Opening Bell: 04.01.14

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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg’s Base Salary Falls to $1 (Bloomberg)
Zuckerberg, who is Facebook Inc. (FB)’s chief executive officer and also the 22nd richest person in the world as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was paid $1 in salary for 2013, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. That’s down from a base salary of $503,205 in 2012, the year that Facebook went public...Zuckerberg, whose wealth totals around $27 billion, owns Facebook shares that give him 61.6 percent of voting power in the Menlo Park, California-based social network, according to the filing. He saw his net worth balloon last year as Facebook’s stock more than doubled in value.

Drug Company Seeks to Be Repaid Legal Fees in SAC Capital Inquiry (Dealbook)
Elan Pharmaceuticals is seeking to recoup the more than $1.5 million in legal fees it paid to comply with document requests by the federal government in its insider trading investigation of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors. The drug company is asking the federal judge presiding over the hearing in April on the guilty plea and penalty for Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund to consider it as a victim under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Elan submitted a letter to Judge Laura T. Swain of federal District Court saying it incurred the legal fees from its outside law firm Shearman & Sterling in connection with the SAC inquiry.

FBI Investigates High-Frequency Traders for Abuse of Information (Bloomberg)
The FBI joins a roster of authorities examining high-frequency trading, in which firms typically use super-fast computers to post and cancel orders at rates measured in thousandths or even millionths of a second to capture price discrepancies. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened a broad investigation into whether U.S. stock exchanges and alternative venues give such traders improper advantages.

Makers of Bitcoin A.T.M.s See a Not-Quite-Cashless Future (Dealbook)
In addition to the Glocks and Remingtons that have long been available at Central Texas Gun Works, customers can now buy something new: Bitcoin. A bulky blue machine in the lobby of the gun store in Austin, Tex., is one of the first in the country to allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin for cash. “I drove about 20 miles to come use the A.T.M.,” said Mitch Frink, who took $160 out of the machine in its first week in operation. “I wanted to be able say, ‘Yeah, I sold Bitcoin for straight cash and could get it within 30 minutes.’ ” The machine, built by the Las Vegas company Robocoin, is a somewhat odd creation. If Bitcoin is aimed at moving the world toward a cashless future, how long will a cash-dispensing machine for the virtual currency last, particularly when it is more awkward to use than a traditional bank A.T.M.? Just to create an account, Robocoin users have to provide state-issued identification and a palm scan.

Va. couple wins lottery three times in same month (USAT)
Lightning struck again for a Portsmouth, Va., couple who won the Powerball drawing earlier this month. Calvin and Zatera Spencer first won $1 million on March 12. Then, on March 26, Calvin Spencer won $50,000 with 10 winning tickets in the Virginia Lottery's Pick 4 game. But it doesn't stop there. The next day, shortly after dropping his wife off for an appointment, Calvin Spencer bought a Virginia Lottery Scratcher ticket, $100 Million Cash Extravaganza, and won the $1 million prize. "Baby, we did it again!" he told her.

Falcone says suppressing Ergen's debt is key to LightSquared restructuring (Reuters)
Falcone, whose Harbinger Capital Partners owns bankrupt wireless company LightSquared, on Monday said he always intended to cut the debt claims of LightSquared's largest creditor, Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) Chairman Charlie Ergen. "I don't think Charlie should have been in the capital structure," Falcone said during testimony in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, in the third week of hearings in which LightSquared is seeking court approval of its plan to exit bankruptcy and repay creditors. The plan would pay most lenders in cash while paying Ergen in the form of a long-term note, terms to which Ergen has objected. Under intense questioning from Ergen's attorneys, Falcone acknowledged that he believed subordinating Ergen's claims would allow Harbinger to retain equity in a post-bankruptcy LightSquared.

For Deal Makers, China Is a Drag (WSJ)
Major global mergers are being held up by several months because China's antitrust authority has a relatively small staff and an unusually broad mandate that includes weighing a deal's impact on domestic economic development, antitrust experts say. The delays, along with some of the remedies required to overcome the agency's concerns, are prompting deal advisers to try to minimize Beijing's impact or—where possible—bypass its review altogether, they say. China has yet to give the green light to the $35 billion merger of advertising giants Publicis Groupe SA and Omnicom Group Inc., or to Microsoft Corp.'s €5.4 billion ($7.5 billion) acquisition of Nokia Corp.'s handset business, months after both deals were approved by antitrust authorities in the U.S. and the European Union.

OCBC Offers $5 Billion for Wing Hang Bank (WSJ)
Singapore's second-biggest bank by assets will buy all of Wing Hang Bank's shares for HK$125 (US$16.12) each, which is about a 1.6% premium to its last closing price on Friday, OCBC said in a statement Tuesday. Trade in shares of OCBC and Wing Hang have been halted since Friday.

David Hasselhoff's Wacky Memorabilia Auction (THR)
David Hasselhoff is auctioning of items from his personal archive at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on April 11-12. Think of it as a celebrity yard sale. And there’s lots of wacky stuff up for sale. The coolest item is the actor’s personal Knight Rider KITT car. This version of the iconic 1986 Pontiac Firebird wasn’t used on the the hit 1982-1986 NBC show. Its a replica that was made by fans and given to Hasselhoff as a a gift. The car has the same scissor doors and w-style yoke steering wheel of the original. It also comes pre-programmed to speak over 4,000 sound bites from the show and has a “oh kitt” vanity plate. Estimate: $30,000=$50,000. If a full-size KITT care is out of your budget, Hasselhoff is selling his replica KITT golf cart, which he used to drive his kid’s around on Halloween and for soccer practice...The wackiest item up for auction is an oversized (better than life-sized!) model of Hasselhoff in Baywatch swim trunks stretched to look like he’s gliding across the water that comes mounted on a rolling metal rack. It was used as a prop in the 2004 SpongeBob Squarepants movie. Model Hasselhoff is sporting a very weird and almost psychotic grin. Put a glass top on it and this would make the creepiest coffee table ever. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.

