Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 07.07.14

A Mad Scramble for Young Bankers (NYT)
This summer, dozens of junior bankers in their early to mid-20s will start jobs in private equity after spending their first two years out of college working at investment banks. Private-equity firms use billions of dollars of cash and plenty of debt to buy entire companies. They are seen by many young strivers as the next rung on an elite career ladder, promising higher status and more pay — around $300,000 a year, including salary and bonus, roughly double what a second-year banker might earn at Goldman. But for junior bankers, who are known as analysts, securing such a job means stepping into the middle of a Wall Street struggle that has intensified since the financial crisis. The whirlwind process of interviews, which this year started in February, far earlier than many in private equity had expected, requires analysts to sneak around and often miss work. It bears little resemblance to the orderly on-campus career fairs they attended in college. “It is not a normal search process — that, certifiably, everyone would agree with,” said Adam Zoia, the chief executive of Glocap Search, one of the recruiting companies involved.

Lion Capital Said to Want Return of American Apparel CEO (Bloomberg)
Lion Capital LLP is threatening to call in a $10 million loan to American Apparel Inc. unless the retailer reinstates ousted Chief Executive Officer Dov Charney, according to a person familiar with the situation. Barring an investigation that finds illegal or immoral activities by Charney, the hedge fund believes his return would be best for American Apparel because it would stabilize the chain in the short term, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public.

IEX Pricing Aims to Drain ‘Dark Pools’ (WSJ)
The upstart firm will allow broker-dealers, including most Wall Street banks, to trade for free when their buy and sell orders match up on the exchange, Chief Executive Brad Katsuyama said in an interview. The desire to avoid trading fees is a primary reason many banks established dark pools in the first place. All other trades at IEX would be charged the same flat fee—nine cents per 100 shares for each buyer and seller—rather than be subject to the complex system of rebates in place at existing exchanges. As part of its “broker priority” pricing system, IEX will let broker-dealers jump to the front of the trading queue. This would put other groups, including retail investors, mutual-fund firms and high-frequency traders, at a disadvantage as it means there will be a greater chance their orders would go unfilled. IEX, which currently operates as a relatively small dark pool, is looking to make a bigger splash in the markets by becoming a stock exchange registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Katsuyama said IEX intends to “imminently” submit its application. With the pricing plan, Mr. Katsuyama—a protagonist of Michael Lewis’s best-selling book “Flash Boys” and a prominent critic of the current U.S. market structure—said he is trying to give the operators of dark pools an incentive to shut those trading venues down. If that happens, he said, most investors would benefit more from the reduced fragmentation in the market than they would lose by ceding the first spot in line to broker-dealers. It isn’t clear if the SEC will approve the company’s pricing structure, or if big banks will abandon their dark pools. The SEC declined to comment.

DoJ vows financial sector crackdown (FT)
The US Department of Justice will be “appropriately aggressive” and seek to bring “timely” cases, including against financial institutions, the chief of its criminal division told the Financial Times. Leslie Caldwell, who was confirmed as chief of the DoJ’s criminal division in May, is returning after a decade spent helping defend corporations against civil and criminal investigations. She said it is no accident that financial institutions are facing inquiries across their business units. “The government has gotten more sophisticated and more willing to investigate complicated fraud. We’ve learned a lot from cases that we’ve done. We have more knowledge in how to do these cases in a more timely way,” Ms Caldwell said. “We’ve seen evidence of criminal activity at a lot of financial institutions. We don’t decide which types of things we investigate. We follow the evidence where it leads.”

France not worried about U.S. probe of other banks: minister (Reuters)
France’s finance minister said on Sunday he was not worried about French banks being investigated by U.S. authorities after a record fine was imposed on BNP Paribas for violating U.S. sanctions against several countries. On Tuesday, BNP pleaded guilty in the United States to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9 billion to settle accusations it violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran. According to U.S. sources, French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole and Germany’s Deutsche Bank are being investigated for having potentially violated U.S. economic sanctions. Asked if he was worried about the French banks being probed, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said: “No.”

