Opening Bell: 1.25.08

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Rogue Trader’s Story Raises More Questions Than Answers (Dealbook)
Given the extent of Jerome Kerviel's losses, folks aren't quite ready to believe he was a jackal working alone. We think it probably was though. But for now, people would rather believe that there was a conspiracy of sorts, rather than believe that a little knowledge of SocGen's computer system was able to render its entire risk management infrastructure 100 percent useless. People like to call big "nine-sigma" events black swans, but they're really not, because we get once-in-a-millennium perfect storms once every five years or so. But nobody's got a formula that knows how to take into account one trader that knows how to bypass security checks.
Trader Turns Societe Generale Report Into a Nightmare (Bloomberg)
Someone suggested yesterday that this whole story was a coverup for deep subprime losses. Better to pin it on a 31-year old kid that didn't even go to an elite college than on the upper ranks. We doubt it. Nobody would've blinked if the company had lost another $7 billion on writedowns. As it is, the company actually reported a big subprime writedown and nobody even noticed.
Scottish & Newcastle Agrees To Buyout by Carlsberg, Heineken (WSJ)
Beer consolidation, bring it on. Scottsh & Newcastle looks set to approve a sale to Carlsberg and Heineken in a deal worth $15.4 billion. That's a lot of money, for beer. With the deal, Scottish and Newcastle will be broken up, with Carlsberg and Heineken each taking over certain regional assets.
Buying Randy Newsom (Ideoblog)
Have you heard about this baseball player that's going to sell chunks of his future income to the public? Yeah, for as little as $20, you can buy a slice of infielder Randy Newsom's future earnings stream. Larry Ribstein looks at some of the legal issues and wonders whether this counts as a security that, theoretically, would be regulated by the SEC.


SAP lists TomorrowNow as a discontinued operation (Enterprise Systems Speculator)
Remember the big Oracle/SAP lawsuit? The issue was that SAP had acquired this company TomorrowNow, which provided support for Oracle products at a cut-rate. And then it was accused of intellectual property theft. SAP at first denied the charges vigorously, but then slowly admitted that mistakes may have been made. And now Frank Scavo catches at the bottom of a SAP press release that TomorrowNow is listed as a discontinued op. It's not clear what's happened, whether they've been sold or to whom, but so ends what turned out to be a nightmare of a purchase for SAP.
Gates: Underwhelming (Market Movers)
We were surprised yesterday at how much attention was given to Bill Gates "Creative Capitalism" speech at Davos, where he said that there remained inequities in the world and that efforts needed to be made to help the world's poor that weren't driven by profit. How could this be a surprise to anyone who has ever heard of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation? Obviously, BIll Gates has never felt that that enterprise alone was the answer. As Felix Salmon notes, the speech was really just the quintessential underwhelming, what-happens-in-Davos-stays-in-Davos Davos speech. It's why Brad and Angelina usually try to go. It's why Bono's there. You don't see Bono at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, because that's just a pure business/investor event and that's not what animates him. And at this point, it's obviously not what animates Bill Gates either.
Pledging Allegiance to the Brooklyn Nets? (Wages of Wins)
The Nets won't be moving to Brooklyn for another couple of years (at least), but it's not too early for New Yorkers, particularly those of the Brooklynish persuasion to start thinking about whether they'll withdraw their support for the horrible Knicks and become Nets fans, assuming they aren't Nets fans already. It really doesn't affect us at the Opening Bell, since we're dyed-in-the-wool Pistons fans, but for the rest of you, here's a good post on the relative team efficiency of each time. You know, some hard facts to help you make up a decision.
Microsoft Reports Record Second Quarter Results
Weird times when Microsoft puts in a solid beat-and-raise and Apple's getting slammed. For those of us who've always been annoyed by the Mac scene (that's right), a brief, fleeting moment of pleasure.
Romney, McCain, Giuliani Say Stimulus Package a `Good Start' (Bloomberg)
We watched about five minutes of this debate last night. It was about all we could take.

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