The Latest

There is much handwringing in certain hedge-fund capitals over the demise of AbbVie’s $54 billion deal to buy an Irish pharma whose only attraction, apparently, was a lower tax bill. Many performance points were lost. But AbbVie’s post-Jack Lew change of heart re: Shire is not the only bloodbath that has hedge funds reeling.

As previously mentioned, a federal judge is What could go wrong?annoyingly insisting that the federal government probably has a right to take whatever it wants from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, what with the whole $187.5 billion bailout and whatnot. As with AbbVie’s cold feet, certain segments of the I-95 corridor between New Haven and Trenton did not see it coming. And even though the debacle is now well over a month old, casualties are still trickling in. The latest: Marathon Asset Management. Read more »

Opening Bell: 11.20.14

pucker upGoldman fires staff for NY Fed breach (FT)
Goldman Sachs has fired an investment banker who allegedly accessed confidential information from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, his former employer. Goldman said it had fired Rohit Bansal, a junior employee, in September and then fired his supervisor Joe Jiampietro, a better-known senior banker in the financial institutions group, which advises other banks. Mr Jiampietro was himself a former government official – a top adviser to Sheila Bair when she was chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The New York Fed said: “As soon as we learned that Goldman Sachs suspected one of its employees may have inappropriately obtained confidential supervisory information, we alerted law enforcement authorities.”

Justice Dept. Sets Record in Penalties for Fraud (NYT)
The Justice Department collected a record $24.7 billion in penalties from fraud and other cases in the 2014 fiscal year, the agency said on Wednesday, as fines against banks for financial misconduct soared. Collections from civil and criminal actions, including money collected on behalf of other agencies, was $8 billion in 2013, and $13 billion in 2012. Collections in 2014 were bolstered by multibillion-dollar payouts from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to resolve claims they misled investors about the quality of mortgage bonds in the run-up to the financial crisis, and include $11 billion in payments made to federal agencies or states. Payouts in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, also include hundreds of millions of dollars in fines levied on UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Ex-Chief of Iceland Bank Sentenced to Jail for Role in 2008 Crisis (Dealbook)
The former chief executive of Landsbanki of Iceland was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, the third of the top executives of the country’s three largest banks that the government has successfully prosecuted and jailed for misconduct during the financial crisis. Sigurjon Arnason was ordered jailed for a year at a hearing at the Reykjavik District Court on Wednesday, but nine months of his sentence were suspended and will be served as probation. Mr. Arnason couldn’t be located for comment on Wednesday. Iceland was one of the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis and was forced to nationalize its three largest lenders in 2008.

Uber May Need Adult Supervision as Controversy Builds (Bloomberg)
Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, 38, is dealing with a wave of criticism this week from remarks that one of his top lieutenants, Emil Michael, made about snooping on journalists. The situation took another turn yesterday when online publication BuzzFeed said one of its reporters was tracked by an Uber Technologies Inc. executive without her permission. Uber is now investigating that manager, a person with knowledge of the matter has said. Uber in August hired David Plouffe, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, who now directs communications at the startup. The deepening debate suggests that Kalanick might need even more experienced hands to guide him and the San Francisco-based company, which is the most highly valued technology startup in the U.S. “Uber has earned some frat culture publicity, and could benefit from hiring a woman on the board or an Eric Schmidt-type of executive,” said Brian Solis, an analyst at technology research firm Altimeter Group, referring to the former Google Inc. CEO who was brought in to aid founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the search company’s early years.

GoDaddy seeks nearly $4.5B IPO valuation, talks diversifying (NYP)
GoDaddy.com is pushing ahead with an initial public offering early next year that would value the world’s biggest domain registration service at roughly $4.5 billion, The Post has learned. CFO Scott Wagner met last week with analysts to give an update on GoDaddy since it first filed paperwork to go public in June, a source said. The company, backed by buyout giants KKR and Silver Lake, is trying to woo investors even as the 800-pound gorilla moves into its territory. Just a few weeks after GoDaddy filed for an IPO, Google began testing a domain registration service. In its meeting with the Street, GoDaddy stressed its desire to diversify — building Web sites for customers and helping them to process transactions on their sites, for example — before Google or another rival makes a more serious push.

