Opening Bell: 11.18.14 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 11.18.14

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Snapchat Teams Up With Square to Offer Money-Transfer Feature (Bloomberg)
Snapchat Inc., developer of a mobile application for sending disappearing photos, is teaming up with payments company Square Inc. so that users can send cash to each other. Snapchat, which recently received an investment from Yahoo! Inc. that values the startup at $10 billion, will make the new feature, called Snapcash, available for users who are 18 or older with a debit card, it said in a blog post yesterday. The deal gives Square access to Snapchat’s users, who send more than 700 million disappearing “snaps” a day. Snapcash joins other apps such as Venmo in offering people a way to send and receive money quickly, such as when diners split a restaurant bill. This is Los Angeles-based Snapchat’s second potential revenue-generating product in addition to advertisements, which debuted last month.

Ackman ‘loses’ Allergan, pockets $2.7B profit (NYP)
Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund will make $2.7 billion from the $66 billion deal between Botox maker Allergan and Irish drugmaker Actavis. The profit of Pershing Square, which took a 9.7 stake in Allergan last spring and tried to help Valeant Pharmaceuticals buy it, is based on the difference between its average $126-per-share cost and Actavis’ $219-a-share winning bid. The Allergan investment, which accounts for about 30 percent of Pershing Square’s near-$20 billion in assets, had already helped earn his investors a 40 percent return this year as of Nov. 11, the latest numbers available.

Mega-Mergers Popular Again on Wall Street (Dealbook)
Mergers worth $100 billion, made on Monday, put Wall Street on pace for a year of deal-making rivaling those during the dot-com bubble and the private equity upsurge just before the financial crisis. The announcement of two more mega-deals — the $66 billion acquisition of the Botox-maker Allergan by Actavis , and the $34.6 billion takeover of the oil field services firm Baker Hughes by a bigger rival, Halliburton — made Monday a symbolic tipping point. With those transactions on the books, about $1.5 trillion in deals targeting American companies have been announced this year, the most since 2000, according to Thomson Reuters, the financial information company.

Goldman Fund Said to Fall 5.6% on Interest Rate Position (Bloomberg)
A $3.2 billion Goldman Sachs Group Inc. hedge fund that pools some of the firm’s best ideas declined 5.6 percent last month as a bet on the direction of U.S. interest rates went wrong, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Goldman Sachs Global Opportunities Fund, which invests based on the trade ideas from the money-management unit’s fixed-income team, took a position that interest rates would rise, only to see them decline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

No. 1 With a Bullet: ‘Nadeshot’ Becomes a Call of Duty Star (NYT)
Matt Haag, a professional video game player, makes close to a million dollars a year sitting in a soft chair smashing buttons. It is a fantastically sweet gig, and he will do about anything to keep it. That is why, on a recent morning, he was in a bungalow in Venice Beach, Calif., making pancakes. Not just regular pancakes, but high-protein pancakes with ingredients like flax oil and chia seeds, whose balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein was created by a dietitian hired to teach him how to eat more healthily. The pancakes were just the beginning of a monthlong training session that Red Bull, one of Mr. Haag’s sponsors, organized for him and his team, OpTic Gaming. Over the next several days, he and his fellow players gave blood while riding stationary bicycles, had their brains mapped by a computer and attended an hourlong yoga class where they learned, among other things, how to stretch their throbbing wrists. The purpose of all this: to help them get better at blowing their opponents away in video games. Three years ago, he was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Today Mr. Haag, 22, skinny and blindingly pale, makes his living playing Call of Duty, a popular series of war games where players run around trying to shoot one another. Mr. Haag has 1.5 million YouTube subscribers along with a lucrative contract to live-stream his daily game sessions online. Known as Nadeshot (shorthand for “grenade shot”), he travels the world playing tournaments as spectators pack arenas to see him. At home near Chicago, he has a problem with fans showing up at his house.

Woman Pulled Dentures From Rival's Mouth: Police (AP)
A Massachusetts woman is accused of yanking the false teeth out of another woman's mouth and throwing a beer bottle at her. Caterina Froio-Chaput, of Oxford, was released on $100 bail after pleading not guilty to assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police say Froio-Chaput was refused a drink Wednesday at an American Legion and told to leave. They say she started hitting the bartender in the face, then pulled the false teeth from her mouth before hitting her in the chest with the bottle. The Telegram & Gazette reports Froio-Chaput told police she confronted the bartender who she believed was having an affair with her estranged husband. When police found the teeth in her pocket, she said they had been planted there.

