Opening Bell: 6.16.08

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Bear Stearns Hedge Fund Managers May Face Indictments
Shocking, really. The former Bear hedge fund mangers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin may come under indictment says a WSJ report, as the US Attorney in Brooklyn completes an investigation into the collapse of hedge funds at the then-independent bank. The supposed crime? Failure. The actual supposed crime?: "whether the managers intentionally misled investors by presenting a rosy picture of the funds at a time when they were privately communicating with colleagues about their worries over how the investment vehicles would ride out weakness in the mortgage market." Our favorite line in the piece: After explaining how the collapse of the hedge funds contributed to the chain of events that saw the whole bank collapse, the author writes "Bear Stearns never quite recovered".
F.C.C. Chief Backs XM-Sirius Deal (NYT)
Some 15-15 months after the world concluded that Sirius and XM faced plenty of competition from non-satellite providers, it seems the FCC has too. Multiple reports came out last night suggesting the FCC would throw its support behind the merger, though with all kinds of conditions. Consumers, for example, must be "protected" against price increases. And there has to be an a la caret subscription option. You gotta wonder. For Sirius, which is winning the satellite radio wars over laggard XM. Is a merger still beneficial?
Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil' (Independent)
Speaking to the UN of all people, King Abdullah promised the world that his country would increase oil production. Reports had said that the Saudis would up production by 500k barrels per day, though apparently they've already raised production by 300k, and plan to add another 200k sometime next month. Watch for peak oil-ists to deny that there's been any increase, or that Saudi is even capable of an increase. This could, after all, be pure jawboning on Abdullahs part.
AIG Names Robert B. Willumstad Chief Executive Officer
Here was the official announcement which came out last night around 6:32 PM ET. Always interesting to count how many times they mention they outgoing CEOs name. In this case it's twice. First when they announce the switch, and second when they wish Sullivan all the best in his future endeavors, and thank him for his 25 years of service.


Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate to Decide U.S. Open Title in Playoff (Bloomberg)
Good luck getting anything done from 12 ET and onward today. At least we won't be. You all know it already, and it's not technically our purview, but if Bloomberg can write about it, we can acknowledge it. Ok commenters, who are you taking, and what's the +- here? How many strokes would you ask for to take Mediate, assuming Woods is the favorite?
Late Deal Pulls OTB From Brink of Shutdown (NYT)
Sweet, they blinked! As much as we're not crazy about city and state-run gambling institutions. And we hate the way the law favors horses and lotteries, but not other forms (poker, blackjack), we're still kinda happy that the OTB parlors around the city have been saved, as Mayor Bloomberg and the Governor struck a deal. They will now be controlled by Albany, but the city will get a cut of revenue. Did you know that you can bet over the phone at the OTB? Seriously. Had they not struck a deal, yesterday would've been their last day ever.
Stoli Vodka Might Get Sold In Spirits Industry's Latest Stir (WSJ)
Looks like more shuffling going on in the liquor biz, as the owner of Stoli vodka is looking to put the drink up for sale. Word is that the SPI Group, which owns the company outside of Russia, has hired Lehman, and is looking for something on the order of $3 billion. This is interesting: "One person said any Stoli deal, which could be a distribution deal instead, could be complicated by the Russian government's historically contentious relationship with SPI. Moscow has argued in court that SPI obtained the rights to Stolichnaya illegally." No doubt this will one day be a major WTO matter.
This Isn't Satire: Congress Holding Hearings On Thoroughbred Steroids (The Stalwart)
Yes folks, Congress is actually holding hearings this week on steroids in Thoroughbred racing. Like, seriously.

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