Dow Chemical’s management team are “going to be great listeners” to ideas from shareholders on improving the company’s performance, its chief executive Andrew Liveris has promised. Speaking as the company reported better than expected earnings for the third quarter, Mr Liveris said on Wednesday that he had been continuing to speak with Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital and other shareholders about how to raise Dow’s share price…Third Point, an activist hedge fund, in January revealed it had taken a stake in Dow and called for the group to be broken up, saying it “woefully underperformed” over the past decade…On Wednesday Mr Liveris denied that he had an “adversarial” relationship with Mr Loeb or other investors, and promised to listen to their analysis, but said he sometimes had to point out to them where they were wrong. [FT]
Area CEO Loves Listening To Dan Loeb Tell Him How Much He Sucks, Can’t Wait For More Where That Came FromBy Bess Levin
This December will mark five years since Patricia Cohen, Steve’s first wife, came back into his life with the fury of a thousand Preet Bhararas. To celebrate, he’s going to smother her with a pillow. Just kidding, that’s for year six. For five, he’s going with this: Read more »
As those of you keeping up with the conscious uncoupling of Kenneth Griffin and his soon-to-be ex-wife Anne Dias Griffin know, both the Citadel founder and his bride have been playing the hardest of ball re: marital assets, reputations, etc, since he filed for divorce over the summer, maintaining, through their attorneys, that each other can suck it. For her part, Anne has alleged that Ken:
- Surprised her divorce papers while she was on vacation with their three children
- Had a couple’s therapist he was seeing on his own convince her to sign a pre-nup
- Is an absentee father
- Changed the locks on their houses
- “…threatened to demolish part of the family’s primary Chicago residence”
In response, Ken has:
- Reminded Anne about the time he dressed up “as Spider-Man for a school Halloween party and as a prince for a daughter’s birthday party”
- Reiterated that if Anne thinks she’s getting a dime more the prenup stipulates, she oughta think again
…and most recently, said in court filings that 1. Use of his private jet is privilege, not a right and 2. What she might have interpreted as terrifying verbal abuse was simply how he talks when he’s divorcing someone and not cause for alarm. Read more »
Credit Suisse Profit More Than Doubles as Trading Rises (Bloomberg)
Net income more than doubled to 1.03 billion Swiss francs ($1.08 billion), the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. That compares with 454 million francs a year ago and beat the 809 million-franc average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan said earnings at the investment bank reflected “robust client activity” across businesses, while October has been “mixed.” Last week, he promoted two investment bankers in a revamp that boosts the influence of the securities unit within the executive board. Trading activity has benefited from price swings stemming from a stronger U.S. dollar and a slowdown in the European economy.
Hedge Funds Add To Venture Capital Bounty (WSJ)
Maverick Capital Ltd., one of the oldest hedge-fund firms, plans to launch its first venture-capital fund on Jan. 1, according to investors, with hopes of raising $400 million to take stakes in young companies. In pitching the fund at Maverick’s annual investor meeting last week, one investor said, founder Lee Ainslie III said the New York firm was seeing the best opportunities in many years for making early-stage investments in private companies. Such deals aren’t the bread and butter of hedge funds, which typically bet on the moves of stocks and other publicly traded assets. But Maverick, with roughly $9 billion under management, is among a growing number of Wall Street firms that are trying to get a piece of the lofty valuations being achieved by startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. New York investment firms Tiger Global Management LLC and Coatue Management LLC have been players on the West Coast venture-capital market. Tiger Global, which started as a hedge fund, now manages more money in its venture funds than in its hedge funds, according to a person familiar with the firm. Hedge-fund firm Valiant Capital Management LP, out of San Francisco, has also been active.
UBS Hunts for Millionaires in Hong Kong’s Nine Dragons (Bloomberg)
UBS is seeking to bolster its position as the largest manager of private wealth in Asia by looking for millionaires in an unlikely place: the lower-income part of Hong Kong. Switzerland’s largest bank is searching for clients in Kowloon, a name derived from the Cantonese translation for “nine dragons,” and the New Territories, said Amy Lo, the Hong Kong and Greater China head for UBS’s wealth unit. While average incomes are 27 percent lower on the north side of Victoria Harbour than on Hong Kong Island, the business people include toy, electronic and plastics entrepreneurs who like being closer to their factories in mainland China. UBS is targeting as many as 25,000 such individuals who each have at least $1 million in cash and liquid assets, according to Lo.
