Yesterday the Second Circuit held arguments in the Argentina sovereign debt case. This case is … I mean, you kind of had to be following along, but quick summary: back in the day Argentina defaulted on some old bonds, and exchanged most of them at a discount into new bonds, which it’s been making payments on. Elliott Management bought a bunch of old bonds, which Argentina has not been making payments on, and sued Argentina to make them pay the old bonds pari passu with the new ones. Elliott won in a lower court, and then sort of won on appeal, and then Argentina raised some mind-melting consequences in the lower court, and then Elliott won again anyway, and now it’s back up on appeal again, and the oral arguments were yesterday. Also there’s a boat.
It sounds like yesterday’s hearing was sort of a nightmare for Argentina, though the nice thing for Argentina is that, as a sovereign nation, they have the option of waking up:
“We are representing a government, and governments will not be told to do things that fundamentally violate their principles,” Jonathan Blackman, a lawyer for the deadbeat South American country, told a Manhattan US appeals court.
“So the answer is you will not obey any order but the one you propose?” Judge Reena Raggi asked.
“We would not voluntarily obey such an order,” replied Blackman — who later said Argentina would be no more likely to obey a US court than the US would be to obey an Iranian court.
If you get to choose whether or not to obey it, it’s not so much of an order. Read more »
The end of 2012 might’ve been a tough one for the SAC Capital founder, what with the matter of a former employee being accused of orchestrating “the most lucrative insider trading scheme ever,” being referenced in the complaint as Portfolio Manager A, and ultimately being forced to show the softer side of Steve but the Big Guy still managed to take home $1.3 billion, so he’s got that going for him. Other people who made a respectable amount of money include highest earning hedge fund manager David Tepper, with $2.2 billion, Carl Icahn at $1.9 billion, and retired person James Simons, who didn’t have to lift a finger for his $1.9 billion. [Forbes]
For anyone working on a giant photo mosaic of George Soros’ face, made out of the senior year pictures of hedge fund managers and various other Wall Street execs, today’s your lucky day. [eBay]
Time was, SAC Capital didn’t give a rat’s ass what outside investors thought of it. No lip service was paid, no gestures of friendliness offered. Wanted to get your money out ASAP? SAC didn’t give a fuck. You’d wait a year and you’d like it (and wouldn’t dare think about asking for entree again). Now, though, thanks to the work of a former employee named Mathew Martoma, SAC has been forced to show a softer, friendlier, and frankly vaguely unnerving side. Instead of verbal abuse, employees have received pay raises. Instead of quarterly redemptions, this very uncharacteristically accommodating offer: Read more »
Somewhere in midtown Manhattan, an 82-year-old man is wistfully gazing out the window, remembering when he was young (younger, anyway) and brash and really ruined Nigella Lawson’s father’s day.
Now, $1 billion doesn’t mean as much as it did in 1992. But we think George Soros can be forgiven a moment of self-satisfaction in this twilight triumph. Read more »
Perhaps, you thought, that the day Vikram Pandit was abruptly and unceremoniously fired from Citigroup was the end. That we’d lost him for good. That he’d retreat to the his Upper West Side manse and spend his days beefing up his Odd Couple memorabilia collection, or work on that novel about a love that dare not speak its name between a bank CEO and the analyst who only acted like she hated him, or build that Zen garden he’d always wanted that the fucks at Citi never let him have. That he was finished with Wall Street. Well fret not. Uncle Vik wouldn’t never do that to you. Read more »
David Einhorn is suing Apple to make them give shareholders a separate vote over whether shareholders should have a vote over whether Apple can issue preferred stock. I guess that requires some unpacking. Let’s start at the end, with the preferred stock. Here is Einhorn’s plan:
For example, Apple could initially distribute to existing shareholders $50 billion of perpetual preferred stock, with a 4% annual cash dividend paid quarterly at preferential tax rates. … Assuming Apple retains its price to earnings multiple of 10x and the preferred stock yields 4%, our calculations show that every $50 billion of perpetual preferred stock that Apple distributes would unlock about $30 billion, or $32 per share in value. Greenlight believes that Apple has the capacity to ultimately distribute several hundred billion dollars of preferred, which would unlock hundreds of dollars of value per share. Further, Greenlight believes additional value may be realized when Apple’s price to earnings multiple expands, as the market appreciates a more shareholder friendly capital allocation policy.
What do you think? I vote yes. (I mean, I think it’s a good idea. The voting is more complicated.) My math is here and ties closely to Einhorn’s:
The math is super straightforward though it can and should boggle you conceptually if you think about it. Read more »
Did you know the name of the guy who discovered the logarithm? Someone at Citigroup did, and he or she decided to rename its soon-to-be-given-away hedge fund unit after him. Read more »
Hedge fund SAC Capital, still fighting distractions on multiple fronts, churned out a modestly positive January with returns of about 2.5 percent, say two people familiar with the matter. SAC’s returns, which came during a month in which the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 5 percent, followed a standout 2012 in which the firm’s main fund, SAC Capital Partners, was up 13 percent. SAC Capital’s January performance also lags that of other prominent stock-trading funds, including Omega Advisors and Jana Partners, both of which were up about 5 percent, according to people who have reviewed their numbers.
Bridgewater Associates told its investors that it will launch a new hedge fund this year, and had sold another minority equity stake in the firm to an unidentified buyer to help ensure its long-term viability. Bridgewater described its new fund, All Weather Major Markets, as a variation of its All Weather strategy that seeks to perform in any economic environment. In a Jan. 24 year-end report to investors, the hedge-fund firm said All Weather Major Markets would help ensure that its $65 billion All Weather fund doesn’t grow too large, potentially hurting its returns. All Weather returned 15.3% in 2012, gross of fees, Bridgewater wrote. In the same 304-page report, Bridgewater said it had completed a deal at the end of last year to sell a nonvoting stake in the firm to an outside investor, marking the fourth time the firm made such a transaction. The firm didn’t identify the investor or the size of the stake. “The proceeds of these transactions have allowed us to create a sustainable capital base that is independent of Ray, while remaining entirely employee-controlled,” the Jan. 24 report said, referring to Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio. [WSJ]
Speaking to Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, George Soros cast doubt on hedge funds’ future ability to do better than the broader markets. “Since hedge funds are now a dominant force in the market, they can’t, as a group, outperform the market,” Soros said. The 82-year old added that managers’ and investors’ risk aversion will only make things worse. “Outperforming the market with low volatility on a consistent basis is an impossibility,” Soros said. “I outperformed the market for 30-odd years, but not with low volatility.” [FINalternatives, Bloomberg]