In a fun little exercise today, the Wall Street Journal got in touch with a few of the people who John Paulson correctly bet couldn’t pay their mortgages, which resulted in him making $1 billion, and them having their homes foreclosed on. If you assumed that some of them wouldn’t be in the mood to offer kudos to Paulson and his team for coming up with such a sweet trade and killing it for their clients, betting on their demise, you assumed wrong! Jack Booket gives it up for JP this morning. Read more »
Paulson and Co
If you’re Paolo Pellegrini,* tipping off the SEC to your former employer’s role in today’s Goldman case, according to CNBC’s Steve Liesman.
*Whose attitude resulted in being more encouraged to leave the hedge fund (as opposed to leaving on his own terms) than has been suggested in various stories quoting P-squared (which, BTW, is what he calls himself).
UPDATE: A spokesperson for P-Squared has released the following statement:
In 2008, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approached Paulson & Co., among a number of financial institutions, as part of a publicly disclosed inquiry into collateralized debt obligations. At that time, Paolo Pellegrini was a portfolio manager for Paulson & Co. and was familiar with the CDO market. Paulson & Co. provided the SEC with the names of employees, including Mr. Pellegrini, who might be interviewed as part of the SEC’s inquiry. Mr. Pellegrini cooperated fully with the SEC ‘s inquiry as did a number of his colleagues at Paulson & Co.
Mr. Pellegrini left Paulson & Co. at the end of 2008 to form his own investment firm. Mr. Pellegrini maintains an amicable relationship with Mr. Paulson and remains grateful for the professional opportunities extended to him by Mr. Paulson, for whom he has the highest regard.
Supposedly “key facts related to subprime securities” were omitted and investors in the CDO lost $1 billion (whereas Paulson & Co, which apparently had a “hand in structuring the CDO in question,” made a billion). Dick Bové has no problem with this, and doesn’t think Goldman will either, which Mark Haines cannot believe.
More from the Times:
The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a 31 year-old vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment. The instrument in the S.E.C. case, called Abacus 2007-AC1, was one of 25 deals that Goldman created so the bank and select clients could bet against the housing market. Those deals, which were the subject of an article in The New York Times in December, initially protected Goldman from losses when the mortgage market disintegrated and later yielded profits for the bank.
November performance numbers are in.
Citadel Kensington Global Strategies Fund Ltd.:
November 2009: 0.50%
Was at the Stern alumni ball Saturday with girlfriend who went there. John Paulson in attendance. (he donated the new lobby). The alum ahead of me in the “receiving line” handed him his card like a slick scumbag in desperation for business. Another said to him, “We used to go the same ATM!”
According to Paulson & Co internal documents John Paulson is thinking soon to be CEO-less BofA will be worth three times what he bought it for in two and a half years time. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported JP’s been telling his investors Bank of America still has considerable upside and room to double in value.
But according to documents we saw, JP started telling investors in July he got into this trade with the expectation the stock would more than triple by the end of 2011.
As first reported by Chris Gillick in the September issue of AR magazine, Paulson’s cost basis for his huge-ass BofA position was $9. Using a conservative P/E multiple of 10, and a 2011 earnings per share estimate of $3, Paulson’s analysis estimates $BAC should be worth $30 at the tail end of 2011. In other words, pay no attention to JP taking a mere 8.2 million shares off his 168 million position in the third quarter.
Given that some of you might make your own estimate off of JP $3 EPS prediction here’s how Team Paulson does the math via his marketing material:
It’s been a pretty rough couple of years for Citigroup. But a couple of the world’s biggest hedge fund managers seem to think Vikram and Co. have something going.
Paulson & Co. bought up a $1.2 billion stake in Citi during the third quarter, while Renaissance Technologies took a more modest $90 million slice. RenTech has been somewhat schizophrenic about Citi, selling off 21.5 million shares in the second quarter, only to rebuild its stake to–you guessed it–21.5 million shares last quarter.
Renaissance, at least, is a good deal less bullish on our friends at Bank of America. The Long Island quant fund rid itself of almost all of its shares in the soon-to-be-CEO-less firm, which keeps finding ways to make The Worst Job on Wall Street even worse.
This would not be the time he asked for more money to do less work but rather when he pulled John into a room to show his former boss how he was going to make a metric fuck-ton of money for the firm, which Bloomberg gets into in a profile of P-squared (which, awesomely, is actually what he calls himself):
“After hearing a lot of arguments for and against the presence of the bubble, we had a simple and clear insight of our own to go by,” Pellegrini says.
He recalls that Paulson broke into a smile when he showed him the proof that houses were overpriced. “John doesn’t smile,” Pellegrini says. “It felt great.”
Careful analysis shows that this statement is not exactly true. Paulson JP practically grins when seated next to Jack Welch’s German doppelgänger. No matter– Pellegs made Paulson smile once and then the two got back to making money and taking money, only occasionally glancing up to motion to a life-size cutout of Alan Greenspan and go “look at this idiot” to each other.
Fast-forward to the end of 2008 (and a bunch of dollars later) and Pellegrini, by several accounts, proposed to Paulson and Pals that his new purview permit him to indulge himself a bit more. Basically Pellegs wanted the go-ahead to spends his days waxing poetic on larger geopolitical issues that required constant consultations with peers like Henry Kissenger, David H. Petraeus, Tila Tequila, etc, and to spend less of his time slicing numbers to figure out if Ben Bernanke was going to survive the next option arm reset (he also wanted more money to do so). The two parties diverged from there, with P-squared being more encouraged to leave the building (as opposed to leaving on his own terms) than is necessarily suggested here. It’s not that JP and Pals were opposed to P^2 drastically redefining what he did for the firm but apparently the attitude that came with the demand that ‘Legs have a red phone to Putin installed in his office and be referred to as “The Talent” in front of the Limited Partners was rubbing people the wrong way.
And now you’re all going to potentially benefit! P.Legs struck out on his own with PSQR Management, which returned 80 percent through July and will be marketed to outsiders (for now it’s all his money) in 2010. Presumably he’ll be looking to hire a few more man boys to help run the the place sometime soon. Let’s try Pellegs on for size. If you like what you see, if it’s all you ever wanted (superficially) in a boss, considering shooting a res.