaba Banks Bring Home $261 Million in Fees (Bloomberg)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s underwriters raked in $300 million in fees after completing the largest initial public offering in history. The banks received 1.2 percent of the proceeds in fees, according to a regulatory filing. The total IPO size increased to $25 billion the company said today, after the underwriters exercised the option to purchase 15 percent more shares. Pulling off Alibaba’s IPO is a coup for the five lead banks, which were all given an equal stake in the deal’s success. The fee structure is different from typical IPOs in the U.S., where there’s one lead manager that is awarded much of the fees. Alibaba also used an incentive bonus to coax better performance from underwriters.

Crackdown Targets Inversions Designed to Limit U.S. Taxes (Bloomberg)
The Treasury Department announced steps that will make it harder for U.S. companies to move their addresses outside the country to reduce taxes, clamping down on the practice known as inversions. The rules, which apply to deals that closed starting [yesterday], include a prohibition on “hopscotch” loans that let companies access foreign cash without paying U.S. taxes, and impose new curbs on actions that companies can use to make such transactions qualify for favorable tax treatment. The changes will have the biggest effect on eight U.S. companies with pending inversions, including Medtronic Inc. and AbbVie Inc., which plan the two largest such deals in U.S. history. In its purchase of Covidien Plc, Medtronic is loaning some of its untaxed profits outside the U.S. to its new Irish parent company, and that transaction could be penalized by the new anti-hopscotch rule.

German Firms Go on U.S. Buying Spree (WSJ)
The forces fueling the activity include record-low interest rates and stagnation in Europe, economic growth and declining energy prices in the U.S., and expanding cash hoards at thriving German companies. “German companies want to be where their customers are,” said Dietmar Rieg, president of the German American Chamber of Commerce in New York. The latest deals bring to almost $70 billion the total value of German acquisitions announced in the U.S. so far this year, according to Dealogic. That ranks second to $77 billion in proposed takeovers by Canadian companies during a global M&A boom. German firms have already spent more on U.S. investments so far in 2014 than in every full year of the past two decades, according to Dealogic.

Man who has suffered 100 orgasms a day for past two years after slipping a disc in his back – but can’t enjoy sex (DM)
For the last two years, Dale Decker has suffered 100 orgasms a day – but has not enjoyed one. The 37-year-old is the first man to speak out about suffering persistent genital arousal syndrome. He developed the condition in September 2012 after slipping a disc in his back while getting out of a chair. While he was en route to the hospital, he suffered five orgasms. Since that moment he has been plagued by the condition, he describes as ‘disgusting and horrendous’. According to medical literature, trauma to the pelvic nerves can trigger hypersensitivity in this area. The painful pelvic condition has left him housebound and isolated, through fear of suffering a public orgasm. He said: ‘Imagine being on your knees at your father’s funeral beside his casket – saying goodbye to him and then you have nine orgasms right there. ‘While your whole family is standing behind you. It makes you never want to have another orgasm for as long as you live. Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.22.14

Financial Elite’s Offspring Start Their Own Hedge Funds (WSJ)
The scions of a number of wealthy families, including the sons of prominent Wall Street figures Howard Marks and Ken Moelis, have either recently launched hedge funds or plan to do so soon, according to people familiar with the matter. The young men (no daughters appear to be involved so far) are in some cases wagering part of the family fortune that they can thrive in one of the most lucrative—and unforgiving—fields in finance. Andrew Marks, the 28-year old son of billionaire Howard Marks, has told potential investors and industry executives he expects as much as $200 million in funding from his father along with other “friends and family” money. The fund, which he has named “Anicca” after the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, is expected to launch later this year or next. The elder Mr. Marks founded Oaktree Capital Group OAK +0.60% LLC, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with more than $90 billion under management. Mr. Marks’s former classmate at the University of Pennsylvania, Ken Moelis’s son Jordan, plans to start a fund in Los Angeles as early as the first quarter of 2015, people familiar with the plans said. Ken Moelis took his eponymous New York investment bank public earlier this year in a deal that valued his family’s stake at $400 million. He will personally invest in his son’s fund but won’t have an ownership stake, one person said. Other young traders have started hedge funds with family money relatively recently. They include Schuster Tanger, whose family started a string of outlet malls; and Till Bechtolsheimer, 32, who nabbed about $200 million with a 10-year commitment from his grandfather Karl-Heinz Kipp, the billionaire founder of German department-store chain Massa, people familiar with the situation said. Mr. Bechtolsheimer named his New York-based Arosa Capital Management LP after his family’s adopted hometown in the Swiss Alps.