Loud Rooster Might Cost Owners $3,000 In Fines (AP)
It was just the first of Mr. Rooster’s problems that he was first believed to be a Ms. His crowing has given him away, though, and his owners in Cornelius, Oregon, have been dinged six times in five months for violating city ordinances. At a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Dan and Megan Keller could be fined as much as $3,000. Megan Keller told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1yTecdO) that she thought she was buying two females at Easter time in 2012 for her granddaughters to show at 4-H. But there was a shipping mix-up that became evident as Mr. Rooster grew up. Keller said, though, that the birds had arrived during a tough patch in her life, and “those two brought me a lot of comfort.” Cornelius is a western Portland suburb of about 12,000 people proclaimed on its website as “an agricultural paradise, where rolling hillsides, vineyards and farms abound.” The town doesn’t, as other cities do, ban roosters outright. But it has an ordinance against animals that annoy or disturb neighbors. In June, a neighbor complained about Mr. Rooster. In August, a judge handed down a $250 fine and ordered that the bird get a new home. Keller sent Mr. Rooster to a farm owned by friends. Along went the other bird from the 2012 shipment, known as Mrs. Rooster. Megan Keller said that didn’t go well: The birds lost their feathers, and then a hawk attack left Mrs. Rooster dead and Mr. Rooster injured. So she retrieved Mr. Rooster. As the injured bird rested his head calmly on her shoulder recently, Keller said she’s sure she did the right thing: “Who would I be if I would have left him up there?” Read more »

Write-Offs: 11.19.14

$$$ Alibaba will sell debut bond on Thursday [Reuters]

$$$ BATS Global Markets to Lay Off 56 Employees [WSJ]

$$$ Banking culture primes people to cheat [Nature]

$$$ Senate Report: Banks Had Unfair Commodity-Market Advantages [WSJ]

$$$ Drunken bicyclist arrested at Taco Bell drive-through after tussle with cops [WFTV] Read more »

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Knows from sinking ships.The former AIG chief may not testify in his lawsuit against the government for taking his company away, but he can’t stop the government from mentioning—as often as possible—that time he said that AIG was the Titanic and he was the deck-chair-rearranger-in-chief. Read more »

Phil Falcone Isn’t Through With Charlie Ergen Yet!

Harbinger's latest filing.Phil Falcone is sticking with his narrative for a little debacle called LightSquared: First, GPS companies started using his spectrum without permission, and then said that if Phil started to use it to provide 4G all over this great country, it would be a great country littered with airline wrecks. This planted a seed in the twisted mind of the wickedest man in the whole wide world, Charlie Ergen, who is trying to buy the entire electromagnetic spectrum so that anyone with entertainment needs will have no choice but to come to him and his Dish Network empire. Now, being a man absent of moral fiber, Charlie Ergen thought nothing of buying up as much LightSquared debt as he could on the cheap, even though he more or less explicitly wasn’t allowed to. This “fraudulently deprived Harbinger of control of LightSquared when it was needed most,” so that Charlie and Dish could swoop in and buy the precious if not entirely usable spectrum for nothing. Which, whether you buy Phil’s story or are partial to Charlie’s “it was for my daughter’s college fund” angle, is pretty much what happened.

Long story short, as far as Phil is concerned, this means it is not his fault that Harbinger’s investors have taken a $2 billion bath on LightSquared. And he would very much appreciate it if a judge let him show who is at fault. Treble damages would also be nice. Read more »

Just the tip of the iceberg re: what he could score you.

Just the tip of the iceberg re: what he could score you.

Time was, anyone in need of both prescription pain killers and a top of the line inkjet printer needn’t look any further than the 24-hour convenience store that was Jeffrey Brian Grove, of the Melbourne, Florida Charles Schwab office. JBG had everything you could possibly need and if he didn’t, he’d simply log into Schwab’s internal system and order it or tell his dealer to chop chop. Unfortunately, for his clients and the beneficiaries of his lucrative side business, all good things must one day come to an end. Read more »

ubs (3)Like their brethren at Citigroup, UBS’s junior mistmakers are mighty miffed and have a right mind to tell management where it can go. Read more »

ashtonkutcherAshton Kutcher was just doing a little thought experiment. Don’t worry about it. Read more »