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Opening Bell: 08.21.14

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BofA to Pay $16.65 Billion to End U.S. Mortgage Probes (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp. will pay $16.65 billion to end federal and state probes into mortgage bond sales, the harshest penalty yet related to loans that fueled the 2008 financial crisis, the Justice Department said. The settlement, which includes $7 billion in consumer relief and $9.65 billion in cash, resolves civil investigations by federal and state prosecutors, the U.S. said today. “This constitutes the largest civil settlement with a single entity in history, addressing conduct uncovered in more than a dozen cases and investigations,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference in Washington today.

Family Dollar Spurns Dollar General Bid on Antitrust Concern (Bloomberg)
Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) spurned a $9 billion offer from Dollar General Corp. in favor of a lower bid from Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR), saying it was concerned the Dollar General deal wouldn’t be able to pass antitrust hurdles. The board rejected the Dollar General proposal and reaffirmed last month’s pact to merge with Dollar Tree, according to a statement today from the Matthews, North Carolina-based company. Dollar Tree has agreed to pay about $8.5 billion, excluding debt. “Our board reviewed, with our advisers, all aspects of Dollar General’s proposal and unanimously concluded that it is not reasonably likely to be completed on the terms proposed,” Chief Executive Officer Howard Levine said in the statement.

Standard Chartered Could Face Legal Action By U.A.E Clients (WSJ)
Standard Chartered may face legal action in the United Arab Emirates brought by clients whose accounts will be closed by the bank after it was slapped with a $300 million fine related to alleged lapses in anti-money-laundering controls, the U.A.E. Central Bank said Thursday. Standard Chartered's settlement with the New York state regulator, announced Tuesday, required among other things that the bank improve its monitoring of certain small and medium-size business relationships at its U.A.E. locations. The U.A.E. central bank estimates between 1,400 and 8,000 clients could be affected. The central bank said Standard Chartered was liable to legal action because of the "material and moral damage" company owners may suffer as a result of having their accounts closed. It said its consumer protection unit is ready to receive and consider complaints from the bank's affected customers.

Hipster-hater made 400+ fake 911 calls to get rid of cool kids (NYP)
A Brooklyn curmudgeon so irritated by the noisy hipsters on his trendy Williamsburg block that he called cops more than 400 times will need earplugs where he’s likely headed next — prison. Louis Segna, 53, was convicted Wednesday of faking emergency calls of a subway explosion in the Bedford Avenue station and violence at nearby bars. He could face seven years in prison. “Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?” a dispatcher asked during one false call from the 6-foot, 300-pound Segna at 1:30 a.m. Dec. 31, 2012. “Uh, yeah, in Brooklyn there’s a bar called Spike Hill. I went in there and they got the music blasting, and I went in there to try to talk to them, and some guy pushed me out and pulled a knife on me,” Segna stuttered. “A white guy, he has a black leather jacket.” Responding police found no knife-wielding customers, court papers state. The day before, Segna told another dispatcher, “There’s a bar called Station, and there were shots there.” “How many shots you heard?’’ the dispatcher asked. “Two or three … There’s a lot of screaming there now. I can see some people running. I’m going to get off the call, I’m getting out of the area now,” Stegna said, lying about the gunfire. Segna was annoyed by the new residents of his increasingly gentrified neighborhood, his lawyer said outside court after Segna was found guilty.

‘Bud’-ding pot industry lights up a whole new economy (NYP)
Entrepreneurs David Bernstein and Vlad ‎Stelmak are two of the growing number of businesspeople to get a whiff of the possible profits as more than 20 states have now passed pot-friendly laws. Their brainstorm? A website and app — — devoted to helping people find jobs in the expanding marijuana industry. The Fair Lawn, NJ, duo launched the site in May after seeing news footage of people waiting for hours to get into a marijuana job fair in Colorado. “We were sitting together and we saw this story come up and we were just like, wow,” said Bernstein, who likes to call the dot-com boom surrounding the pot industry the “pot-com boom.” The pair are hoping their site, which lists more than 250 jobs — including a photographer for WeedMaps and a lawyer for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Certification Center — will save their struggling business AnythingIT, a penny stock company that lost $1.3 million last year.

Carl Icahn Takes Stake in Hertz to Pressure Its Management (Dealbook)
Carl C. Icahn, the longtime activist investor, disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that he had accumulated an 8.48 percent stake in Hertz Global Holdings, with plans to put pressure on the rental car company’s management. Hertz is only the latest target for Mr. Icahn, who has become a billionaire by buying into companies and loudly pushing for change. This year alone, he has gone after eBay and Family Dollar Stores, while pursuing a fight against Apple and increasing his involvement in the nutritional supplements company Herbalife. Mr. Icahn, who built his Hertz stake by buying options in recent months, disclosed in the filing that he wanted to engage Hertz’s board and management in talks about “shareholder value, accounting issues, operational failures, underperformance relative to its peers,” as well as Mr. Icahn’s own “lack of confidence in management.”

Big Apple’s first bitcoin ATM opens for business (NYP)
The Lamassu-made machine, which costs a cool $6,500, was installed at Flat 128, a “luxury lifestyle store” on Christopher Street that sells UK-styled jewelry and home goods. Don’t get too excited, though. The ATM is currently a one-way street that only allows cash in — not out. That could change in the coming months, however, as Lamassu plans to release software that will let the machines exchange cyber currency for cash, said founder Zach Harvey. Moreover, users of this particular machine will have to wait until they use it to learn how much they will be charged for each transaction. “We’re not discussing fee,” said Matt Russell of PYC, the operator that bought and is now managing the machine. “It will be a few percentage points over the average” price of bitcoins at the time of the transaction, but it could fluctuate, he added.

Police: Man drives stolen electric shopping cart to meet probation officer, gets arrested (KOAT)
Court Documents say Michael Johnson, 18, arrived to meet with his probation officer on Monday at the Metropolitan Courthouse on an electric shopping cart from Walmart. The probation officer asked Johnson where he got the cart, to which Johnson said he “took it from the Walmart on San Mateo and Zuni,” the documents say. Johnson was arrested and charged with larceny and receiving stolen property. He violated his probation when he was arrested and is being held on a $500 bond. Albuquerque police made the arrest and said Tuesday that the cart could have been put to better use. “The cart was worth over $1,800, and certainly it could have been used by those who needed it more than this man,” APD spokesman Tanner Tixier said.


Opening Bell: 5.4.15

Charter interested in Time Warner; HSBC whistleblower not finished here; Berkshire will probably buy a German company; No $6 mm home run bonus for A-Rod; Toilet beards; and more.

Opening Bell: 2.12.16

Pimco bets on battered banks; AIG avoids wrath of Icahn; Deutsche buys back; Ted Cruz yanks ad featuring porn star; and more.