Opening Bell: 01.06.11

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A Goldman Unit Is Said To Have Rejected Facebook (Dealbook)
Goldman Sachs Capital Partners — a group that manages and invests for pensions, sovereign wealth funds and other prominent clients — was given the initial opportunity to invest $450 million in Facebook. But the unit’s chief, Richard A. Friedman, a longtime Goldman partner, decided the Facebook deal was not suitable for his clients, in part owing to the high valuation and to a mismatch with his investment criteria.

FrontPoint Partners Launches Biggest Fund Amid Probe (WSJ)
FrontPoint Partners LLC, the hedge-fund firm that was hit late last year by the government's insider-trading investigation, completed its biggest launch ever on Thursday. The Greenwich, Conn., firm, run by Dan Waters and Mike Kelly, announced the final close for FrontPoint-SJC Direct Lending Fund LP with total commitments of more than $1 billion. The launch suggests the insider-trading probe hasn't scared off all FrontPoint's investors.

Paul Volcker To Step Down From White House Panel (Reuters)
The decision to leave the board was Volcker's. A source close to him said he was ready to continue to advise Obama on an informal basis as often as the president would like.

LinkedIn Plans To Pursue An IPO (WSJ)
Unless Goldman wants to throw them $450 million.

Angry Witches Cast Spell To Protest Romanian Taxes (NPR)
Angry Romanian witches are using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government who are forcing them to pay taxes. Also in the eye of the taxman are fortune tellers, who should have seen it coming. And President Traian Basescu isn't laughing it off. In a country where superstition is mainstream, the president and his aides wear purple on Thursdays, allegedly to ward off evil spirits. A dozen witches will head to the Danube to put a hex on the government and hurl mandrake into the river "so evil will befall them," said a witch named Alisia. She identified herself with one name, as is customary among witches.

Goldman Sachs May Sell, Hedge Facebook Stake Without Warning to Investors (Bloomberg)
In the last sentence of a one-page investment profile sent to private wealth clients, the firm explains: “GS Group may at any time further reduce its exposure to its investment in Facebook (through hedging arrangements, sales or otherwise), without notice to the fund or investors in the fund.”

Greece: No Problem Paying Debts (WSJ)
Papandreou also denied that Greece was engaged in talks to restructure its debt, despite lingering market concerns that the harsh austerity plan forced on Greece by its lenders will stifle growth and force it to restructure its debt. “There are no such talks. If we look at the fiscal consolidation, our reforms and the strong backing (of the European Financial Stability Facility) mechanism, we believe we will have no problem in paying back the debt to our private debtors,” he said on the sidelines of a conference of the future of capitalism in Paris.

Soros Mistrusts EU Aid as Irish Default Risk Soars (Bloomberg)
Assessing the aid plan, billionaire George Soros wrote in the Financial Times last month that the country will have to renegotiate the accord. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said a default would “destroy” the country.

Obama Turns To Experienced Hands For New Staff (NYT)
William M. Daley, who was commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, visited the West Wing to meet with the president and other advisers for a final series of discussions about serving as chief of staff. He has told associates he would accept the job if an offer was extended, and officials said Mr. Obama was favoring him.

Dogfight Erupts In Plane Ticket Sales (WSJ)
In a retaliatory move against American Airlines, Sabre Holdings Corp., a middleman for many carriers' seats, said it is raising the fees it charges American to distribute its fare information and sell its seats through thousands of travel agents. Sabre also said it will display American's flights less prominently than rival airlines in its vast booking system.

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