Opening Bell: 05.26.09

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US Cracks Down On Corporate Bribes (WSJ)
"At least 120 companies are under investigation, according to Mark Mendelsohn, a deputy chief in the Justice Department division overseeing the prosecutions, up from 100 at the end of last year."
Ackman Pledges To Hold Target Shares For Five Years (Dealbook)
That's how much he loves this company.
Accounting Rules Help JP Turn WaMu Deal Into Money Maker (Bloomberg)
"Faced with the highest U.S. unemployment in 25 years and a surging foreclosure rate, the lenders are seizing on a four- year-old rule aimed at standardizing how they book acquired loans that have deteriorated in credit quality. By applying the measure to mortgages and commercial loans that lost value during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the banks will wring revenue from the wreckage, said Robert Willens, a former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. executive who runs a tax and accounting consulting firm in New York.
"It will benefit these guys dramatically," Willens said. "There's a great chance they'll be able to record very substantial gains going forward."
How Satyam Supported PwC's Schizophrenic Strategy To Reenter The Systems Integration Business (RTA)
"The firms may call these situations all anomalies, and "all in the past", but they add up to real pathology - a case of incorrigible ingratitude for a government-sponsored, highly lucrative franchise to provide audit opinions for public companies."
A Hedge Fund King Is Forced To Regroup (WSJ)
"Later that year, Mr. Asness frequently erupted in his office, smashing computer screens in anger, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Asness confirmed the account."


GM Bankruptcy Will Tax Experts (NYT)
"How many lawyers will end up working on G.M.'s expected bankruptcy case still is not clear, but in legal circles, the joke is that there may not be enough experienced bankruptcy lawyers available to handle the filing.
In part, that is because so many top lawyers are already running up lots of billable hours working on the Chrysler bankruptcy case, while others have been hired by the government, which is financing the way through bankruptcy for Chrysler and, presumably, G.M."
Lenders 'Rewarded' With Bookrunner Hirings (FT)
"So far this year, 40 per cent of corporate bond issues greater than $500m have used more than three bookrunners, according to Dealogic - up from 22 per cent a year a earlier and 13 per cent in 2007. Small deals of $100m or more have also employed more bookrunners.
The proportion of such deals with more than three bookrunners has doubled this year to 30 per cent."
Immelt Warns Of Tough Growth Ahead (Reuters)
Good to see he's out in front of this one:
"As consumers around the world get more conservative, we think that overall economic growth -- not just for a year or two but even post the recession -- overall economic growth may be slower," Jeff Immelt said at a briefing in Tokyo.
"Our focus on research and development, our focus on globalization, our focus on customer service and customers has to be increased... in an even more substantial way because growth will be harder to come by and we are going to have to work harder to get it.""
MIA Analysts Give Companies Worries (WSJ)
Long story short: the down economy has seen a lot of analysts leave the business, and companies are getting less exposure. Less exposure means lower prices in their stocks, and CFO's are a little worried about that.
"Between September and mid-May, a period capturing the worst of the troubles for Wall Street and the economy, there were more than 2,200 cases of analysts formally dropping coverage of a company, representing about a quarter of research reports during the period, according to data compiled by FactSet Research Systems Inc.
By comparison, from September 2006 to mid-May 2007, capturing the run toward the Dow Jones Industrial Average's all-time high above 14000, just 6.4% of research reports were issued to announce an end to coverage."

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