Finnish Couple Wins Wife-Carrying Race (AP)
A Finnish couple has narrowly won the 19th World Wife Carrying Championships – a quirky competition in which men race to be the fastest while carrying a female teammate. Ville Parviainen and Janette Oksman cleared the grueling 253.5 meter (278-yard) obstacle course in 63.75 seconds on Saturday, less than a second ahead of Britain’s Rich Blake Smith and Anna Marguerite Smith. Thirty-six couples from a dozen countries including Australia, Japan, and the United States took part in the race, which was held in the central Finnish municipality of Sonkajarvi, north of the capital, Helsinki. The rules stipulate that the woman must be over 17 years of age and weigh at least 49 kilograms (108 lb). Despite the event’s name couples don’t have to be married, and organizers say male contestants could “borrow a neighbor’s wife” if they didn’t have a female companion. The men can carry their teammate in various ways, though a popular method is for the woman to hang upside-down with her legs around the male contestant’s shoulders. Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.03.14

Goldman says Google has blocked email with leaked client data (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group on Wednesday said Google Inc has blocked access to an email containing confidential client data that a contractor sent to a stranger’s Gmail account by mistake, an error that the bank said threatened a “needless and massive” breach of privacy. The breach occurred on June 23 and included “highly confidential brokerage account information,” Goldman said in a complaint filed on Friday in a New York state court in Manhattan. Goldman did not say how many clients were affected. It has been seeking a court order compelling Google to delete the email, which it said on Wednesday had yet to occur. “Google complied with our request that it block access to the email,” Goldman spokeswoman Andrea Raphael said. “It has also notified us that the email account had not been accessed from the time the email was sent to the time Google blocked access. No client information has been breached.” A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. According to Goldman, the outside contractor had been testing changes to the bank’s internal processes in connection with reporting requirements set forth by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Goldman said the contractor meant to email her report, which contained the client data, to a “gs.com” account, but instead sent it to a similarly named, unrelated “gmail.com” account.

Exclusive: SEC official dissented on BNP Paribas waiver (Reuters)
An official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) broke ranks with other commissioners, and voted against granting BNP Paribas a critical waiver to continue operating several investment advisory units in the United States. Kara Stein, a Democratic SEC commissioner who has recently demanded more accountability for big banks who break the law, was the sole dissenting vote on Monday on the temporary waiver, according to a document made public this week. BNP’s application was granted the same day that BNP, France’s largest bank, pleaded guilty to criminal charges it violated U.S. sanctions. The temporary waiver will become permanent, unless an “interested person” in the matter is granted a hearing. The deadline for requesting a hearing is July 25.

Barclays Probe Casts Ugly Light on Dark Pools (BusinessWeek)
The ultimate promise of a dark pool, however, was that no matter who was invited inside, prices weren’t immediately reported—in theory, at least, limiting the impact a large trade can have on the market. In public exchanges, by contrast, bids and offers are displayed (often at varying speeds depending on which feeds you buy) and prices are reported immediately after a trade is executed. This information can create ripples across the market, allowing faster firms to trade ahead of a big order and make a profit. This was the problem that dark pools sought to fix. By keeping orders in the dark, effectively blinding traders to what was happening around them, there were no ripples. Or if there were, they went unnoticed. The picture Schneiderman paints is much worse. There’s still a room filled with blindfolded traders buying and selling to each other. But now there’s a speed trader or two lurking in the corner, secretly watching everything that’s going on.

JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (Bloomberg)
The bank has deep contingency and succession plans, and Dimon’s illness may serve as no more than a valuable “fire drill,” said Michael Farr, president of Farr Miller & Washington LLC, a Washington-based asset manager that oversees more than $1.1 billion, including JPMorgan shares. “The good news is that every indication is that they will never be needed and that Jamie Dimon has many years to work and that he’ll retire on his own schedule as a much older man,” Farr said. “It feels unfair to watch someone who has really been through so much have to suffer through this.”

