In Other News, Citi Plans to Rename Its Quarterly Conference Call With Analysts to 'Lil' Vik's Happy Talk'

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Most people (or at least those who study hedge funds as closely as I do, which is to say “HF Experts”) agree that Old Lane has been among the most disappointing shops (“non blow up” category) in recent memory. So this should come as no shock:

Particularly embarrassing for new CEO Vikram Pandit—whose firm has now taken some $39 billion in write offs—Old Lane Partners, the hedge fund he founded that was acquired by Citi last year, was forced to write off $202 million in intangible assets related to its multi-strategy fund.

Still, you’d think it hurt Vikram’s pride, at least a little. And yet:



I am telling you nothing can get this man, or his stock price, down. In fact, sources tell DealBreaker that senior executives at C, capitalizing on the wonders Vik’s jolly elfin visage have done for their shares, have decided to change the firm’s tagline from “Citi… Let’s Get It Done,” to “Citi…We’re Gonna Make You Smile.”
“We feel the new motto projects the infectious good cheer that Vik spreads when he shows us those pearly whites,” said Bob Rubin, Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee. "If you buy the stock, it makes him happy. And when he's happy he smile. And when he smiles, you smile. And if you go to the Citi website at that exact moment and turn up the volume, you'll hear "The Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine" playing. Take note that when our stock declines more than 1%, the home page will be filled with the grimacing visage of Chuck Prince."
Citi Alternative Investments Posts $358M Loss [FINalternatives]
'We're Gonna Make Ya Smile' [TO]

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Vikram Pandit To Get Back In The Hedge Fund Saddle Again, At Some Point

Just a question of which hedge fund he'll be riding-- his own or his former Old Lane colleague's. The buzz on Wall Street is that ousted Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit will return to the hedge-fund world. UK hedge fund Portman Square Capital declined to comment on chatter that its founder, Sutesh Sharma, is eager to nab Pandit for his new firm. Sharma, a former money manager at Pandit’s now defunct Old Lane hedge fund, launched Portman this year with $500 million...Pandit is viewed by the hedge fund community as a rainmaker due to his ties to deep-pocketed investors. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt the timing was right to join an existing fund . . . or start his own fund,” said Robert Olman of hedge-fund search firm Alpha Search Advisory Partners. Thinking ahead, how much do we predict Citi will pay to acquire Portman Square (or Pandit Partners) in order to lure Big Vik back, which is kind their thing? Last time around it was $800 million so they'll probably have to offer at least $2bn. Pandit Packing For London Hedges [NYP via FINalternatives]

Vikram Pandit Not Feeling Sandy Weill's Break-Up The Banks Call

About a month ago, retired Citi CEO Sandy Weill set his alarm an hour early, got out of bed when it was still dark, ate a piece of rye toast, told Joan he'd see her when he'd see her, took the elevator downstairs to wait for the car that drove him out to Englewood Cliffs, and went on CNBC to proffer a small suggestion to Wall Street: break up the big banks. Perhaps you heard about it? Not many people were receptive to the notion of Weill giving them advice on the matter, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that in his day, Weill couldn't get enough of big banks and was the man responsible for cobbling together the behemoth known as Citigroup, an institution so huge it can barely support its own weight. The response by most, in fact, was "Shut it, you old bag." But what about Vikram Pandit, the lucky guy who inherited the place? What did he think of Weill's tip? After giving it some good thought-- really and truly considering it-- for a few weeks, he's decided to take a pass: Citigroup’s chief executive has knocked back the idea of big banks being split up after calls from people such as his predecessor Sandy Weill. But not for the reasons you might think! Pandit actually agrees with Sando because if you think about it, Citi's already been broken up and is basically the bank it was before the merger that resulted in it needing firefighters to use a giant pulley system to lift it out of bed and get around every day. Pandit said Citi, formed in Mr Weill’s time with mergers such as the acquisition of Travelers in 1998, had already gone back to the basics of banking, and aside from some global markets businesses had sold most of the units from that deal. “What’s left here is essentially the old Citicorp,” he told the Financial Times. “That’s a tried and proven strategy. Why did it work? Because it was a strategy based upon operating the business and serving clients and not a strategy based on dealmaking. That’s the fundamental difference.” So we're all on the same page here. Citi Chief Rejects Calls For Bank Splits [FT]