Opening Bell: 07.01.13

Author:
Publish date:

Onyx Rejects Amgen’s Takeover Bid, Then Places Itself on the Market (DealBook)
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. put itself up for sale on Sunday after having rejected an unsolicited $10 billion takeover bid by the biotechnology giant Amgen last week as too low. The company said in a statement that Amgen had proposed paying $120 a share in cash, a 38 percent premium to Onyx’s closing price on Friday. Onyx, which makes biopharmaceutical drugs, said it had hired the investment bank Centerview Partners to contact possible suitors. It has already been in touch with a number of potential buyers, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Tribune to Buy 19 TV Stations for $2.7 Billion (DealBook)
The Tribune Company agreed on Monday to buy 19 local television stations for about $2.7 billion, becoming one of the nation’s biggest commercial TV station owners amid an effort to build out its video and digital operations and move away from newspapers.

Nokia to pay €1.7bn to buy Siemens out of telecoms joint venture (FT)
Nokia is buying Siemens out of their telecoms equipment joint venture for €1.7bn, giving the Finnish group full control over what is its best-performing business but raising questions about the strength of its balance sheet. The full purchase of Nokia Siemens Networks adds the relative stability of the telecoms equipment business to the Finnish group’s struggling mobile phone unit, which has been subject to rumours about a possible sale.

Dell's Cash Overseas Is Needed at Home (WSJ)
Advisers working on Dell Inc.'s $24.4 billion buyout are trying to solve a problem: how to use the computer maker's foreign cash without paying a $2.6 billion U.S. tax bill. ... Teams of accountants, advisers and lawyers are putting in place a plan to use the company's foreign earnings tax-free to fund their deal now, as well as help repay the substantial debt that is being taken on as part of the transaction, a person familiar with the matter said. The solution doesn't affect Dell shareholders; rather, it is a quandary for the buyers.

Simons Strategy to Shield Profit From Taxes Draws IRS Ire (Bloomberg)
Renaissance sought to convert profit from Medallion’s rapid trading into long-term capital gains, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the dispute hasn’t been made public. The top federal rate on long-term gains is about half that on short-term. Versions of the strategy, which involved shifting ownership of Medallion’s portfolio to banks including Barclays Plc (BARC), were used for most of the past decade, one person with knowledge of the matter said.

Belgian diplomat booted from golf club, treated like ‘terrorists’ over wife’s breast-feeding (NYP)
Detective Scott Harding allegedly yelled, “Close the doors!” and two other diners were told to leave the terrace. “He was walking as if he was acting in a Western movie,” Neijens said. “He had one hand on his gun, one hand on his Taser.” Neijens said the officer warned the couple they were trespassing and said some people at the club thought they were terrorists because of their black backpack. When Remans, on the verge of tears, questioned why terrorists would breast-feed at a ritzy club, the cop allegedly replied, “In Sri Lanka, babies are used by terrorists.” Harding changed his tone when Neijens revealed his State Department-issued ID. “You have to understand, this club has had terrorism threats in the past,” the cop said.

The Bundesbank's fight to be heard (Reuters)
Thrust into the Bundesbank presidency in 2011 when his predecessor resigned in protest at ECB policy, Jens Weidmann heads a once-mighty institution that still employs nearly 10,000 people - far more than the 1,600 at the ECB - but which is struggling to adapt to life as just one of 17 national stakeholders in the ECB, albeit the biggest. The 45-year-old's task is daunting: often in the minority at the ECB, he must use all his tactical nous to gain traction with the Bundesbank's conservative, inflation-fighting policies. Failure would jeopardize Germans' confidence in the ECB, and the euro - a scenario that could hit support for the single currency project in its biggest member state.

Attacks from America: NSA Spied on European Union Offices (Der Spiegel)
Information obtained by SPIEGEL shows that America's National Security Agency (NSA) not only conducted online surveillance of European citizens, but also appears to have specifically targeted buildings housing European Union institutions. The information appears in secret documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden that SPIEGEL has in part seen. A "top secret" 2010 document describes how the secret service attacked the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington. The document suggests that in addition to installing bugs in the building in downtown Washington, DC, the European Union representation's computer network was also infiltrated.