Owners send dogs to ‘fat farms’ as more pets become obese (AP)
Growing rates of obesity in pets have led to the emergence of fat farms offering ‘‘pawlates,’’ ‘’doga’’ and ‘‘Barko Polo,’’ doggie versions of Pilates, yoga and Marco Polo to help slim down man’s best friend. In the U.S., 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, up from 45 percent four years ago. In cats, the figure is almost 58 percent, said Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and founder of the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention in Calabash, North Carolina. Overweight pets can suffer diabetes, joint problems, heart disease and decreased life expectancy, just like obese people, he said. Most luxury pet hotels and spas nationwide will customize a fitness program for a pudgy dog or cat, but only a few facilities have fat camps for large groups. For golden retriever Ceili, it was easy to fatten up when living with a boy who pushed tasty morsels over the edge of his high chair. The extra weight led Eileen Bowers of Bedminster, New Jersey, to sign up the more than 100-pound pooch for a five-day fitness camp last month at Morris Animal Inn. Besides the ‘‘pawlates,’’ the camp was filled with swimming, nature hikes, treadmill trots, facials, massages and healthy treats like organic granola, string beans and carrots. It was designed to give Ceili and 40 other dogs a head start on a healthier life, said Debora Montgomery, the New Jersey facility’s spokeswoman…the ‘‘Barko Polo’’ pool game varies from its human inspiration: A staffer will shout ‘‘barko’’ and whichever dog-paddling pooch yelps first gets a toy. Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.02.14

JPMorgan CEO Dimon Will Undergo Treatment for Throat Cancer (Bloomberg)
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), told employees and shareholders in a memo that he’s beginning treatment for throat cancer and will continue to run the company “as normal.” “The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly and my condition is curable,” Dimon said, according to a statement today from the company. “The cancer is confined to the original site and the adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of my neck. Importantly, there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body.” [...] Dimon will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York, he said in the statement. The treatment should take about eight weeks, he said. “While the treatment will curtail my travel during this period, I have been advised that I will be able to continue to be actively involved in our business, and we will continue to run the company as normal,” he wrote. “Our board has been fully briefed and is totally supportive.”

Ousted American Apparel CEO Charney reports 43 percent stake (Reuters)
Dov Charney, ousted as American Apparel Inc’s chairman and chief executive two weeks ago, said he has increased his stake in the apparel retailer to 43 percent, as he fights to regain control of the company he founded. Charney, fired for alleged misuse of corporate funds and his role in disseminating nude photos of an ex-employee, also called for a special meeting of stockholders on Sept. 25. The former CEO and founder, already the biggest shareholder in American Apparel with a previously reported 27.2 percent stake, said he increased his holding last week. The additional shares could enable Charney to gain control of the company if he won the support of shareholders holding 7 percent of the stock.

Goldman ‘Boys Club’ Accused of Mocking Women as ‘Bimbos’ and ‘Party Girls’ (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs was accused of widespread gender discrimination and a “boy’s club” atmosphere that included bouts of binge drinking and trips to strip clubs, as two former female employees seek to expand their lawsuit against the firm with new evidence. The women asked a federal judge in Manhattan today to let them sue on behalf of current and former female associates and vice presidents. Support for their claims includes statements of former Goldman Sachs employees, expert statistical analyses and evidence on earnings and promotions from the firm’s own records, they said in a court filing. “Women report a ‘boy’s club’ atmosphere, where binge drinking is common and women are either sexualized or ignored,” according to the filing. The two women, H. Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich, sued in 2010 and are seeking to broaden the case to include more than a decade of claimed discrimination at Goldman Sachs. A decision by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres to allow the women to sue as a class would increase the risk to Goldman Sachs.

Tinder Is Target of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit (NYT)
Whitney Wolfe, a former executive at the popular dating start-up Tinder, has filed a lawsuit against the company, along with its majority owner, IAC/InterActiveCorp, on sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in state court in Los Angeles, says that Tinder’s chief executive and chief marketing officer subjected Ms. Wolfe to “a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages.” Ms. Wolfe’s suit also said that complaints about the harassment to high-level executives at IAC were ignored and that she was forced to resign as a result. Ms. Wolfe said in the lawsuit that even though she was instrumental in the establishment of the dating app, her colleagues did not call her a founder because of her age and gender. When she would ask why only her name among the five founders was absent from some new coverage, the lawsuit said, the other founders would tell her “you’re a girl” and that a 24-year-old “girl founder” would devalue the company.

Bitcoin Auction Ends, Single Bidder Wins Entire Cache (Bloomberg)
The auction attracted 45 bidders, including New York brokerage SecondMarket Inc., and 63 bids were submitted during the 12 hours of the auction on June 27, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. The agency, which notified the bidder and transferred the money, isn’t disclosing the winner’s identity. The auction of 29,656 bitcoins, part of more than 144,000 the FBI transferred to U.S. Marshals after shutting down the Silk Road marketplace and arresting its operator last year, represented a rare opportunity to secure a large cache of the virtual currency. While the actual price of the winning bid isn’t known, the cache sold yesterday was worth about $19 million at current exchange prices.