Justice Department Is Weighing Civil Suit Against Angelo Mozilo (Dealbook)
This summer, the United States attorney’s office in Los Angeles was said to be close to filing a lawsuit against Mr. Mozilo over his role in Countrywide’s sale of millions of mortgages to home buyers with questionable credit histories. Prosecutors there were planning to move forward with a civil fraud lawsuit nearly three years after it had abandoned a criminal investigation of Countrywide and Mr. Mozilo, the firm’s co-founder. But Stephanie Yonekura, the acting United States attorney for the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, has had lingering questions about the litigation because of arguments raised by lawyers for Mr. Mozilo and other potential defendants, said the people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly about a current investigation. One argument raised by lawyers for Mr. Mozilo and some of the other defendants is that a civil fraud lawsuit would duplicate the efforts of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued Mr. Mozilo and two other former Countrywide executives in 2009. On the eve of the trial in 2010, Mr. Mozilo and the other defendants reached a settlement with the agency that required the mortgage financier to pay $67.5 million in fines and restitution. In settling that securities fraud and insider trading case, Mr. Mozilo and the two other former Countrywide officials, David Sambol and Eric Sieracki, neither admitted nor denied liability.

Deutsche Bank Ends Most CDS Trade (WSJ)
An investment blamed for accelerating the 2008 financial crisis is withering as new rules and placid markets push trading elsewhere. Deutsche Bank AG said Monday it is sharply reducing its trading in credit-default swaps, derivatives that function like insurance for bonds and loans. The move marks a fresh retreat from a business that has been squeezed by broad changes in the markets, the global economy and investor risk-taking since 2008, including the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul. Monday’s move is the latest sign of how banks are paring back costly trading businesses amid tougher regulations and slower trading conditions that have impaired once-lucrative businesses. Deutsche Bank’s shift affects trading in swaps on individual sovereign issuers and U.S. and European companies, collectively known as “single name” credit-default swaps, a spokeswoman said Monday. “Everything has conspired against the success of the single-name CDS market, regulators chief among them,” said Kevin McPartland, head of market structure research at Greenwich Associates.

Greenberg unlikely to testify in AIG case (FT)
AIG’s former chief executive Hank Greenberg is not likely to have a chance to give personal testimony in his lawsuit against the US government over its $182bn crisis-era rescue of the insurance company. With time winding down in the trial, lawyers for the government have decided not to call Mr Greenberg to testify, a spokesperson said on Monday. Mr Greenberg, who is seeking up to $40bn in damages, had been on the witness list last week. The prospect of Mr Greenberg testifying had been eagerly awaited as a potential highlight of the case, in which he has accused the government of imposing unfairly onerous terms on AIG in the bailout and failing to justly compensate shareholders.

Citigroup Said to Cut Five Bond Salesmen to Focus on Top Clients (Bloomberg)
Citigroup Inc. dismissed at least five bond salesmen, including four who sold debt to mid-size investment firms, as the bank focuses on its biggest clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Point72 Takes Stake in RCS Capital (WSJ)
Steven A. Cohen ’s Point72 Asset Management on Monday disclosed a roughly 5.1% stake in RCS Capital Corp. , making it the beleaguered brokerage firm’s biggest institutional shareholder, according to LionShares.

Charles Manson Gets Marriage License (AP)
Mass murderer Charles Manson has gotten a license to marry a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison. The marriage license obtained Monday by The Associated Press was issued Nov. 7 for the 80-year-old Manson and Afton Elaine Burton, who left her Midwestern home nine years ago and moved to Corcoran, California -- the site of the prison -- to be near Manson. She maintains several websites advocating for Manson's innocence. The license does not specify a wedding date and indicates the couple has 90 days to get married or they will have to reapply. Burton, who goes by the name "Star," told the AP that she and Manson will be married next month. "Y'all can know that it's true," she said. "It's going to happen." "I love him," she added. "I'm with him. There's all kinds of things."

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