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Along with not scoring goals, the country is also not doing anything about paying its bills and thus avoiding having as many defaults in the 21st century as it had World Cup titles in the 20th. Read more »

  • 14 Jul 2014 at 12:34 PM
  • oh that

$7 Billion Settlements Aside, Citi’s Earnings Are Kick-Ass

Citigroup‘s profits tumbled 96 percent in the second quarter, dragged down by a huge charge related to its recently announced deal with the Justice Department to settle an investigation into its sale of mortgage securities in the run up to the financial crisis. The charge for the legal settlement totaled $3.8 billion, marring an otherwise relatively strong quarter for the bank that was helped by better than expected trading results. Not accounting for the legal charge, or other one-time items, Citigroup exceeded Wall Street expectations in the second quarter with adjusted earnings of $1.24 a share, On that basis, analysts had been expecting Citigroup would earn $1.05 a share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters…Earlier on Monday, the bank announced a $7 billion deal with the Justice Department. The deal includes a $4 billion cash penalty, the largest yet by a large bank to settle federal investigations of mortgage misdeeds. [Dealbook]

As many of you will recall, at the end of last week, Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino tweeted the following: “Irony of #sunvalley: media conf closed to the media guarded by bullying and fat ex cops like the guy I told to stop bullying my producer.” At the time, we assumed Gasparino was merely adding depth to his coverage of the conference with some of his patented “behind the scenes”-style tweets. According to FBN’s sister publication, however, the 140 characters were precipitated by this:

The tension began Wednesday night when Gasparino and two of his producers crashed a party that was off-limits to the press. Words were exchanged and they were ordered to leave by MSA Security’s Brian Coughlin, whose day job is with the NYPD bomb squad…Then, on Thursday, Gasparino got into a shouting match with the same security guard and was ordered off the grounds of the mountain resort — “You’re out of here,” Coughlin said.

Did the order– which was apparently followed by an official “trespass citation”– stop Charles from doing his job? Maybe a lesser reporter would’ve cut his/her losses, not deigning to do segments on the side of a highway, but not Charles. Read more »

It’s just not insider trading. Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.14.14

Bitcoin by Bitcoin, the Winklevii ETF Inches Closer to Reality (Bloomberg)
It looks increasingly like the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust (COIN) will actually launch. If it hits the market later this year, it will come a decade after the inception of the world’s largest gold fund, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD). COIN was modeled on GLD and in some ways is trying to be a new generation’s version of gold. The cyptocurrency would move closer to the mainstream in an exchange-traded fund wrapper. There’s still no guarantee COIN will be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. There are more than a thousand prospectuses for ETFs sitting with the SEC, and hundreds of reserved tickers sitting with stock exchanges. And this approval would be the first of its kind — a virtual asset.

Investigators Probe the Ways a Swiss Broker Courted Libyan Business (WSJ)
At a luxury villa in the Moroccan desert, an international brokerage firm hosted getaways for Libyans connected to the country’s oil-rich sovereign-wealth funds. The men spent their days lounging poolside and nights partying at clubs in Marrakesh. The jaunts were part of a campaign by Tradition Financial Services of Switzerland to win business in Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya, an effort that included hiring relatives of senior Libyan officials, according to people who attended and to former employees of the firm. The tactics evidently worked. Tradition for years handled investments for the Libyan funds, earning millions of dollars in commissions. Now its efforts are under scrutiny in wide-ranging U.S. and British corruption probes that are examining the lengths to which some Western financial firms went to gain a piece of Libya’s oil wealth.

Behind the Scenes of Citigroup’s $7 Billion Settlement (WSJ)
The negotiations are stoking banks’ fears that the Justice Department is getting increasingly heavy-handed against the industry, while investors are worried that bank penalties will be decided not by a formula but by the subjective measures of the government. The deal also could be seen as a key test for Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, who was given the top job in 2012 with a mandate to improve the bank’s relationship with the government. Meanwhile, Mr. Holder has faced constant criticism from Congress and elsewhere that his Justice Department has been too soft on financial institutions.

