The big news across the wires this morning was Eddie Lampert picking up 15.24 million shares of Citigroup. Shares of Citi shot higher following the news amidst speculation that Lampert might push to break-up the company.
DeaBook quotes one observer who buys the line that Lampert might shake things up at CIti.
Mr. Lampert, chairman of the parent of the retailers Sears and Kmart, “would have the clout to make management changes,” Richard Sichel, who oversees $1.5 billion as chief investment officer of Philadelphia Trust Co., told the news service. “The market is hoping he can come in and create value in one way or another by cost cutting or finding value in the different parts.”
Many observers, however, doubted that Lampert is up to anything but buying a stock that has been badly beaten
down for most of the year. "He may just think the stock is cheap," according to a senior executive at a rival bank who was quote in the Financial Times.
Felix Salmon, who writes the Market Movers blog for Portfolio, sounds the skeptical note
Lampert is certainly a rich and powerful man, but I don't think he quite has the power that Sichel attributes to him. His friendship with Bob Rubin might get him a meeting on the third floor of 399 Park Avenue. But that's probably about it.
On CNBC, Charlie Gasparino, however, says that Lampert “could really turn the screws on [Citigroup chief executive] Chuck Prince.”
Lampert fund builds $800m stake in Citi [Financial Times on MSN Money]
Lampert took big stake in Citigroup: SEC filing [Market Watch]
Lampert Fund Takes Stake in Citigroup [DealBook]
Lampert's Options at Citigroup [Market Movers]
Street Stories: Citigroup [CNBC.com]