Man Pleads Guilty to Passing Tips in ‘Post-it’ Insider Trading Ring (Dealbook)
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey contend that Mr. Metro and Mr. Tamayo met at various bars and restaurants in Midtown Manhattan. Mr. Tamayo then wrote the stock symbols for companies on which he had inside information on either Post-it notes or napkins, prosecutors said. Later, Mr. Tamayo met up with Mr. Eydelman, a Colts Neck, N.J., resident, and showed him the notes, according to authorities. Mr. Eydelman memorize the ticker symbols, and then Mr. Tamayo put the notes in his mouth and swallowed them to destroy the evidence, prosecutors said.

Hedge Funds Caught in Iceland’s Failed Banks Closer to Pay Date (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds caught in Iceland’s $85 billion banking failure may be closer to getting repaid. The administrators overseeing claims against bankrupt lender Glitnir Bank hf say there are signs recent talks with a government committee will make it easier to complete creditor settlements…The main obstacle to repaying creditors has been Iceland’s concern that any outflow of money would drag down the krona and derail efforts to remove capital controls. Yet Glitnir now says it has presented a payment model to policy makers that allows offshore creditors to be reimbursed without disrupting the exchange rate. The plan affects $4.55 billion in cash and cash equivalents, or more than half Glitnir’s total assets and about one-third the island’s gross domestic product, according to the bank’s winding-up committee.

Silver Lake Reaps a Golden Return on Its Alibaba Stake After the I.P.O. (Dealbook)
Thanks to $500 million in investments made in 2011 and 2012, Silver Lake now sits on a stake worth more than $5.1 billion, after having reaped $278.8 million by selling a fraction of its holdings.

Pabst not moving to Russia (NYP)
Panic broke out this week across America — from hipster bars in Brooklyn to living-room sofas in Denver — when it was revealed that Pabst has been purchased for more than $700 million by a firm called Oasis Beverages. Scant info was available about Oasis in the announcement, but the company’s Web site notes that it operates breweries in Moscow, Kazakhstan and Belarus. With little else to go on, news outlets ran with the connection: “Pabst Blue Ribbon is Defecting to Russia,” the Huffington Post warned, while the Daily Beast said Pabst “will now take orders from Russia.” But Oasis, whose site indicates it is based in Cyprus, “will be strictly a passive investor with a minority stake” in Pabst, alongside minority holder TSG Consumer Capital, a New York private-equity firm, a source close to the situation said. The more precise truth, according to people close to the deal, is that majority ownership and control of Pabst is going not to Oasis but to its chairman, an American beer entrepreneur named Eugene Kashper. According to a written statement this week, Kashper will become CEO of Pabst, which will keep its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.

The Suitsy: the suit that lets you go to work in a onesie (Guardian)
Have you ever wished that you could combine the comfort and practicality of a onesie with the social acceptance of a casual business suit? If so, you are probably part of the generation that will lead to humanity’s downfall, but anyway: good news! The Suitsy is here, to answer your prayers. Designed by Jesse Herzog, a financier from San Francisco, the Suitsy promises “a revolution in apparel for the modern gentleman”. It looks like a typical business suit worn over a white shirt (tie, shoes and belt not included). But the sleeves poking out from under the jacket cuffs don’t go anywhere; the shirt front is connected directly to the blazer; and, hidden behind the buttons down the front, is a zipper that runs from the neck to the base of the fly. Herzog says he had the idea around six months ago, and found a seamstress who would help him realise his dream. “At first,” he says, “she thought it was crazy, but when it actually worked, she thought it was fantastic.” The product is aimed at businessmen – “people that appreciate class, convenience and comfort” – and Herzog says he often wears it himself. “It feels great, and no one knows it isn’t a real suit. Its debut was at the rehearsal dinner for my wedding.” Herzog hasn’t designed any other clothing, but he ran a popular hot-dog shack called Zog Dogs until 2013, which briefly became famous for launching a hot dog into space. He is now looking for support to bring the Suitsy to a wider audience. He’s put the idea, and a video of the prototype, on crowdfunding site Betabrand, where it has attracted 400 votes in three days. Read more »

Opening Bell: 09.19.14

Alibaba Group Said to Raise $21.8 Billion in Record U.S. IPO (Bloomberg)
The company and shareholders including Yahoo! Inc. sold 320.1 million shares for $68 each, according to a statement, after offering them for $66 to $68. The sale — which values Alibaba at $167.6 billion — is already the largest by any company in the U.S. and has the potential to break the global record if additional shares are sold to underwriters.

