Alibaba IPO Gives Insiders Rare Chance to Sell Early (WSJ)
A swath of early investors in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will be able to sell more than $8 billion worth of shares on the day the Chinese e-commerce company goes public, an unusual arrangement that is influencing how bankers price the offering. Insiders and other investors in companies staging initial public offerings are generally required to hold on to shares for several months, in "lockup" arrangements banks design to help protect the stock's price in its early days. But with Alibaba, a number of shares equal to about a third of what could be sold in the deal aren't covered by such restrictions, according to the company's public filings. In contrast, no pre-IPO shares of Facebook Inc. were allowed to be traded when the social-media company made its market debut.
London Finance Empire Seen Dominating After Scots Vote (Bloomberg)
The Scottish nationalists’ narrative is that of London as disinterested overseer, having shrunk from what Salman Rushdie in the “Satanic Verses” described as the “capital of vilayat” (foreign) for the once-colonized, to the capital of the shriveled Great Britain. At stake is London’s relationship to what remains: Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and those scattered appendages of past glory, the 14 British Overseas Territories, which replicated and improved on the financial secrecy of the City to become outposts of London’s empire of money. Bloated with the talented young and the moneyed old, London, at least in the measurable currency of investment and capital, is impervious to the departure of Scotland. “London’s power is also from other metrics, like the concentration of state-funded institutions, or the diversity of its population,” said Richard Bell, a professor at the University of Maryland in College Park who teaches a course on London and the British Empire. “London will continue to hold a special place in the global imagination, even though it may be modestly diminished economically.”
Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline to Two-Month Low of 280,000 (Bloomberg)
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits plunged last week to a two-month low, a sign the labor market continues to strengthen. Jobless claims decreased by 36,000 to 280,000 in the period ended Sept. 13, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decline to 305,000. Those already collecting unemployment benefits fell to a more than seven-year low.
Fed Plots Cautious Course on Rate Rises (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve took two steps toward winding down the historic easy-money policies that have defined its response to the financial crisis, but stopped short of the move markets are awaiting most: signaling when interest rates will start to rise. With the economy gradually improving, U.S. central-bank officials plan to end the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing after October, hoping to finally stop expanding a six-year experiment in monetary policy that has left the Fed holding more than $4 trillion of Treasury and mortgage bonds. The Fed on Wednesday also detailed a new technical plan for how it will raise short-term interest rates, something most officials currently don't intend to do until next year. The central bank has kept the federal-funds rate near zero since December 2008 and offered assurances along the way about rates remaining low, another part of its varied efforts to boost the post-financial-crisis economy.
Man Says Stripper Chocolate Chambers Robbed Him Outside Club Boom Boom (TSG)
A South Carolina man told cops that a stripper known as Chocolate Chambers robbed him early yesterday after he refused to buy her an expensive drink inside Club Boom Boom. Derrick Lashawn Sinclair, 31, told police that he was attacked by Chambers late Monday night when he exited the Spartanburg nightspot. The woman, Sinclair said, pounced and “next thing I know I’m on the floor, she knocked me down and took my money.” Sinclair said that his cash was inside a “crown bag,” an apparent reference to the velvet bag in which Crown Royal whiskey is packaged. Police noted that Sinclair smelled of booze and “spoke with a slurred speech” when reporting the attack by Chambers, whom he described as a black female. Sinclair acknowledged that he was still “timpsy” from the prior night’s revelry.
Hedge funds going strong despite Calpers’ choice (NYP)
The departure is viewed as a bad omen for the industry, which has underperformed the broader market indexes for the past five years. However, investors appear to be coming out of the woodwork looking for the next market rock stars. New hedge funds raised $15.6 billion in the first half of the year — the most since just before the financial crash of 2008. That high-water mark of $19.5 billion occurred during the first six months of 2008. Six of the 47 new funds raised more than $1 billion — a stark contrast to last year when only one new fund managed to raise $1 billion, according to a survey by Absolute Return, a hedgie news and data provider.
Russian Billionaires Stung by Ukraine Bristle Over Arrest (Bloomberg)
The arrest of one of Russia’s oldest billionaires is sending shivers down the backs of business owners already reeling from U.S. and European sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine. A decade after Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment led to Russia’s largest nationalization since the Soviet era, the prosecution of Vladimir Evtushenkov, 65, may prod businesses to pull even more money out of an economy on the verge of recession and relocate abroad, Alexander Shokhin, who lobbies on behalf of the country’s largest companies as head of the Russian Union of Industrialists & Entrepreneurs, said yesterday. Evtushenkov was charged with money-laundering and placed under house arrest two days ago, triggering a sell-off in shares of his companies, including AFK Sistema, and slicing his net worth by a third, to $4.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Evtushenkov denies the charges.
How to Buy Islands, Gold Mines and Villas With Bitcoin (Bloomberg)
Bringing the two groups together is BitPremier, Bloomberg Pursuits will report in its Autumn 2014 issue. The site is the brainchild of 41-year-old Alan Silbert, whose day job is vice president of biotechnology lending at General Electric Capital Corp. (GE) in Washington. Silbert started buying bitcoins in February 2013, when the price was about $22, at the urging of his younger brother Barry, chairman of SecondMarket Inc., a New York–based brokerage specializing in hard-to-trade assets. The brothers realized there was nothing in the bitcoin universe dealing in luxury goods and services and so established BitPremier in May 2013. “At that point, you could only use bitcoins to buy T-shirts, coffee mugs and alpaca socks,” Alan says. “We saw a big void in the market that we wanted to fill. If you want to diversify into bitcoins, we’re the place to do it.” Indeed, BitPremier helped broker one of the biggest transactions ever conducted in bitcoins: the February sale of a two-bedroom villa with a pool in Seminyak, Bali, for $650,000, or about 950 bitcoins. (Items are listed in dollars or euros and converted into bitcoins every 60 seconds.)
As growth stalls, G20 seeks closure on regulations (Reuters)
Treasurer Joe Hockey this week said he and his G20 colleagues are focused on delivering jobs and growth more than ever before. "The changes in the economy over the last few months have made the job harder but it has not diminished our collective resolve," he said. He acknowledged the challenges in attaining the target of bettering the global growth trajectory by 2 percent by 2018, a goal set earlier this year at a similar meeting in Sydney. "Whether we reach the 2 percent or not – the G20 is committed to promoting further growth and to creating more jobs," said Hockey, perhaps suggesting he had already conceded the target was too ambitious. Complicating the growth agenda, Western nations recently slapped sanctions on some of Russia's biggest firms as punishment over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Slowing growth in China is also fueling anxiety.
Man Apologizes For Tossing Drug-filled Football Into Prison (AP)
Christen D. Moore on Wednesday called the June attempt "a thoughtless and immature decision." The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports the 22-year-old's comments came during his sentencing hearing, where he got 17 to 60 months on two counts of furnishing contraband to a prisoner. Jackson County Circuit Judge Susan Beebe says Moore, who was on probation at the time for home invasion, knows "all about the type of havoc this type of contraband can have on the prison system." Investigators say the throw at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility fell short, with the football landing between two fences. Police say the ball contained marijuana, suspected heroin and three cellphones.