Dimon Kicks Off Wall Street Pressure On Global Competitiveness (Bloomberg)
Dimon is the keynote speaker today at a conference on global capital markets competitiveness hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. “If America adopts a lot of things very different than the rest of the world,” U.S. competitiveness will be damaged, Dimon told investors at a Feb. 15 meeting at JPMorgan’s New York headquarters. JPMorgan’s chairman and CEO said forcing banks to spin off some derivatives business is “absurd” and other changes in last year’s Dodd-Frank Act are a “terrible shame.”
Microsoft Cofounder Hits Out At Gates (WSJ, excerpt)
Bill Gates schemed to take shares in Microsoft Corp. from his co-founder during the early days of the software company following his partner's treatment for cancer, according to a new memoir by the billionaire co-founder, Paul Allen...In the book, Mr. Allen reveals that his decision to leave Microsoft was prompted largely by his growing disenchantment with the behavior of Mr. Gates, whom he portrays as a confrontational taskmaster who clashed with Mr. Allen's low-key style. Past histories of Microsoft have said Mr. Allen's departure from the company was sparked by his first brush with cancer in 1982, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. In that year, Mr. Allen says he eavesdropped on a discussion in the Microsoft offices in Bellevue, Wash., between Mr. Gates and Steve Ballmer, now the company's CEO, in which he heard the two men talking about Mr. Allen's recent lack of productivity and how they might dilute his equity in the company by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders. Mr. Allen said he burst into the room and confronted Messrs. Gates and Ballmer, both of whom later apologized to him and backed down from their plan.
Trader Outlines Two Faces Of Galleon (NYP)
Former employee Adam Smith testified that the culture at Galleon was such that Rajaratnam encouraged employees to communicate openly about their trading ideas and stock tips -- unless it came to "sensitive" inside information. In those cases, Rajaratnam "admonished" workers who were too specific and told them never to put anything in writing unless they could keep it "vague," Smith testified.
Merrill Lynch To Pay $1.2M To Former Co-President (WSJ)
Ahmass L. Fakahany, Merrill's former co-president and chief operating officer, filed the arbitration claim in December 2008, alleging the firm benefited financially at his expense, among other things, according to a ruling by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel. The ruling, entered on March 24, didn't explain the basis for Fakahany's arguments, or the panel's decision, as is customary in arbitration cases. Fakahany, who left the firm in February 2008, sought $70 million in damages from Merrill Lynch & Co., in addition to John Thain, its former chairman and chief executive, members of its board of directors, and Banc of America Securities.
Deal Rush Pushes Takeovers To Most Expensive Since Lehman (Bloomberg)
Acquirers paid a median 9.2 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for companies in thefirst quarter, the most since the second quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Valuations are still lower than during the last M&A boom, when they peaked at 11.4 times Ebitda.
Jim Rogers: Oil To Rise; Nuclear Energy Will Come Back (CNBC)
Uranium and nuclear power stocks are likely to be good buys only in two or three years, when things calm down, Rogers, who together with George Soros co-funded the Quantum Fund, said in an interview. "Unless we find something to replace oil and coal, we have to have nuclear… whether we like it or not," he said. Rogers, whose portfolio is mainly in commodities and currencies, said oil prices will rise.
Where The Bailout Went Wrong, By Neil Barofsky (NYT)
"Worse, Treasury apparently has chosen to ignore rather than support real efforts at reform, such as those advocated by Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to simplify or shrink the most complex financial institutions. In the final analysis, it has been Treasury’s broken promises that have turned TARP — which was instrumental in saving the financial system at a relatively modest cost to taxpayers — into a program commonly viewed as little more than a giveaway to Wall Street executives."
G-20 Criticism of Fed Easing May Be Muted at China Meeting (Bloomberg)
Chinese criticism of the Federal Reserve for flooding the world with money may get little traction among Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting in China as Europe’s debt crisis and Japan’s disaster take precedence. Timothy Geithner, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will gather in Nanjing for a one-day seminar on the international monetary system tomorrow. A Chinese state economist called for an end to the dollar’s dominance in a paper posted on a website yesterday, blaming the U.S. for fueling inflation. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan, armed NATO intervention in Libya, and the heightened prospect of a bailout of Portugal are among developments since Sarkozy proposed the meeting seven months ago.
State Tax Revenue Snaps Back (WSJ)
Total tax receipts for state and local governments hit $1.29 trillion in 2010, just 2.3% shy of the $1.32 trillion taken in during 2008, not adjusted for inflation, according to Census Bureau data.
Apollo Global Raises $565.4 Million in Expanded Share Offering (Bloomberg)
Apollo Global Management LLC raised $565.4 million, 13 percent more than it sought, pricing its share sale at the top end of the marketed range and increasing the number of shares sold. The private equity firm founded by Leon Black sold 29.8 million shares at $19 each, the company said yesterday in a statement. Apollo had offered 26.3 million shares at $17 to $19 apiece, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and “to fund growth initiatives,” the prospectus showed.
Private-Sector Job Growth Continues; Layoffs on Decline (CNBC)
The private sector added 201,000 jobs from February to March, according to a report from ADP that sets the stage for what is expected to be a similarly solid nonfarm employment report from the government later this week...The report signals "across-the-board strength by industry and by size," Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, said on CNBC. In particular, he said the surge in service jobs helps balance the recovery and indicates that critical areas are catching up.
Real Estate Adds To Mets Owners' Headache (WSJ)
Last year, a loan servicer filed to foreclose on two office buildings in Fairfield, N.J., where the $609 million Sterling American Property V fund defaulted on a $35 million mortgage, according to loan research service Trepp LLC.
Five charged with using children's coloring books to smuggle drugs (PAC)
Disney-character coloring books arriving at the Cape May County Correctional Center and addressed “To Daddy” in a child’s handwriting were saturated with a narcotic drug as part of a smuggling operation, authorities said Monday. Two inmates at the correctional center, a state prison inmate and two others were charged with distribution of a controlled substance after they allegedly turned Suboxone, a prescription drug designed to treat opioid addiction, into a paste. The paste was then painted onto children’s pictures and sent through inmate mail, Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer said Monday.