Bankrupt Crumbs Might Be Saved (NYP)
Crumbs Bake Shop has a deal, which if approved by a bankruptcy judge, could reopen the cupcake maker, according to a court filing on Friday.
Crumbs, which specialized in oversized cupcakes and went public in 2011, shuttered its nearly 50 locations in 10 states on Monday. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday. The new ownership comprises Marcus Lemonis, star of the reality show “The Profit” and known as the “business turnaround king” and Fischer Enterprise, the owner of Dippin Dots. The two would provide debtor-in-possession financing and subsequently buy the cupcake chain through a joint venture called Lemonis Fischer Acquisition Co, according to the filing. They would take Crumbs private and reopen its stores and resume operations.

Barry’s Bootcamp Considers Strategic Options Including Sale (WSJ)
Barry’s Bootcamp, a group fitness chain that counts celebrities among its clients, is considering strategic options including a sale or capital raise, according to people familiar with the matter. The company, which offers a bootcamp-style workouts in a nightclub setting, could fetch $100 million in a sale, two people said. One person said that figure would be on the high end and another said even more was possible. Investment bank Moelis & Co. is expected to contact potential buyers or investors in a process that would kick off later this summer or early fall, the people said. Founded in 1998 by fitness instructor Barry Jay, the company is considered fast growing, the people said. It currently operates out of 14 locations, mostly in the U.S. but also including Norway and London. Private-equity firms, which are increasingly investing in the health and wellness sector, are potential suitors for Barry’s, one of the people said.

Guy Who Called LeBron James the ‘Whore of Akron’ Forgives Him Now (NYM)
Esquire‘s Scott Raab, whose book The Whore of Akron is about how much he hated LeBron James for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers, no longer hates LeBron James. No hard feelings, he says! “Broadway Danny Rose said it best — ‘Acceptance, forgiveness, and love,’” Raab wrote. “As human beings, that’s the only recipe for leading a righteous life in this world. Such words — from the famous and unfamous — come cheap. But you’re living those truths now, walking that walk. Who am I to hold a grudge?” Read more »

Write-Offs: 07.11.14

$$$ Investors Pull Assets from Boaz Weinstein Saba Capital Hedge Fund [WSJ]

$$$ What’s next for CYNK traders and promoters? [CNBC]

$$$ Since its June 25 release, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has risen as high as second among most-downloaded free-to-play games at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s U.S. App Store, and the well-reviewed title yesterday was third. Its success has driven shares of creator Glu Mobile Inc. (GLUU) up 42 percent. [Bloomberg]

$$$ Charney’s American Apparel Fate Hinges on New Directors [Bloomberg]

$$$ SEC Protects Integrity of Markets, Also Golf [BloombergView/Matt]

$$$ Iowa Cops Arrest Man Named Shelby Mustang GT500 Miller [TSG] Read more »

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  • 11 Jul 2014 at 4:45 PM

SEC, FINRA Halt CYNK Freefall At 33%

You can’t trade the revenue-less, asset-less, member-less social network for two weeks, because, well, you know. Read more »

By day, Jeff Klaips manages a construction clean-up company in a Chicago suburb, but he’s also looking to make a pretty penny from the sale of BillAckman.com and WilliamAckman.com. He’s been trying to pique the interest of the Pershing Square Capital Management founder-or someone who’d like to use his name. Klaips already made a profit from EddieLampert.com, the name of the ESL founder. Inspired by seeing Lampert on CNBC, Klaips says he purchased the domain name on an impulse in 2004…On New Year’s Eve this past year, he received an email from an IT person who works for ESL and was looking to purchase the EddieLampert.com site. Klaips had initially asked $9,000 for the domain, but the hedge fund representative talked him down to $4,200…Ackman has not been willing to deal. [Absolute Return]