The Latest

  • 05 Aug 2014 at 12:00 PM

Andrew Ross Sorkin Smells Something Fishy

Late last week, Botox-maker Allergan Inc sued Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Pershing Square, alleging the latter two had engaged in insider trading when Pershing bought $1 billion worth of Allergan shares ahead of a takeover offer by the hedge fund and Valeant. On the suggestion of wrongdoing, Valeant called with charges “baseless,” while Ackman stated in a press release that “This is a shameless attempt by Allergan to delay the shareholders’ fundamental right to call a special meeting and vote their shares. Allergan is threatened by our progress toward calling the special meeting. This scorched-earth approach is further evidence of the board’s and management’s further entrenchment.”

Not entirely convinced? Dealbook‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin, who in his column today says WAIT JUST A SECOND, PEOPLE. Read more »

  • 05 Aug 2014 at 10:55 AM
  • Banks

Lehman Brothers Still A Totally Viable Business

The corpse of the investment bank has made $8.3 billion more than it expected since it stopped being an investment bank three years and change ago. Read more »

Opening Bell: 08.05.14

Argentina launches investigation into holdouts’ investments (Reuters)
Argentina’s markets watchdog on Monday launched an investigation into what it believes may have been unlawful speculation by holdout creditors whose litigation against the country for repayment of their defaulted bonds pushed it into a new default last week. The government also reiterated its fierce criticism of the mediator in debt talks with the holdout hedge funds for being “biased” and a “spokesman of the vulture funds”…The head of Argentina’s Securities Commission Alejandro Vanoli said it had asked its U.S. counterpart for information on trade of Argentina’s sovereign debt and credit default swaps (CDS), derivatives used to insure against default.

AIG Posts Rise in Profit, Settles Crisis-Era Suit (WSJ)
Outgoing American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche left parting gifts for his successor, delivering strong earnings and settling a large piece of crisis-era litigation. In the last earnings report overseen by Mr. Benmosche, the New York-based insurer on Monday posted a 13% jump in second-quarter profit, aided by solid results in its core operations and a gain from the last of a series of divestitures prompted by its 2008 government bailout. Separately, AIG agreed to pay $960 million to settle claims that it misled investors about its financial health from 2006 to 2008, in one of the largest settlements of investor litigation stemming from the financial crisis.

Golf Resorts Change Course to Attract Younger Generation (NYT)
“Meeting people my own age, they end up being surprised that I golf,” said T. C. Green, a New York City business analyst who organizes golf outings for young professionals. Mr. Green, 31, said participants had told him they were glad to find a group of like-minded people their own age. “I get that all the time,” he said. “Now people have a venue to meet other people who golf.” Mr. Green acknowledged that he was in the minority, though. “I’ve been looking for different ways to get people to come out,” he said. Resorts are pondering that question, too, making changes that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago, adding speakers to golf carts and Wi-Fi access on the course, building high-tech training centers and miniature golf putting courses, and peppering corporate golf events with tangentially related activities like using golf clubs to hit marshmallows or throwing Frisbees around the course.

Credit Agricole Net Falls 98% on Banco Espirito Santo (Bloomberg)
Net income fell 98 percent to 17 million euros ($23 million) from 696 million euros a year earlier, France’s third-biggest bank said in a statement. Ignoring the 708 million euros in costs related to its 14.6 percent Banco Espirito Santo stake and some one-time charges, profit rose to 1 billion euros.

Murdoch’s Fox expected to push for Time Warner deal on Wednesday (Reuters)
Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox is expected to make an aggressive case for merging with Time Warner during its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, though people familiar with the company’s plans have said it would not use that forum to raise its bid…Though Fox is expected to raise its offer it will not rise beyond the range of $90 to $95 per share, a person familiar with Fox told Reuters on July 25. The timing of another offer is unclear. Some analysts have said that an even higher bid would be needed to win over Time Warner management and shareholders.

Gator Knocks On Florida Couple’s Door (HP)
A Coral Springs, Florida, couple were perplexed when they heard a knock on their door early Thursday morning. But their confusion soon turned to shock when they found a 9-foot alligator camped out on their doorstep. “It was nuts, I couldn’t believe it,” resident Luann Alonso said, according to NBC Miami. “I thought it was not real.” Her husband, Jorge, heard a racket outside and thought it was a raccoon. He turned the porch lights on to scope out the scene and saw the huge gator. “As soon as I turned the light on, I saw that big gator right in front of the door,” Alonso told WFOR. “The tail was facing the front window and his body was against the door and we couldn’t get out.” Alonso, who usually walks the family dog early in the morning, said he’s lucky he didn’t stumble across the animal. The couple called police, who had a trapper get rid of the gator. The 9-foot reptile is considered a nuisance and will not be returned to the wild, according to CBS Miami. Read more »

Write-Offs: 08.04.14

$$$ HSBC Chief Warns of Growing Risk Aversion Among Bankers [WSJ]

$$$ Buffett Waits on Fat Pitch as Cash Hoard Tops $50 Billion [Bloomberg]

$$$ ‘I have a meeting in Westchester’ and other essential code words for PE newbies [PE Hub]

$$$ “Oftentimes, you’ll hear some hedge-fund manager say, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to stir class resentment’. No. Feel free to keep your house in the Hamptons and your corporate jet, etc. I’m not concerned about how you’re living. I am concerned about making sure that we have a system in which the ordinary person who is working hard and is being responsible can get ahead and are seeing modest improvements in their life prospects, if not for themselves, then certainly for the next generation.” [Economist]

$$$ A man wearing a Raphael costume took a knee on Saturday and proposed to a woman dressed as Leonardo — in front of an entire stadium of fans at a Fresno Grizzlies game. [HP] Read more »

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Early this year, a New York State Lottery winner in Brooklyn approached Morgan Stanley with a problem: he needed to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars before he collected his prize money. The man, a Russian immigrant, wanted money to help move his family to a secure location before he redeemed his ticket and possibly became famous, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He also wanted advice about what to do with his prize money, which was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The bank’s wealth management unit decided to make the loan to win a new customer, a step it is increasingly willing to make as it builds up its brokerage unit…Industry sources said they had never heard of a loan against a lottery ticket, though they cited other examples of atypical collateral that other banks have loaned against, including a client in Texas who borrowed against the future offspring of his prize bulls, and a client who borrowed against future ticket sales of a professional sports team he owned. [Reuters]

Got some restless regulators with lots of energy that could easily be misdirected towards mischief during these dog days of summer? Let Yale’s School of Management take them off your hands and out of your ears for a few weeks. Read more »

Some signs you might be in for a career change:

  • You call in sick to do Crossfit
  • You wear your Crossfit clothes under your work clothes
  • You fantasize about doing Crossfit
  • The only time you’re happy is while doing Crossfit

Jay Adams knows what we’re talking about. Read more »

Sudhir Kumar Jain is sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the $80K that found its way to him from some companies that needed a little more time to pay their debt. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation is less so. Read more »