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  • 12 Aug 2014 at 3:15 PM

Vascular Biogenics Will Show Itself Out

Forget about what you thought you heard about an IPO. There was no IPO. Read more »

  • 12 Aug 2014 at 2:22 PM

The Bitcoin Bugle: Still Relevant!

Months after everyone else got into a lather about it, word of this strange “cryptocurrency” called “bitcoin” has reached the desks of the folks over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And now that no one cares about them anymore, the regulator is leaping onto the case. Read more »

Revel, the Atlantic City Casino Morgan Stanley poured $1.2 billion into and then booked a $1 billion loss on when the bank washed its hands of the place, which still haunts some senior executives’ dreams and is the word James Gorman whispers to employees with a knowing glance when it looks like they’re about to get in over their heads on something, is shutting its doors. Read more »

Carl Icahn sounded pretty pleased with himself a couple weeks ago, after another company had bent to his will, and in rapid time. Uncle Carl deemed his seven-week, $175 million-profit-making investment in Family Dollar “yet another validation of the activist investment philosophy.”

Well, Family Dollar buyer Dollar Tree wants it known that it isn’t going to be pushed around by a 78-year-old bully, even if he learned how to throw a punch on a Queens schoolyard. It was totally going to buy Family Dollar months before Carl Icahn got involved. In fact, it should be thanking him for getting involved and keeping its price down. Read more »

It is apparently inconceivable to the Argentine political mind that there are things that a presidente cannot do, and so another senior member of Cristina Kirchner’s government has asked Barack Obama to dig around in his secret bag of executive tricks and rid them of that meddlesome magistrate, U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa. Read more »

Back in 2012, Bank of America branch manager Aurora Barrera was in need of a vacation. She knew a week or two would be nice, but what would be better was the kind where she never had to come back, though continued to get paid. Since HR probably wouldn’t approve of the proposal, she had to figure out something slightly more creative, which in the end involve first robbing her place of business:

Aurora Barrera, 33, of Downey, California, helped plan the theft at a Bank of America Corp. branch where she was an assistant manager, the California Department of Insurance said yesterday in a statement.

…and second, strapping on a pair of cojones the likes of which Bank of America had never seen, and doing this: Read more »

  • 12 Aug 2014 at 10:54 AM

CFA Institute Shatters Fewer Dreams Than Usual In 2014

To be sure, it shattered a lot of dreams. Dreams whose seeds were planted, for some, as far back as the early nineties, when the Institute was formed. On visits to the hallowed halls of CFA headquarters. In conference rooms, where colleagues discussed the merits of MBA versus CFA. Upon receiving an email from a friend who’d just updated his signature to include those three little letters and a note to “please see my updated credentials,” when the urge to vomit was strong, but was no match for the realization, “I want that.”

On June 7, 2014, those dreams were still just that: a dream. Today, for a record number of dreamers, they are a reality. Read more »

Opening Bell: 08.12.14

Ex-SAC Capital Manager Martoma Forfeiture Sought by U.S. (Bloomberg)
Former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, convicted of orchestrating the most lucrative insider trading scheme in U.S. history, should be ordered to forfeit $9.4 million and required to pay a fine, U.S. prosecutors said. The amount sought is equal to Martoma’s 2008 bonus, and exceeds his reported net worth of $7.4 million, prosecutors said in a filing today in Manhattan federal court. Guidelines for the fine range from $20,000 to more than $570 million, representing twice the gains to SAC Capital of the illegal trades, prosecutors said. The court’s probation department recommended a fine of $20,000, they said, without making their own recommendation.

Falcone files for ‘divorce’ from LightSquared (NYP)
On Monday, Falcone filed “divorce papers” from LightSquared, his bankrupt wireless venture, in the form of a proposed plan of reorganization to lead the restructuring for LightSquared Inc., the smaller arm of the failed Reston, Va., startup. LightSquared Inc. owns a small swath of 5 megahertz spectrum, as well as the rights to the tax losses in LightSquared, which could be valued at more than $2 billion. LightSquared LP, by contrast, owns the larger, more coveted swath of L-Band spectrum. But its ability to come to life has been hampered by years of infighting between creditors, including Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen. Falcone was offered a chance to stay in the larger LightSquared LP restructuring if he dropped his litigation against Uncle Sam and Ergen, who he’s accused of screwing with the company so he could buy the assets on the cheap, sources told The Post. Falcone refused, and was erased from the current LP plan, which is being led by private-equity firm Fortress. Falcone’s new, smaller plan centers on a $560 million bid to restructure “Inc” along with JPMorgan. This will keep him in the spectrum game, as he plans to use the 5 megahertz of spectrum he gets from the restructuring and to buy more, a source familiar with his thinking told The Post.

Alibaba IPO Has Unusual Challenges for Bankers (WSJ)
For a start, the deal is likely to total more than $20 billion, according to people with knowledge of it. Bankers figure they will need to drum up orders for as much as four times the size of the deal from big institutional investors to create enough fervor to keep the shares rising in the days after it goes public, the people said. That will require seeking some buyers willing to pony up $1 billion or more for a slice of the deal to ensure demand.

Gross Reduces U.S. Government-Related Debt in July (Bloomberg)
The proportion of U.S. government-related debt in the $223 billion Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX) was 45 percent, versus 47 percent in June, data posted yesterday on the company’s website showed. That compared with 50 percent in May, the highest level since 54 percent in July 2010.

Barclays Quant Trading Unit Said to Take 60 Employees in Spinout (Bloomberg)
A Barclays trading team that’s leaving this year to start a quantitative investment firm will take 60 bank employees with it, adding to Wall Street’s migration to the $2.8 trillion hedge-fund industry. Olivier Durantel, Gregoire Schneider, Antoine Fillet and Maxime Fortin of the British bank’s nQuants unit will form the venture, according to a person with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The firm, which hasn’t yet been named, will use algorithms to trade mainly equities and other liquid securities globally.

Robin Williams, a Comic Force, Dies at 63 (WSJ)
Since his days on “Mork & Mindy,” a fish-out-of-water tale that ran for four seasons in which he played an alien from the planet Ork, Mr. Williams demonstrated a fully formed comedic style filled with tics and habits that would become his trademarks. Those idiosyncrasies, like monologues full of non sequiturs or unexpected accents, would help him quickly become one of the world’s biggest comedy stars and a favorite guest of late-night television talk shows. Even when not pictured on screen, Mr. Williams had a tendency to become the center of attention, including a celebrated turn as the voice of the madcap genie in the 1992 animated film “Aladdin.” “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien—but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit,” President Obama said in a statement.

Miss Bumbum 2014 Contestants Hope To Have Brazil’s Best Butt (HP)
In Brazil, the “Miss Bumbum” contest is a nationwide annual undertaking to find the best derriere. This year’s 27 contestants, who represent the country’s different states, were announced last week. “Miss Bumbum 2014” will start in São Paulo on August 11. Brazilians have until November to vote online and determine the 15 finalists for the finale. This year the pageant will have a historic first after twins Rafaella and Graziella Fornazieri, representing Alagoas and Ácre respectively, entered the contest. Dai Macedo, a 25-year-old model with a 42-inch bottom, was crowned “Miss Bumbum 2013.” “It’s a lot of work, a lot of devotion,” Macedo told Agence France-Presse by way of an interpreter after winning the title. “I denied myself a lot of things. No nightclubs. No sweets. I went to the gym Saturdays and Sundays.” Read more »