'Unprecedented' $80 Billion Pulled From Bond Funds (CNBC)
A record amount of money poured out of exchange-traded and mutual bond funds in June, according to a fresh report by TrimTabs, nearly double the amount pulled out of bond funds at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008. Investor fears over the scaling back of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond purchasing program has seen the yield on 10-year Treasurys rise sharply to 2.5 percent as $80 billion left bond funds in June, according to the research.

China's Cash Crunch Shows Signs of Easing (WSJ)
The strong determination by China's new leaders to maintain a relatively tight monetary policy to facilitate economic rebalancing and cut long-term risks in the nation's banking system means borrowing costs for Chinese businesses are entering a new, pricier phase .... Nevertheless, the liquidity squeeze in China's interbank lending market showed signs of easing Monday, with the seven-day repurchase agreement rate, a benchmark of interbank borrowing costs, dropping to 5.43% on a weighted-average basis from 6.16% at Friday's close and a record 30% hit in an isolated trade on June 20. But the rate remains considerably higher than the 3.3% it had averaged this year before the cash crunch started in late May.

EU Accuses 13 Investment Banks of Hampering CDS Competition (Bloomberg)
The EU sent a so-called statement of objections to 13 banks, data provider Markit Group Ltd. and the International Swaps & Derivatives Association over allegations they worked together “to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009,” the European Commission said in an e-mailed statement. “It would be unacceptable if banks collectively blocked exchanges to protect their revenues from over-the-counter trading of credit derivatives,” Joaquin Almunia, the Brussels-based commissioner in charge of competition, said in the statement. “Over-the-counter trading is not only more expensive for investors than exchange trading, it is also prone to systemic risks.”

McKesson Holders Urged to Vote Against Chairman (WSJ)
An influential union investment group is opposing the re-election of McKesson Corp.'s chairman and two other directors, citing what the group said was excessive chief-executive pay, the company's failure to heed a shareholder advisory vote calling for splitting the chairman and chief executive roles and other governance issues.

Talk of Mergers Stirs the Big Players in Cable TV (DealBook)
“Frothy is probably too polite a word” for the current climate, said Craig Moffett, the longtime Sanford C. Bernstein analyst who recently formed his own firm, Moffett Research.

Jennifer Lopez: Sorry I performed for Turkmenistan leader (NBC)
Jennifer Lopez is clearing the air after performing for Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in his home country Saturday night. Despite the leader's oppressive record of human rights violations, the songstress took the stage to sing "Happy Birthday" to the 56-year-old. And after being criticized by the non-profit Human Rights Foundation for the performance, Lopez is now addressing the controversy surrounding her appearance at the event. In a statement obtained by E! News from Jennifer's rep, Lopez's performance was said to be part of a concert sponsored by "China National Petroleum Corporation that was presented to their local executives in Turkmenistan. [And] was not a government sponsored event or political in nature."