Shia LaBeouf voluntarily receiving treatment for alcohol addiction (NYDN)
According to X17Online, the 27-year-old star is getting help at a “celebrity-frequented” treatment facility in Hollywood. LaBeouf was seen heading to the private center Monday afternoon, and greeted at the gate by a nurse and security guard, X17 reports. “Shia was nervous; he didn’t look good all morning,” a photographer told the website. “He was looking down and wasn’t even talking to his driver. It looked like he didn’t want to do it, but he knew he had to.” Earlier in the day the “Fury” actor was seen toting a book, reportedly the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” outside of his Hollywood Hills home. LaBeouf arrived back in Los Angeles over the weekend, after a tumultuous few days in New York City, which included him getting arrested Thursday for disrupting a “Cabaret” performance on Broadway with an apparently drunken display. He was also seen in Times Square earlier that day engaging with a homeless man. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.30.14

Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ)
Blackstone LP LP is quietly laying plans to start a hedge fund that will make big, bold bets, an effort it hopes will eventually rival some of the largest firms in the business, according to people familiar with the plans. The private-equity firm will fund several teams of traders with hundreds of millions of dollars to place a relatively small number of large, highly concentrated wagers, the people said. The strategy is notable now as many hedge funds are shying away from making such outsize bets. Combined, the teams’ investments will form a multistrategy hedge fund to be pitched to wealthy clients. New York-based Blackstone is confident the firm can hedge the overall risks, according to people familiar with the firm’s plans.

BNP Paribas board approves record $8.9B settlement (FT)
BNP Paribas has secured a partial concession on the eve of a record $8.9 billion settlement over alleged sanction violations that US authorities are expected to announce on Monday. The board of France’s biggest bank by market capitalisation met over the weekend to give final approval to the settlement, people familiar with the matter said. On top of the fine for allegedly concealing about $30 billion of transactions for clients in Sudan, Iran and Cuba to dodge Washington’s economic sanctions, the bank is due to submit a guilty plea. However, the people said BNP had negotiated a concession with US authorities who plan to impose a rare suspension for as much as a year on its ability to clear US dollar transactions, which is crucial for its international wholesale banking activity.

Ex-SAC Capital COO Kumin to Start Hedge-Fund Firm (WSJ)
A former senior executive of SAC Capital Advisors LP is planning to start a new stock-trading hedge-fund firm, potentially with a big chunk of funding from Leucadia National Corp., according to people familiar with deal discussions. Solomon “Sol” Kumin, who was SAC’s chief operating officer, is in advanced talks over a deal with Leucadia that would make the company Mr. Kumin’s biggest investor and owner of a substantial portion of his firm, the people said. In total, Mr. Kumin plans to start with between $800 million and $1 billion, which would make it one of the largest hedge funds to launch this year. “I’ve enjoyed the past five months spending time with my family,” Mr. Kumin said when reached by telephone Friday. “I’m looking forward to getting back into the hedge-fund business in September.”

Ergen Sidelined in Battle With Falcone Over LightSquared (Dealbook)
The bitter battle between the billionaires Charles W. Ergen and Philip A. Falcone over LightSquared, the bankrupt wireless broadband company, appears to be nearing an end. The twist is that Mr. Ergen is no longer involved. LightSquared has devised a plan to emerge from bankruptcy with the participation of all of its creditors except Mr. Ergen, the satellite television mogul and chairman of Dish Network and EchoStar, according to a court-appointed mediator, Judge Robert D. Drain. Mr. Ergen, who left one of the three mediation sessions with creditors without Judge Drain’s permission, had not “participated in the mediation in good faith” and “wasted the parties and the mediator’s time and resources,” the judge wrote in a memorandum filed on Friday afternoon.

Beer Makers Pray for a Fruitful Summer (WSJ)
Roughly a third of beer sales in the U.S. take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day, often making or breaking the year. The most critical week is that of July Fourth, when sales traditionally are 30% to 40% higher than the average week, according to industry estimates. High temperatures are a bigger deal for brewers than distillers, which have been converting beer drinkers to cocktails for more than a decade, and are partly responsible for the decline in American beer consumption in four of the past five years.

