“Dear Colleagues,” Robert Benmosche wrote in a memo to AIG employees today. “We come together as a company to celebrate in good times and we draw together in times of shared crisis. Today warrants a celebration like no other in AIG’s history and places well in the past a crisis none of us will ever forget…Today the US Department of the Treasury has priced an offering of approximately 234.2 million shares of AIG common stock at a price to market of $32.50 per share. Upon the closing of this transaction, expected this Friday, Treasury will have sold the last of its remaining shares of AIG common stock, receiving proceeds of approximately $7.6 billion from the sale. The closing of this transaction will mark the full resolution of America’s financial support of AIG…It is one of the most extraordinary - and what many believed to be the most unlikely– turnarounds in American business history. And you did it…You did this. Every single man and woman at AIG did this remarkable thing. There is a saying in American life, there are no second acts. Well, take a bow, because today marks our second act.” [Dealbook]
Take a bow
The hedge fund giant’s Kensington and Wellington funds rose 0.44% in April. The two funds are up 8.4% through the first four months of the year. Kensington and Wellington began the year needing to return about 20% to return to their high-water marks and recoup all of 2008′s losses. The funds rose 11% last year and 62% in 2009. [FINalternatives]
For London Bankers, It’s Once Again Socially Acceptable To Buy Expensive Stuff, Shove A Bunch Of Hundos In A Stripper’s G-StringBy Bess Levin
I know I don’t need to tell you that there have been terrible consequences to the financial crisis. People have lost their homes. They’ve lost their jobs. Some have lost their wills to live. Many of those whose jobs remained intact saw their bonuses take a painful hit. One of the lesser known stories is that of the financial services employees who lost neither their jobs nor their sizable compensation package. They too have suffered, possibly even more so than the victims the media chose to focus on. Because they had the money to spend but couldn’t, for fear of coming off as insensitive, in these trying times. Oh, no, wouldn’t want to upset anyone, the thinking was. Today, however, some heartening news comes from across the pond. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.
A boom in hedonistic “greed is good” spending is sweeping through London after two years of recessionary restraint…West End stores, clubs and restaurants say they have been astounded by the sudden spike in guilt-free spending in recent weeks on a scale that would have been unthinkable even six months ago. Andrew Hawes, managing director of Bollinger UK, said it was currently impossible to get enough of its £120 a bottle Special Cuvée into Britain because demand is so strong. He said: “There was a time when people certainly didn’t want to be seen with an expensive bottle of champagne — but we’re past that phase now.”
It gets better. Read more »
This morning we discussed the fact that after a torturous year of not being able to buy $300,000 cars because of how it would look, many of you are now feeling strong enough and confident enough to go for it without the fear of people calling you a tone deaf douchebag. Well that was just the tip of the iceberg, ladies. No longer having to worry about the “recession” or a lack of bonuses means the Mecca of the the DB, the Hamptons, is once again in style. Sure, it was there last year but it was a sad summer, what with having to dial down the enthusiasm and not not strip naked and roll around in a pile of hundos once you got out there Friday night. Now feel free to do just that, or light the money on fire just because you can, whatever you want, it’s now okay.
“It’s going to be a good summer,” Megan Ruddy said. “Everyone is sick and tired of holding on to their money.”
When Vikram Pandit first joined Citi, he was a happy, smiley Uncle Vik. And why shouldn’t he have been? The bank had just laid out hundreds of millions of dollars to land him and he was thisclose to buying Tony Randall’s apartment. Plus, he’s just always had a sunny disposition.
Despite the fact that that his hedge fund was eventually put out to pasture after its all-too-short two years of (mis)managing money, and a precipitously falling stock price, nothing could get him down. As time went on though, they started to break him. A certain analyst made a habit of hiding in his closet, waiting ’til he fell asleep and then popping out, tying him up and shoving a sock in his mouth. Jamie Dimon called him a “jerk” on a conference call. The government outfitted him with an ankle monitoring bracelet and a boot up the ass. Citi was removed from the Dow. He made a promise not to take more than a $1 salary per year and who knew when the Christ that was going to happen. He was told he couldn’t have a Zen Garden. It was all too much to bear and Vickles had a major case of the sads. He lost weight. And because he lost weight he was forced to close his Tickle a Vickle booth in the office on Park (people don’t wait in line for hours to Tickle an anorexic Vickle). The whole thing was depressing to watch, let alone experience personally and we spent a good deal of time wondering if we’d ever have the old Vik back. It seemed unlikely. Today though? JOYOUS NEWS TO THE CONTRARY.
Some of Mr. Pandit’s most trusted advisers notice a new bounce in his step and say he is more energetic at meetings.