Related

Opening Bell: 11.06.12

Europe, Central Bank Spar Over Athens Aid (WSJ) Greece faces a key Treasury-bill repayment in less than two weeks, and the money isn't there unless governments provide additional aid or the ECB agrees to lend Greek banks the money to roll over the debt. It is a particularly sensitive issue for the ECB, which is trying to create a credible financial backstop to hold the euro together while governments overhaul their economies and finances. But with each step the ECB takes to help Greece and others, it inches ever closer to rules that prevent it from printing money to help governments out of their debt problems. The bank is already facing accusations in Germany that it is straying from its primary mandate to keep inflation low. Iceland Sees Mortgage Bubble Threat From Foreign Cash (Bloomberg) Iceland’s lawmakers are searching for ways to keep their economy from lurching into another asset bubble as offshore investors forced to keep their money in the country channel it into the housing market. Apartment prices have soared 17 percent since April 2010 and are now just 1.7 percent below the pre-crisis peak in March 2008, Statistics Iceland estimates. The boom stems from currency restrictions imposed in 2008 to prevent the collapse of the Krona after the country’s biggest banks defaulted on $85 billion of debt. While those controls helped cauterize a capital exodus and propel a recovery, it left about $8 billion in offshore kronur that can only flow into Icelandic assets, inflating demand for housing and mortgage bonds. The government is now seeking to correct the imbalances, which risk plunging the island into yet another boom-bust cycle just four years after the banking industry dragged the economy through its worst recession since World War II. FBI Probes Rochdale Securities (NYP) The Stamford, Conn., broker dealer is teetering on the brink of extinction, the result of an unauthorized $1 billion purchase of Apple shares on Oct. 25, sources said. The trade of 1.6 million Apple shares was made — instead of a client’s order of one-tenth that amount, or 160,000 shares — to perpetuate the alleged stock manipulation scam, people familiar with the matter said...The alleged stock manipulation scam was being worked with at least one other unidentified trader not affiliated with Rochdale, sources said. Multiple sources said the alleged scam had already pocketed the traders roughly $20 million, sources said. Drop In Financial Deals Spurs One (WSJ) New York investment bank KBW made it through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it couldn't outlast a drought in financial-services deal making. KBW, which struggled in recent years at the hands of a sharp slowdown in its core business—financial-industry merger advice—agreed be acquired by larger rival Stifel Financial for $575 million. Berkshire Cash Nears Record as Buffett Extends Deal Hunt (Bloomberg) Cash surged 17 percent to $47.8 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in its quarterly regulatory filing Nov. 2. That’s $115 million less than the record at the end of June 2011. “He’s elephant hunting,” said Jeff Matthews, author of “Secrets in Plain Sight: Business & Investing Secrets of Warren Buffett” and a Berkshire shareholder. “And there aren’t a lot of elephants around.” Did Wall Street Just Give Up On Romney? (NetNet) John Carney says yes: "On the eve of the election, many financial professionals on Wall Street believe that Mitt Romney has lost the election. In phone conversations, email and instant messaging exchanges, and text messages with over 20 people in different jobs on Wall Street today the message I picked up was almost universal: The president will be re-elected." Christie: Hug From Springsteen Made Me Weep (WaPo) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters Monday that he had an unexpected — and moving — conversation earlier with his hero, Bruce Springsteen. He also got a hug from the rock legend on Friday, at a benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He later cried, calling the moment a highlight in a tough week. “Bruce and I had an opportunity to chat for a while Friday night… we hugged and he told me, ‘it’s official, we’re friends,” Christie said at a news briefing. President Obama was on the phone with the Republican governor Monday, discussing storm damage, when he briefly handed the line over to Springsteen. The rock legend is traveling on Air Force One as he campaigns for the president. Before the storm Springsteen refused to acknowledge Christie, whose budget cuts he has criticized. But in the wake of the disaster, which hit the Jersey Shore particularly hard, he has started to embrace his ardent fan. HSBC Dirty Laundry Costs (Bloomberg) HSBC Holdings said it’s likely to face criminal charges from US anti-money-laundering probes, and the cost of a settlement may “significantly” exceed the $1.5 billion the bank has set aside. The lender has made an additional $800 million provision to cover a potential settlement, adding to the $700 million it had earmarked. A Senate committee said in July that failures in HSBC money-laundering controls allowed terrorists and drug cartels access to the US financial system. Bharara insider streak on line (NYP) With a 6-0 record in trial convictions against defendants caught in his insider-trading probe, Wall Street’s top cop Wednesday will kick off his final trial emanating from that investigation. Already the insider-trading probe has resulted in 68 convictions — including guilty pleas, the biggest Wall Street crackdown since the 1980s. Squaring off against Bharara in Manhattan federal court are two well-heeled hedge-fund defendants: Anthony Chiasson, founder of the $4 billion hedge fund Level Global, and Todd Newman, a former money manager with Diamondback Global. The beginning of jury selection was delayed more than a week because of Hurricane Sandy. Chiasson and Newman stand accused of reaping more than $60 million in profits from trading confidential tips about computer maker Dell and graphics firm Nvidia. 13 People Trying To Trade Gas For Sex On Craiglist (BuzzFeed) It was probably inevitable that the gas shortages in New York and New Jersey would lead to ads like "I've got gas from Hess and looking for any sexy woman who may not want to wait in those long lines for hours and hours only to find the station empty when it's their turn. So let me know, I'm sure we could work something out to get your tank filled and empty mine. Call or text."

Opening Bell: 5.14.15

Germany still giving Greece tough love; Pimco execs depart; Morgan Stanley fined; Guy robs credit union for girlfriend's bail money; and more.