Drugs not a factor in Shia LaBeouf’s ‘Cabaret’ meltdown (NYP)
Shia LaBeouf’s highly publicized meltdown last Thursday was not influenced by drugs. While drugs didn’t play a part in the awkward showdown, alcohol certainly did, according to E! News. “Drinking and Shia do not mix well,” said a source about the 28-year-old. “But he definitely wasn’t on any kind of drugs.” Before heading to a performance of “Cabaret,” LaBeouf was spotted drinking at least four strawberry margaritas at New York’s Iguana Club. Shortly after, LaBeouf began taunting a homeless man in Times Square for his McDonald’s food. He soon headed to “Cabaret” where he was escorted out in handcuffs after being arrested for disorderly conduct. He allegedly told a cop, “I’ll f—k you up,” and called another officer a “f-g.” According to sources, the famous child actor was muzzled with a face mask for spitting. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.26.14

Dark Pool Greed Drove Barclays to Lie to Clients, N.Y. Says (Bloomberg)
Barclays was so bent on lifting its private trading venue to the upper ranks of Wall Street dark pools that it lied to customers and masked the role of high-frequency traders, according to New York’s attorney general. Barclays falsified marketing materials to hide how much high-frequency traders were buying and selling, according to a complaint filed today by Eric Schneiderman. Barclays runs one of Wall Street’s largest dark pools, a private trading venue where investors can trade stocks mostly anonymously.

Barclays pulls bond offering after lawsuit emerges (Reuters)
Barclays pulled a US$1.5bn bond offering on Wednesday after it emerged that the New York attorney general was preparing to sue the UK bank for securities fraud. It had already amassed more than US$4.5bn in orders for the 10-year subordinated deal, market sources said, when reports of the lawsuit hit trading screens. “Investors just baulked,” one portfolio manager who had been looking at the deal told IFR. “If something dire does come out the suit, then that could mean that the deal has to be nullified anyway – so it was just better to pull it.”

Greek Bonds Beat Lottery as Funds Surge on Smashed Glass (Bloomberg)
The economy will expand this year after the worst downturn in peacetime, the highest unemployment in the region has peaked and investors are buyers of Greek bonds again. The yield on benchmark 10-year government debt is 5.79 percent, down from the high of 44.2 percent in March 2012 — a return better than most winning lottery tickets.

Soccer Break: Why It Pays to Watch the World Cup at Work (CNBC)
Americans aren’t really known for their devotion to soccer, but come Thursday, there are going to be a lot of worker bees stuck in a quandary when the United States faces off against Germany at noon, Eastern Time. Perhaps surprisingly, HR is on your side here. “It’s an inspiring and motivating thing that’s going on, and we need to take advantage of that,” said Monique Honaman, founding partner of HR consulting company ISHR Group.

Puerto Rico Moves to Restructure Debt (WSJ)
Puerto Rico paved the way to overhaul the finances of its power and transportation agencies, potentially saddling investors with losses on about $13.6 billion of debt. Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla proposed legislation Wednesday that would allow some debt-laden public entities to restructure their bonds. The proposed bill doesn’t include a way for the island’s general-obligation bonds and sales-tax debt to be restructured. The step, if approved, would be the first significant move since the Puerto Rico government hired advisers this year to help it find a way to turn around its utilities, which are heavily indebted and face mounting deficits. The island, which has about $70 billion in obligations, has labored under rising unemployment and declining tax revenue.

Man Sues British Airways After He’s Sent To Grenada Instead Of Granada (AP)
A Maryland dentist who said he hadn’t had a vacation in two years, is suing British Airways after a booking mistake landed him in Grenada in the Caribbean instead of Granada, Spain, according to NBC News. Edward Gamson said he told the British Airways booker he wanted to go to Spain and didn’t notice the error on his ticket because it didn’t have an airport code or the flight duration printed on it. He only learned that he was headed to the tiny island nation after his connecting flight in London was in the air and the flight map showed his plane flying west. Gamson said he wasted 375,000 frequent flyer miles for the trip and was only offered $376 for him and his partner and 50,000 miles for their trouble. He is now suing the airline for $34,000 to cover the cost of “pre-booked hotels, trains and other tours” he and his partner had planned, according to NBC. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.25.14