After IPO, Alibaba plans to pour cash into movies (NYP)
Studio heads are expecting an influx of investment dollars from Asia, thanks to the Chinese e-commerce giant, which is poised to pull off the biggest public stock sale in history on Thursday. Japan’s Softbank — which owns more than a third of Alibaba Group Holdings and is sitting on a large pile of cash as a result — has been visiting the bamboo-decorated executive suites of film studios with an eye toward winning a role in the movie business, sources said. “The Japanese have started to take an interest,” one source said. “They’ve talked to Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation.”

Regulators Probe Goldman’s Internship for Brother of Libyan Ex-Official (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing the New York-based bank’s decision in June 2008 to hire as an intern the brother of Mustafa Zarti, then deputy chief of the Libyan Investment Authority, the people said. The move came after Goldman entered into more than $1 billion worth of trades with the authority, and just as the firm’s relationship with the Libyan fund had begun to sour. The investigators are also reviewing why the brother, Haitem Zarti, was allowed to remain at the firm for almost a year, long after most Wall Street internships last, the people added. A Goldman spokesman confirmed that Haitem Zarti had interned for the firm’s investment-banking arm and said his hiring wasn’t related to its dealings with the Libyan authority. Mr. Zarti was allowed to remain at Goldman for almost a year because he had performed well, the spokesman added. Mustafa Zarti has previously said there was nothing wrong with the internship. Haitem Zarti couldn’t be reached for comment, and an SEC spokesman declined to comment. Mustafa Zarti couldn’t be reached for comment.

Scotland Rejects Independence as U.K. Wins Reprieve (Bloomberg)
Scotland voted to stay in the U.K. in a referendum on independence, stepping back from a breakup of the 307-year-old union while wringing promises of more financial power from Prime Minister David Cameron. After a count through the night, 55.3 percent of Scottish voters supported the “no” campaign against 44.7 percent who backed independence. The pound surged overnight as the Better Together campaign posted a wider margin of victory than suggested in opinion polls, before falling back. There was a record turnout of more than 90 percent in some of the 32 regions.

RBS and Lloyds Surge as Scotland Votes to Stay in U.K. (Bloomberg)
RBS jumped 3.1 percent to 368.2 pence at 9:21 a.m. in London trading, extending its weekly gain to 5.3 percent. Lloyds gained 2.1 percent to 77.43 pence, and TSB Banking Group Plc climbed 2.3 percent to 293 pence…Contingency plans to move to England are “no longer required,” RBS said in a statement today. RBS and Lloyds, both domiciled in Edinburgh, said last week they would move to England if Scots chose to dissolve the 307-year-old union. Analysts estimated a move south may have cost each lender as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion).

Gold iPhones at $3,600 as China Delay Fuels Black Market (Bloomberg)
Liu Min stands a few feet from an Apple Inc. store in Beijing hawking something that can’t be bought inside: the new iPhone 6. While the device debuted today in the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, there is no release date set for the world’s biggest smartphone market. That creates an opportunity for Liu, who promises two-day delivery of a 16-gigabyte iPhone 6 for 8,000 yuan ($1,303) — almost double the price on Apple’s Hong Kong website. “It’s going to be a while before the new iPhone comes to China officially, so if you want it now, you have to pay up,” Liu said, pacing outside the Sanlitun district store selling screen protectors. “Give me a call if you want one.” Liu, who wouldn’t discuss his supply chain, wasn’t alone. Four vendors nearby offered the 128-gigabyte iPhone 6 for delivery on Sept. 20 at the equivalent of about $2,441, compared with the Hong Kong price of about $927.

Cops: Customer Pointed Gun At Drive-Thru Worker And Demanded A Hamburger (TSG)
“Give me a hamburger or I’ll shoot you.” That is what Dechazo Harris, gun in hand, allegedly said to a Florida drive-thru worker with whom he quarreled over an order. According to police, Harris, 27, ordered a midnight meal via a drive-thru speaker at a Checkers in West Palm Beach earlier this year. When he drove to the pick-up window, he sought to submit a second order. However, Checkers manager Rontavious Tarver, 20, explained to Harris (seen below) that if he wanted to place another order, he would have to drive around to the speaker and place it there. In response to that direction, Harris, cops charge, pulled out a gun and pointed it at the Checkers employee. As he began to exit his vehicle, Harris threatened the worker, “Give me a hamburger or I’ll shoot you.” He added, “Bro, you don’t know who I am.” Read more »