opinions

Carl Icahn was born in 1936, three years after the Glass-Steagall Act forever separated commercial and investment banking—for 66 years. Well, Uncle Carl remembers the Great Depression that led to Glass-Steagall, and he’s not so sure it’s a coincidence that the worst economic crisis since then occurred within a decade of its demise. Even if it means you won’t like him anymore. Read more »

“There’s a long list of failed managers who look to raise money off of one correct market call made in the past, so no, I’m passing on this one,” said Brad Balter, founder of $1.2 billion Balter Capital Management, which invests in non-brand-name hedge funds and alternative mutual funds. “This feels much less like a passionate manager launching a fund and more like an attempt to find another source of income post her old firm shuttering. Plus there are thousands of long-short equity hedge funds out there already—who needs another?” he added. “It’s moving from a headache (clients) to a stomach ache (managing money)—but in her case it will be more like a full-on flu virus as she’s managing headlines and the pains of managing a portfolio,” one family office investor said via email. “She had a big call and hasn’t availed herself since.” [NetNet, earlier]

Bob Diamond, who was ousted last year as the boss of British bank Barclays Plc, said it has grown stronger since he left and he plans to buy shares in its 6 billion-pound ($9.6 billion) rights issue. “I’m buying my rights, I’m bullish on Barclays … Barclays has become a better and stronger institution,” Diamond said on CNBC television on Friday. “It’s got good strong new leadership in (Chief Executive) Antony Jenkins and (Chairman) Sir David Walker.” [Reuters]

There are many people in the universe who are fans of hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. They like his style. His charm. The way he makes them feel. The fact that he’s not afraid to show his emotions or give them an honest opinion about their new dress or say “You know what? Those highlights really aren’t working for you.” Carl Icahn, however, is not one of those people. Save for a fleeting moment of supposed amicability following “a lengthy, boozy dinner,” Icahn has viewed Ackman as a punk for nearly a decade; an untrustworthy little jerk who Ichan’s friends supposedly told him not to do business with. (The feeling being more than a little mutual; as Ackman has put it, “The guy is a shakedown artist. His word is worthless.”) Anyway, in case anyone was wondering if the investors had put an end to their feud with another long, booze-filled meal, wonder no longer. Read more »

  • 03 May 2012 at 2:40 PM

Evil Incarnate Thinks LightSquared Is Great

As those of you who keep up with the trials and travails of hedge fund manager Phil Falcone, a wireless start-up called LightSquared is his baby and the thing that stands to make or break him. To that end, Falcone’s invested a significant amount of time, energy, and, most importantly, investor money in seeing his baby succeed. Unfortunately, in the last year or so, LightSquared has been met with some significant setbacks, namely with regard to the GPS interference experts claim it will cause. The yachting community worries that said interference will cause boats to get lost at sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says LightSquared“may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses.” The FAA put out a study that estimates LS could “cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation.” To all of that and more, one man asks, “AND???” Read more »

Remember Dennis Kozlowski? Bald guy, about yay* high? Actually kind of cherubic-looking, in that you could see him playing Cupid in the school play? Used to run this company called Tyco until he was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison? Anyway, quick story about Big D is that the reasons he’s in jail include but are not limited to: 1) paying himself $105 million in 2000 when maybe he should’ve taken a bit less, 2) outfitting the bathroom in his company-funded apartment with a $6,000 shower curtain that even John Thain said no to when it came to decorating his executive washroom, 3) throwing his wife a birthday party in Sardinia that cost (Tyco) $2 million, on account of the performance by Jimmy Buffett, the togas for the guests, the “ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David spewing vodka from his penis and a birthday cake in the shape of a woman’s breasts with sparklers mounted on top,” the latter of which do not come cheap, this much we promise you. For all of that and more, D-Koz was found guilty on counts of grand larceny, conspiracy and securities fraud. Anyway, the joint has provided a lot of reflection time for DK, and recently, he sat down to share what’s on his mind. Read more »


[Simon Constable via Heidi Moore]