Fight Breaks Out on Floor of New York Merc in Throwback to Bygone Era (The Street)
People who work on the floor of the Merc in lower Manhattan told TheStreet that two traders in the so-called ‘open outcry pits,’ where investors sell futures and options of precious metals, crude oil and natural gas, engaged in what might be euphemistically called a physical confrontation but which a half-dozen people interviewed described as including shoving or throwing punches. The altercation became quite heated, according to four traders, one of whom said someone’s shirt was ripped during the fracas. Two other traders called it a “fist fight.” The two men were subsequently escorted from the building by security, said two security guards. A source said that one trader walked-up to another trader to tell him to get out of “his spot” in the pits. When the “spot” was not vacated, the first trader shoved the other man, another trader said. “We’re not in the schoolyard and you can’t push anybody, and that’s it,” he said. “Once you put your hands on somebody then that’s like the real no-no, so that’s what happened.”

Potential BNP Penalty Worries European Banks (WSJ)
The prospect of a gigantic U.S. penalty against BNP Paribas is sowing fear in the executive suites of other top European banks that also are under investigation for allegedly doing business in countries subject to U.S. sanctions. Officials at Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG, Italy’s UniCredit SpA and France’s Crédit Agricole are all now bracing for bigger penalties than they had previously expected to resolve investigations into alleged violations of U.S. sanctions, industry officials say.

SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
Thomas J. Butler, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Credit Ratings, said he has referred multiple cases to the agency’s enforcement division and is helping complete several industry regulations to address quality and transparency in how big debt deals are rated. Those moves signal a potential flurry of regulatory activity involving ratings firms, which have been largely untouched as government oversight has increased in most other financial sectors in recent years.

Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (Bloomberg)
Ghana has sent a plane carrying more than $3 million in cash to Brazil to pay the World Cup appearance fees owed to the national soccer team, known as the Black Stars. “The players insisted that they will want physical cash,” Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yammin said in comments broadcast by Accra-based Citi FM. “Government had to mobilize the money and a chartered flight to Brazil. The money is in excess of $3 million.” Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama contacted the team and the arrangements for payment were made after, the Ghana Football Association said in a statement on its website. The players will be paid today and government will be reimbursed by money awarded to Ghana by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, the association said.

GoPro Brings Rare Gadget Deal to Hot IPO Market (WSJ)
As the bull market in initial public offerings rolls on, video-camera maker GoPro Inc. is cuing up the largest stock debut by a consumer-electronics company in 23 years. San Mateo, Calif.-based GoPro, along with early investors, plans to sell as much as $427 million of stock in the IPO late Wednesday. That would mark the largest consumer-electronics IPO since battery company Duracell International Inc.’s 1991 debut raised $433 million, according to data provider Dealogic. Gillette Co., now a unit of Procter & Gamble Co., bought Duracell in 1997. GoPro is the latest consumer business to cash in on investor demand for U.S. stocks, which has given the likes of microblogging service Twitter Inc., perfume maker Coty Inc. and theme-park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. a window to float shares in the past year and a half.

Drunk Driver Falls Out of Own Vehicle, Runs Over Self (KX News)
30-year-old Robert Alan Pullar is charged with DUI, driving with a suspended licence, and refusal to submit to a chemical test. The incident happened early Saturday morning. Police say Pullar was driving on Hiawatha Street near 15 1/2 Ave SE when he fell out onto the street. Police say his vehicle continued forward, striking him. He was able to get back in the vehicle and drive away, but officers tracked him down later and made the arrest. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.24.14

Allergan Rejects Latest Offer from Valeant (WSJ)
Allergan again rebuffed advances from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., saying Monday that its board has unanimously determined that the unsolicited exchange offer to acquire all of the Botox maker’s shares outstanding is “grossly inadequate.” Allergan said its board strongly recommends that Allergan shareholders not tender any Allergan shares to Valeant, adding that the offer substantially undervalues the company, creates significant risks and uncertainties for Allergan shareholders, and isn’t in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. A representative for Valeant said Allergan’s rejection of the proposal is based on assumptions about the business that aren’t supported by the facts. Pershing Square didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dean Foods Subpoenaed in Icahn Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
Federal authorities have sought information from two companies in connection with an insider-trading investigation of activist investor Carl Icahn, sports bettor William T. Walters, and golfer Phil Mickelson, according to people familiar with the matter. Dean Foods Co. in recent weeks received a subpoena from criminal authorities ordering the company to produce information, said a person familiar with the matter. Clorox Co. and Mr. Icahn received requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011 related to trading in the company’s shares, according to a person familiar with the matter. Neither of those developments has been previously reported. In the case of Dean Foods, authorities are probing whether Mr. Walters provided stock tips to Mr. Mickelson, said people familiar with the matter. In the case of Clorox, investigators are looking into whether Mr. Icahn tipped Mr. Walters about his actions involving Clorox, the people said.

