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Thankfully, the e-commerce giant came to its senses before Ichan had to go all Queens schoolyard on its ass. The only reason he gave them an extension on his patience is because he’s actually had great success selling his knickknacks on the site. Read more »

This and other conclusions were reached by a not-so-top-secret report commissioned by his successor at the New York Fed. Other conclusions: the regulator could stand to start speaking up, having useful ideas, not being afraid of Goldman Sachs. Read more »

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 »

Write-Offs: 09.29.14

$$$ Argentina Found in Contempt of U.S. Court in Bond Dispute [Bloomberg]

$$$ Pimco deletes all Bill Gross tweets [BI]

$$$ Bond Traders Are Fading Away [BusinessWeek]

$$$ New Pimco chiefs aim to calm waters [NYP]

$$$ Feds: NYC Mailman Hoarded 40,000 Pieces Of Undelivered Mail In His Home, Car, Locker [TSG] Read more »

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  • 29 Sep 2014 at 4:38 PM

David Einhorn Just Came Into Some Bagel Money

The Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, whose bagel shops include Einstein Brothers Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel, said on Monday that it would sell itself to JAB Holding Company, a German conglomerate formerly called Joh. A. Benckiser, for about $374 million. The price of $20.25 a share in cash represents a 47 percent premium over Einstein Noah’s 30-day average trading price, the company said…David Einhorn, whose hedge fund is Einstein Noah’s largest shareholder, with a stake above 35 percent, said he supported the sale to JAB. He called the deal a “win-win for all parties.” “For more than a decade, we have worked closely with the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group to execute a turnaround plan, reducing debt and expanding its store footprint,” Mr. Einhorn said in a statement. “J.A.B. is an experienced firm that will lead Einstein Noah Restaurant Group into its next phase of growth.” [Dealbook]

  • 29 Sep 2014 at 4:23 PM

Firing/Clawback Watch ’14: Lloyds

The British bank has told 8 employees to turn in their ID badges and cough up their bonuses. Read more »


[via @jennablan, earlier re: horses]

Greenwich Man Turns 60

Sure, Paul Tudor Jones got a bit of an early start to the celebrating earlier this month with a serenading by Bon Jovi, but the Greenwich Daily Voice reminds us that the Tudor Investment Corp. founder, former documentary film star and, most importantly to GDV readers, Halloween party and Christmas light show impresario was actually born 60 years ago yesterday. Read more »