Opening Bell: 06.30.14

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Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ)
Blackstone LP LP is quietly laying plans to start a hedge fund that will make big, bold bets, an effort it hopes will eventually rival some of the largest firms in the business, according to people familiar with the plans. The private-equity firm will fund several teams of traders with hundreds of millions of dollars to place a relatively small number of large, highly concentrated wagers, the people said. The strategy is notable now as many hedge funds are shying away from making such outsize bets. Combined, the teams' investments will form a multistrategy hedge fund to be pitched to wealthy clients. New York-based Blackstone is confident the firm can hedge the overall risks, according to people familiar with the firm's plans.

BNP Paribas board approves record $8.9B settlement (FT)
BNP Paribas has secured a partial concession on the eve of a record $8.9 billion settlement over alleged sanction violations that US authorities are expected to announce on Monday. The board of France's biggest bank by market capitalisation met over the weekend to give final approval to the settlement, people familiar with the matter said. On top of the fine for allegedly concealing about $30 billion of transactions for clients in Sudan, Iran and Cuba to dodge Washington's economic sanctions, the bank is due to submit a guilty plea. However, the people said BNP had negotiated a concession with US authorities who plan to impose a rare suspension for as much as a year on its ability to clear US dollar transactions, which is crucial for its international wholesale banking activity.

Ex-SAC Capital COO Kumin to Start Hedge-Fund Firm (WSJ)
A former senior executive of SAC Capital Advisors LP is planning to start a new stock-trading hedge-fund firm, potentially with a big chunk of funding from Leucadia National Corp., according to people familiar with deal discussions. Solomon "Sol" Kumin, who was SAC's chief operating officer, is in advanced talks over a deal with Leucadia that would make the company Mr. Kumin's biggest investor and owner of a substantial portion of his firm, the people said. In total, Mr. Kumin plans to start with between $800 million and $1 billion, which would make it one of the largest hedge funds to launch this year. "I've enjoyed the past five months spending time with my family," Mr. Kumin said when reached by telephone Friday. "I'm looking forward to getting back into the hedge-fund business in September."

Ergen Sidelined in Battle With Falcone Over LightSquared (Dealbook)
The bitter battle between the billionaires Charles W. Ergen and Philip A. Falcone over LightSquared, the bankrupt wireless broadband company, appears to be nearing an end. The twist is that Mr. Ergen is no longer involved. LightSquared has devised a plan to emerge from bankruptcy with the participation of all of its creditors except Mr. Ergen, the satellite television mogul and chairman of Dish Network and EchoStar, according to a court-appointed mediator, Judge Robert D. Drain. Mr. Ergen, who left one of the three mediation sessions with creditors without Judge Drain’s permission, had not “participated in the mediation in good faith” and “wasted the parties and the mediator’s time and resources,” the judge wrote in a memorandum filed on Friday afternoon.

Beer Makers Pray for a Fruitful Summer (WSJ)
Roughly a third of beer sales in the U.S. take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day, often making or breaking the year. The most critical week is that of July Fourth, when sales traditionally are 30% to 40% higher than the average week, according to industry estimates. High temperatures are a bigger deal for brewers than distillers, which have been converting beer drinkers to cocktails for more than a decade, and are partly responsible for the decline in American beer consumption in four of the past five years.

Drugs not a factor in Shia LaBeouf’s ‘Cabaret’ meltdown (NYP)
Shia LaBeouf’s highly publicized meltdown last Thursday was not influenced by drugs. While drugs didn’t play a part in the awkward showdown, alcohol certainly did, according to E! News. “Drinking and Shia do not mix well,” said a source about the 28-year-old. “But he definitely wasn’t on any kind of drugs.” Before heading to a performance of “Cabaret,” LaBeouf was spotted drinking at least four strawberry margaritas at New York’s Iguana Club. Shortly after, LaBeouf began taunting a homeless man in Times Square for his McDonald’s food. He soon headed to “Cabaret” where he was escorted out in handcuffs after being arrested for disorderly conduct. He allegedly told a cop, “I’ll f—k you up,” and called another officer a “f-g.” According to sources, the famous child actor was muzzled with a face mask for spitting.

Global M&A at seven-year high as big corporate deals return (Reuters)
Investor support for large acquisitions and a desire to trump rivals in consolidating markets have led chief executives to strike big transactions so far in 2014, raising year-to-date global deal volumes to their highest level in seven years. Corporate buyers did not shy away from going hostile if their targets proved unwilling to sell, while more U.S. companies rushed to buy overseas peers to lower tax rates and access cash held offshore in a practice known as inversion. The dealmaking frenzy could last for several months absent geopolitical or economic shocks, with buyers keen to take advantage of their strong stock prices, ample cash reserves and cheap available financing.

Energy Future Lenders Fight to Put Brakes on Turnaround (Bloomberg)
Up for review today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington is the Dallas-based company’s proposal to borrow $1.9 billion under a reorganization plan devised earlier this year with what it calls “anchor” investors such as Fidelity Investments. The money is to be used to help cut the cost of debt from the company’s record 2007 leveraged buyout. Some lenders say the anchors inserted a big penalty for abandoning that loan so the judge would feel pressured to approve it, locking in Energy Future’s entire bankruptcy plan with all its alleged inequities. Alternate plans, such as the takeover of one unit by NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), have been proposed since the April 29 bankruptcy filing.

Advice for State-of-the-Art Central Banker From BIS (Bloomberg)
Failure to monitor what the BIS calls the financial cycle - - which tracks the interaction of debt, assets and risk-taking with economic growth -- leaves economies prone to fragilities such as overindebted companies and households or bloated financial systems. “The loose link between business and financial cycles over prolonged periods may tempt policy makers to focus on the former without paying much heed to the latter,” the Basel, Switzerland -based institution said in its annual report published yesterday. “But setting policy without regard to the financial cycle comes at a peril.”

Billionaire investor’s family has acting on the mind (NYP)
Peltz, the founder of Trian Fund Management, will see his daughter, Nicola Peltz, 19, play Mark Wahlberg’s daughter Tessa Yeager in “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” opening Tuesday. In a promotional YouTube video posted last week, Nicola said the relationship in the role is similar to the one she has with Nelson. “My favorite part of the whole movie, you know, having to do with my character is the father/daughter relationship because I’m so close with my dad. I think it’s so important to have a strong dad.” Peltz has had TV gigs and smaller roles in films such as “The Last Airbender.” She’s not the only one bit by the acting bug in the family; Her brother William Peltz is also an actor.

DEPUTIES: Volusia man too drunk and high to remember burglary (MYN13)
An accused burglar in Volusia County says he doesn't remember how all the stolen loot ended up in his apartment; mainly, he says, because he was drunk and high. Daytona Beach Police say Daniel Suba stole televisions, electronics, and jewelry from one of his neighbors. Suba says he was drinking and taking pills the night of the burglary. He says he woke up the next day to find everything in his apartment.

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