Ex-Millennium Fund Manager Gets Four Years in Prison (Bloomberg)
Former Millennium Global Investments portfolio manager Michael Balboa was sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding investors by inflating the value of Nigerian sovereign debt by $80 million. Balboa, convicted in December in a retrial in Manhattan federal court, had faced a possible life sentence because of the size of his fraud. The U.S. said investors lost more than $390 million based on Balboa’s misstatements…Balboa, a London-based investment manager, was convicted of providing fake valuations to inflate month-end market prices on Nigerian warrants. The scheme generated millions of dollars in management and performance fees for which he earned as much as $6.5 million, prosecutors said.

American Apparel: Charney’s Bad Behavior Was Very, Very Expensive (BusinessWeek)
Dov Charney’s behavior has never been a secret. For starters, as the chief executive of American Apparel (APP), he occasionally walked around the Los Angeles headquarters in his underwear. He was open about his libertine attitudes toward sex in general and sex in the workplace in particular, at one point “putting on a show” for a journalist on assignment for Jane magazine. So when Charney was fired last week “for cause,” it was reasonable to wonder “why now?” In his termination letter, posted on BuzzFeed yesterday, the board accuses him of sexually harassing employees, paying off some of them with “significant” severance packages, and refusing to participate in sexual harassment training…It is true that Charney’s antics are not new, but apparently they have grown unacceptably expensive. The [termination] letter to Charney eventually comes around to this point: “Your conduct has required the Company to incur significant and unwarranted expenses, including expenses associated with litigation and defense costs, significant settlement payments, substantial severance packages that were granted to employees, and unwarranted business expenses that you incurred for personal reasons. The Company’s employment practices liability insurance retention has grown to $1 million from $350,000. … The resources American Apparel had to dedicate to defend the numerous lawsuits resulting from your conduct, and the loss of critical, qualified Company employees as a result of your misconduct cannot be overlooked.”

How Marissa Mayer Fell Asleep and Kept Ad Executives Waiting For Hours (CMO Today)
Last Tuesday evening, Interpublic Group arranged a private dinner at the swanky L’Oasis for Ms. Mayer to meet executives from marketers such as Mondelez International , brewer MillerCoors and Greek yogurt maker Chobani. It was supposed to be a chance for Interpublic and some of its clients to get a first hand update from Ms. Mayer on what Yahoo has to offer. But Ms. Mayer was nearly two hours late, and several dinner attendees including IPG Chief Executive Michael Roth ended up leaving before she arrived, people familiar with the matter said. Ms. Mayer told some attendees that she had fallen asleep, some of the people said.

Crash captain left helm for ‘drunken 3-way sex romp’ (NYP)
Craig Gallo…was busy messing around with a pal and a woman they’d just met when his 28-foot Wellcraft boat crashed early Sunday into runway approach lights at La Guardia Airport, sources told The Post. Gallo later admitted to cops that he’d been drinking and was involved in a boating accident, prosecutors said.“I was driving, I had a few beers,” Gallo told cops, who noticed he reeked of booze. Gallo, who was arrested in 1999 for urinating in public, refused a Breathalyzer test…The boat captain and friend James Benenato, 60, were boozing it up from 9 pm to 11:30 pm at a tiki party at the Arrow Yacht Club in College Point, when they picked up Mary Ann Belson, sources said. Gallo docks his 1981 fishing boat at Skyline Marina next door. The crash happened at 11:47 pm, cops said. Both Gallo and Belson, 60, suffered facial injuries in the crash, while Benenato, 60, was not hurt. Photos taken after the crash showed a dozen or so Budweiser beer cans overflowing a bucket and strewn about the deck and cabin, with sheets and clothing strewn about the ship’s cramped cabin. Read more »