The Latest

Opening Bell: 07.11.14

Cynk Suspended by SEC After No-Member Network’s Surge (Bloomberg)
Cynk Technology Corp., the supposed operator of a social network that caught the attention of the financial world with its skyrocketing stock price, was suspended from trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The halt is because of “concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in CYNK’s common stock,” the SEC said today on its website. Judith Burns, a spokeswoman for the agency, declined to comment further. Cynk’s social network appears to have no members, no revenue, no assets and only one employee. The stock-price chart has been the talk of all manner of business blogs and Twitter pundits, from Business Insider to the Wall Street Journal and Zero Hedge, which has called Cynk’s moves “pure madness.”

Wells Fargo’s Profit Edges Up (WSJ)
Wells Fargo reported net income of $5.73 billion, compared with $5.52 billion a year earlier. Per-share earnings, reflecting the payment of preferred dividends, were $1.01 versus 98 cents a year earlier. Revenue slipped 1.5% to $21.07 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of $1.01 on revenue of $20.84 billion.

Ex-Merrill Lynch Banker Uses Big Data to Save U.K. Pubs (Bloomberg)
The Oxford-educated Bulkin, 37, spent 15 years cutting deals as a mergers & acquisitions banker for Merrill Lynch and Lazard Ltd. before leaving last year to start his own pub company, Hawthorn Leisure Ltd. He’s acquired hundreds of struggling pubs and plans to turn them around by tracking everything from the price charged for beer to daily sales fluctuations to customers’ drink preferences. “Understanding pricing and the mix of drinks is incredibly important,” Bulkin says in an office overlooking Hyde Park in London’s upscale Mayfair district. “A lot of pubs don’t have that data. If you can make them the core of your business, there’s a fantastic opportunity.”

London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (Bloomberg)
To gauge London’s place in the global economy, you could examine World Bank statistics, canvass investors and analyze trade volumes. Or you could visit Mahiki, a Polynesian-themed nightclub in upmarket Mayfair where a bottle of Cristal Champagne goes for $719 — and Russian customers are being supplanted by revelers from countries including China and Nigeria. “We’re seeing a lot less Russian surnames on the booking sheet,” said Michael Evans, the creative director of the club, where the likes of Rihanna and Prince Harry have been spotted after dark. “It’s very easy to see what’s going on in the world from the markets we attract.”

Rajaratnam acquittal shows indirect insider trading case challenge (Reuters)
The acquittal on Tuesday of the younger brother of convicted hedge fund titan Raj Rajaratnam suggests prosecutors will have a tougher time pursuing people accused of trading on inside information they received indirectly. Roughly a third of the insider trader defendants charged by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara since 2009 are alleged so-called “remote tippees”. According to prosecutors, in such cases the defendant, or “tippee,” never directly talks to the insider, instead getting information from an intermediary. After the case of former Galleon Group fund manager Rengan Rajaratnam, prosecutors may reevaluate how they build similar cases, said James Cox, a law professor at Duke University.

Gym Teacher, Suspended For Twerking With Students (HP)
Courtney Spruill, who teaches history and PE at Kernan Middle School in Jacksonville was suspended for 15 days without pay on July 1. The tush-shaking tips allegedly occurred in May during a party for the girls’ soccer team that took place at the house of one of the players. Spruill is the team coach. Witnesses at the party told Duval County School Board investigators they saw Spruill drinking vodka and twerking on the players. Investigators also say they reviewed a cellphone video of Spruill getting a lap dance from a student at the party, WPTV TV reports. Read more »

Write-Offs: 07.10.14

$$$ Alibaba Could Kick Off IPO Process by Month’s End [WSJ]

$$$ A group of investors could be ready to save Crumbs Bake Shop, the New York-based cupcake chain that abruptly shut its doors Monday and said it was considering filing for bankruptcy. Marcus Lemonis, a CNBC reality-show host and chief executive of big-box retailer Camping World, is part of an investment group interested in extending financing to Crumbs, CNBC reported Thursday. The investment group could also include Fischer Enterprises, CNBC reports. [WSJ]

$$$ Dov Charney’s Sleazy Struggle for Control of American Apparel [BusinessWeek]

$$$ Steven Cohen’s $98M One Beacon Court PH off the market [The Real Deal]

$$$ John Mayer Was Approached About Doing a Princess Bride Musical [Jezebel] Read more »

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  • 10 Jul 2014 at 5:44 PM

Greg Smith-Lite Wants To Lend You Some Money

Steven Mandis knows what we’re talking about. Read more »


[via @cgasparino]

“The market” can. Well, a market. And that price is somewhere north of $4 billion, whether those introductions are imaginary or not.

Obviously, the odyssey of CYNK Technology, the company with no assets and no revenues but with a 24,000% return over the last few weeks—which is great for whoever owns the 100,000 shares (out of nearly 300 million “outstanding”) that changed hands yesterday—has captivated the internet this week. But what do we really know about what seems to be one of the more obvious pump-and-dumps of all time? Read more »

Hundreds of undergraduates are starting internships at banks this summer, typically eight to 10 weeks with a salary equivalent to £45,000 a year. Soon follow the graduates, starting their careers as banking analysts, earning about £45,000 plus bonus. The median salary reported by university-leavers last year was £20,500… At the banks, there is a concern they might not meet the younger generation’s expectations. Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, characterises this cohort as worldly, precocious and needy. Used to instant feedback and hands-on parenting, they are less likely to toil away quietly, paying their dues. Not yet teenagers on 9/11, they entered university in a recession that made many suspicious of institutions. One graduate had this to say to Mr Tulgan about financiers: “I know they think they are masters of the universe, but the Soviet Union disappeared overnight. So could they.” [FT]

Hedge fund manager Louis Bacon and thespian Sean Connery, among others, want to know why the Bahamian government is letting “eccentric Canadian fashion mogul” Peter Nygard stick around and bother its citizens. Read more »

Steven A. Cohen proved to be a stickler for the letter of the law when it came to paying the criminal penalty imposed on his former hedge fund as part of its guilty plea on insider trading charges. On April 10, Judge Laura Taylor Swain of Federal District Court in Manhattan gave Mr. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors up to 90 days to pay the $848 million penalty, part of an overall $1.2 billion criminal settlement reached with prosecutors last November. On Tuesday, the 90th day since Judge Swain accepted the firm’s guilty plea, Mr. Cohen’s firm made that payment, according to court records. [Dealbook]