ECB List of Failing Banks Shrinks If You Read Small Print (Bloomberg)
Most of the lenders that failed the European Central Bank’s balance-sheet test have been let off for good behavior. Only eight banks haven’t already plugged capital gaps or satisfied the ECB with plans to shrink, out of 25 found with a shortfall. That means just 6.35 billion euros ($8 billion) remains from a 25 billion-euro hole, and half of that is in Italy. The ECB, releasing results of its year-long bank audit yesterday, said investors should focus on the insight they’ve gained into lenders’ books instead.
Monte dei Paschi’s Stress-Test Failure Opens Door to Possible Merger, Sale (WSJ)
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA has emerged as one of Europe’s most troubled banks after a health check by European regulators found it needs €2.1 billion ($2.66 billion) in fresh capital...Shares in the bank tumbled around 15% in Milan on Monday before trading was suspended amid the heavy losses. Trading in the stock was initially delayed amid a surge in sell orders. Shares in Italy’s other big loser from the stress tests, Banca Carige , also tanked, falling 17% before trading was suspended. Later Monday morning Italy’s market regulator Consob banned short selling of Monte dei Paschi shares until Tuesday evening.
Greece Puts a Happy Face on Stress Test Results (Dealbook)
As Greece continues trying to claw its way out of its debt hole, the results of the European Central Bank’s review of the country’s lenders were hailed in Athens on Sunday — because they were not worse. The review indicated that two big Greek banks have capital needs of 2.69 billion euros, or $3.4 billion, in additional capital to be sufficiently able to weather any likely financial storm or economic crisis. The calculations were based on the state of the lenders at the end of 2013. Coming up with additional capital might be achievable, and Athens officials said the relatively small amount was a sign that their country’s fragile economy was on course to recovery after a six-year recession and €240 billion in international bailouts. The bank review ‘‘surpassed all expectations,’’ Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Sunday, adding, ‘‘Step by step, on stable foundations, we are emerging from the crisis.’’
Hedge-Fund Manager’s Combative Style Pays Off (WSJ)
Keith Meister takes things personally. The burly and at times combustible hedge-fund manager, tipped off that his expensive coup d’état of the board of corporate landlord CommonWealth REIT could be imperiled by a proposed last-minute tweak to Maryland state law, didn’t just send one of his 24 employees: He flew down to Annapolis himself last April to lobby against it. Months later, mired in related shareholder lawsuits there and in Delaware, Mr. Meister appeared in court himself for nearly every hearing. Mr. Meister’s eventual triumph at CommonWealth—as well as quieter efforts to transform companies ranging from the energy-pipeline operator Williams Cos. to lender Fidelity National Financial Inc. —is earning the former right-hand man to Carl Icahn a reputation of his own. The 41-year-old’s hedge-fund firm, Corvex Management LP, bankrolled partly by about $1 billion from George Soros, is also outperforming nearly all of its activist-investor peers.
BofA Mortgage Settlement Stalls Over SEC Political Fight (Bloomberg)
In the Bank of America case, two Democratic commissioners are balking at granting the firm's request for relief, said the people, who asked not to be named because SEC negotiations with companies aren’t public. SEC Chair Mary Jo White, the swing vote, isn’t participating in the discussions due to a conflict, they said. With the two Republicans on the other side, the commission is locked in a stalemate.
Man Allegedly Wanders Drunk To Wrong Home, Gets In Bed With Stranger (AP)
A Connecticut man was arrested after police say he wandered into the wrong home drunk and got in bed with a stranger, who woke up startled and called 911. Police say the incident happened early Saturday morning at an apartment complex in Clinton. Officers say 26-year-old Tyler Sullivan of Haddam told officers he thought he was at his mother's apartment, which is in the same complex. A man in the home said he told Sullivan to leave, but Sullivan refused. Police say Sullivan was still there when officers arrived. Sullivan was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. He was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to appear in Middletown Superior Court on Nov. 4. It's not clear if Sullivan has a lawyer.
Troubles In China Rattle Western Banks (WSJ)
When Chinese property developer Agile Property Holdings Ltd. said this month that its chairman was taken into custody by authorities, the disclosure was a shock to Western banks that lent the company money. Foreign lenders in China have been stung by a string of suspected fraud cases and problem loans in the country as Beijing investigates company executives and seizes assets in a crackdown on corruption.
Valeant Hints at Higher Allergan Bid (WSJ)
Allergan has deemed Valeant’s bid, worth about $53 billion in cash and stock, as too low and has repeatedly criticized Valeant’s business model. Valeant said Monday that it is prepared to raise its offer yet again while urging the company to negotiate. Valeant has argued its own shares are trading at low levels and suggested an increase in its share price would help support a higher bid.
2 Bank of Canada execs tangled in pregnancy discrimination suit (NYP)
Lauren Mitzner, a director in credit sales at the Toronto-based lender, is suing RBC and her bosses, Douglas Schwartz and Andrew Colandrea, both managing directors. Mitzner’s complaint, filed Oct. 17 in Manhattan federal court, alleges “systemic discrimination at RBC against women which infected the bank’s personnel practices.” The suit comes as Wall Street banks ranging from Goldman Sachs to HSBC are embroiled in their own gender bias suits, with female workers accusing the firms of fostering a “boys’ club” culture and following a pattern of bias. “We believe the claims are without merit,” said RBC spokeswoman Kait Conetta. “We have a proven track record of attracting, retaining and advancing a diverse workforce, which includes the equitable and fair treatment of women.” Mitzner requested a meeting in June 2011 with Schwartz to ask for more responsibility and to tell him that she was pregnant and planned on returning after maternity leave. “If you come back” was his response, the suit alleges.
One Percenters Drop Six Figures at Long Island Mall (Bloomberg)
Situated on Long Island’s Gold Coast, about 30 minutes from Manhattan, the open-air shopping center is one of several American malls that have figured out how to thrive by catering to One Percenters. Americana Manhasset’s 60 shops sell the priciest status brands -- Dior, Gucci, Hermes, Cartier, Prada. Some customers spend more than $100,000 a year. Danielle Merollo, the mall’s personal shopper, recently accompanied a client to a private Prada show in New York to buy a bespoke fur cape. “Danielle always finds what I need,” said the client, Cynthia Rosicki, an attorney who also runs the Sparkling Pointe vineyard.
Man Wants Strippers' Addresses -- So He Can Pray For Them (HP)
Strippers in Washington have no problem exposing their bodies, but they've gotten touchy about covering up their names and addresses. It's in response to Pierce County's David Van Vleet who filed court papers to get the personal information that's on their state entertainer licenses. Van Vleet says he's going to pray for the salvation of the exotic dancers, but that his supplications won't work without knowing the full names and home addresses of the showgirls. He filed a public disclosures request last month with the Pierce County Auditor’s Office to get the information, much of which is on the entertainer's licenses that all strippers and strip club managers in Washington State are required to have, according to KIRO TV...Van Vleet, a civil engineer, told a federal judge on Thursday that he wanted the information because he's curious and wants to pray for the strippers. “I would pray for those dancers by name,” David Van Vleet said, according to TheNewsTribune.com. “I’m a Christian…We have a right to pray for people.”