As Facebook Eyes China, Zuckerberg Makes Ties With Chinese Business School (BusinessWeek)
In its quest to dominate the social media industry worldwide, Facebook has long hankered after China, where the company been been banned since 2009. Facebook may have just gained a foothold to help it infiltrate the Chinese market: the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to the board of one of China’s top business schools, the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.
California venture firm does not have to release documents in discrimination suit (Reuters)
California’s privacy laws have saved a high-profile venture capital firm from having to release potentially embarrassing information about a former partner in a discrimination lawsuit by a former female partner. A judge ruled Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, defending itself against allegations of discrimination and retaliation, will be able to keep to itself any other harassment complaints against former male partner at the center of the lawsuit, Ajit Nazre, in part because producing such complaints would hurt the privacy rights of other Kleiner employees. The suit, brought in 2012 by former partner Ellen Pao, claims discrimination and retaliation at the firm and helped kick off a broad and ongoing discussion in Silicon Valley about sexism in technology.
Could Allen Stanford go free? Convicted fraudster appeals (CNBC)
Jailed financier R. Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of running a massive global Ponzi scheme that rivals the Madoff scandal, says he is the victim of an illegal prosecution, and “the clearest of assaults on the U.S. Constitution.” The comments come in Stanford’s formal appeal of his conviction, filed in federal court on Wednesday. Stanford wrote the appeal himself at the prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence. Having fired the last of a string of court-appointed attorneys, and with no funds to hire a replacement, he is representing himself even though he has no legal background. He has also asked to argue his case in person before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, a task normally handled by experienced attorneys. Stanford calls the case against him a “reckless action,” and accuses authorities of a “by-any-means pursuit” of him to cover up their missteps in the still-unfolding financial crisis.
Romanian Princess Irina Walker Sentenced For Cockfighting (AP)
A Romanian princess was sentenced Wednesday to probation after apologizing for her role in an Oregon cockfighting enterprise that she said brought shame to her and her family. “I’m very sorry about my involvement in this business,” Irina Walker told a federal judge before she was given three years’ probation. “It was not my intention to go against the law.” She and her husband John Walker both pleaded guilty in July to operating an illegal gambling business. John Walker, a former sheriff’s deputy, was also sentenced to probation by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman…Irina Walker, 61, is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I, who was forced to abdicate by communists in 1947. The judge agreed to let the Walkers travel internationally during their probation after their attorneys said the 93-year-old former king has health problems and Irina wants to visit while he’s still alive. The Walkers were arrested in 2013 after authorities said they staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies in a barn at their ranch in Irrigon, 175 miles east of Portland. The Walkers charged spectators each $20 to watch roosters with knives attached to their legs fight to the death. Crowds generally exceeded 100 people, and the couple also made money from the sale of alcohol. Authorities said the people who brought roosters paid $1,000 to enter the fights, and the prizes ranged from $10,000 to $18,000. The person whose roosters won the most matches took home the money, except for 10 percent kept by referees. Read more »
$$$ Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift [Bloomberg]
$$$ Betting big on marijuana futures with the Wolf of Weed Street [Men's Journal]
$$$ “The financial community has done well, but a lot of people have been left behind,” Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, said at the Robin Hood Investors Conference on Tuesday in Manhattan. “We should be asking the bigger question, ‘Are the investments we’re making good for society?’ ” [NetNet]
HOW *DARE* YOU
Goldman Sachs: Sex Discrimination Practices At The Bank Are A Lot More Nuanced Than Ex-Employees Are Making Them Out To BeBy Bess Levin
Goldman commissioned its own study re: certain allegations of gender discrimination and the results show there’s a lot that went over Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich’s heads. Read more »
Regulators want detailed plans about protecting your free tee-shirts from Russian hackers, too. Read more »