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Bondholders Put On Speed Dial (WSJ) At Wall Street giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the quarterly earnings calls for stock analysts tend to get most of the attention. But another kind of call, this one for bondholders, is moving to the fore. The New York securities firms this summer for the first time held conference calls targeting fixed-income investors. Morgan Stanley and Goldman are seeking out new buyers for their debt in an effort to lower interest rates that are now higher than what industrial companies pay. Investors Expect Libor To Be Replaced Within Five Years (Bloomberg) Forty-four percent of those responding to a quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll said the London interbank offered rate, known as Libor, will be supplanted by a more regulated model within five years. Thirty-four percent predicted the rate will continue to be set by banks in the current fashion, while 22 percent said they didn’t know. Greek Decline Sharper Than Expected (WSJ) So that's not good. Jobless Greeks Resolved to Work Clean Toilets in Sweden (Bloomberg) As a pharmaceutical salesman in Greece for 17 years, Tilemachos Karachalios wore a suit, drove a company car and had an expense account. He now mops schools in Sweden, forced from his home by Greece’s economic crisis. “It was a very good job,” said Karachalios, 40, of his former life. “Now I clean Swedish s---.” Karachalios, who left behind his six-year-old daughter to be raised by his parents, is one of thousands fleeing Greece’s record 24 percent unemployment and austerity measures that threaten to undermine growth. The number of Greeks seeking permission to settle in Sweden, where there are more jobs and a stable economy, almost doubled to 1,093 last year from 2010, and is on pace to increase again this year. “I’m trying to survive,” Karachalios said in an interview in Stockholm. “It’s difficult here, very difficult. I would prefer to stay in Greece. But we don’t have jobs.” Private Equity Tests Pension Funds Patience (WSJ) A new report by a consultant to the California State Teachers' Retirement System, or Calstrs, shows that returns from large U.S. buyout funds are lagging behind many of the pension's internal benchmarks. Vladimir Putin Muses On The Benefits Of Group Sex (Telegraph) President Vladimir Putin of Russia has mused that group sex is better than one-on-one intercourse because participants can take a break. Mr. Putin made the observation on Thursday in his first interview since his inauguration in May, with the Kremlin-controlled, English-language RT television channel. “Some fans of group sex say that it’s better than one-on-one because, as with any collective work, you can skive off,” he said. The comment came after the Russian leader had spoken about an orgy that was staged in Moscow’s state biology museum in 2008 which involved Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, one of three feminist activists of the P*ssy Riot group who were jailed for two years for hooliganism last month after a politically charged trial. Falcone Facing Double Trouble (Bloomberg) A group of LightSquared Inc.’s lenders said they oppose extending Philip Falcone’s control of the wireless broadband venture because his strategy to revive the bankrupt company is too risky. LightSquared, which filed for bankruptcy in May, has asked US Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman for a 150-day extension of its exclusive right to control the bankruptcy case. The lenders, who say they own about $1.1 billion of the $1.7 billion in secured debt of the company’s LP unit, objected in a filing yesterday. “Having nothing to lose, Mr. Falcone wants to pursue a high-risk, high-return strategy” of trying to get regulators to reverse their stance on LightSquared’s technology, the lenders said. Nasdaq-100 to Facebook’s rescue (NYP) Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has seen his company’s shares get beaten down to less than half their IPO value, may soon get some relief. And ironically, that help will be coming from Nasdaq, the exchange that botched Facebook’s initial public offering back in May. Nasdaq is expected to add Facebook shares to the Nasdaq-100 index, which includes its biggest non-financial companies. The move, which could happen as early as late December after Nasdaq in October re-calibrates the index, should add some stability to Facebook shares. “It’s fair to say that there will be an additional level of liquidity in [Facebook] because of its inclusion in the [Nasdaq-100],” said Adam Sussman, partner at The Tabb Group. UBS, Goldman Join Chorus Of Gloom On China (WSJ) One after the other, many of the largest global banks are cutting their growth forecasts for the world’s second-biggest economy. The downgrades are likely to intensify investors’ concerns about fallout in the rest of Asia, whose exports have taken a kicking from the euro-zone debt crisis and anemic U.S. recovery, while domestic growth also slows. Munich May Not Have Enough Beer for Oktoberfest (CNBC) Beer brewers in Munich may not be able to supply enough beer for the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, local newspaper Munich TZ reported, but the problem is not a lack of the alcoholic beverage. nstead, Heiner Müller, manager at the Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr brewery told TZ, brewers do not have enough bottles to supply the festival. He called on drinkers to return their empties. "Dear Munichers — bring back your crates. We need our empties,” Müller said...Every summer brewers deal with a shortage of bottles, but it never has been as bad as this year, a spokesman for Hofbräu brewery, which is also suffering from a shortage of bottles, said. He claimed the brewer was short of “tens of thousands” of bottles.