SAC's Steinberg Appeal Delayed as U.S. Weighs Challenge (Bloomberg)
SAC Capital Advisors LP hedge fund manager Michael Steinberg’s appeal of his insider trading conviction was further delayed by a court as the government decides how to respond to a ruling that upended guilty verdicts in two related cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York Wednesday granted Steinberg’s request to keep his appeal on hold while prosecutors decide whether to seek further review of its ruling throwing out the convictions of Level Global Investors LP co-founder Anthony Chiasson and former Diamondback Capital Management LLC manager Todd Newman in an alleged $72 million scheme.
Bill Ackman taking Herbalife fight to Hispanic community (NYP)
For the first time in his more than two-year campaign against Herbalife, the billionaire investor will take his argument directly to the Hispanic community he believes is being defrauded by the diet-shake company. Ackman, who now has a $2 billion bet that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme, will be the key speaker at a town hall meeting in Chicago on Jan. 12 sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens, also a critic of Herbalife. “He is our brother in the struggle,” said LULAC’s Julie Contreras, the activist who is organizing the event.
Huge Ski Resort for the Rich Is Bouncing Back (Dealbook)
Just a few years ago, such activity would have been hard to fathom. This alpine redoubt defaulted on a $375 million loan in November 2008, epitomizing the risky loans and real estate speculation that precipitated the financial crisis, and it became mired in bankruptcy and a messy divorce case. Today, six years after its bankruptcy, the Yellowstone Club [a 13,600-acre private ski club just north of Yellowstone National Park] is thriving. In the last two years alone, the club has sold nearly $1 billion in real estate. It has doubled its membership, which includes the likes of Bill Gates and the investor and Hollywood producer Peter Chernin, to more than 500 households from 260 in 2009, and it is gearing up for what is likely to be its busiest winter since the club broke ground more than 15 years ago. Of course, busy here is relative, and that is one of the biggest selling points. “Look at the crowds at Breckenridge on opening day,” said Sam Byrne, the financier who bought the Yellowstone Club out of bankruptcy in 2009. He pointed to a web camera showing what looked like ants dotting a ski run at the Breckenridge resort in Colorado, then called up satellite images of lift lines at Vail Ski Resort.
Pimco Fund Trails Peers in 2014 After Missing Rally (Bloomberg)
The $162.8 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, managed by Chief Investment Officers Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel, and Mihir Worah after the surprise departure of Bill Gross on Sept. 26, returned 4.7 percent in 2014, trailing 53 percent of comparable funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In 2013, it lost 1.9 percent, lagging behind 65 percent of peers.
7-inch T-bird part removed from man's arm 51 years after car crash (UPI)
Arthur Lampitt, 75, of Granite City, said he was treated for injuries to the surface of his arm after the 1963 crash, but he did not know anything had remained stuck there until he set off a courthouse's metal detector about 10 to 15 years ago. Lampitt said his doctor performed an X-ray and determined there was a metallic object in his arm, but it was recommended it be left where it was as there was no pain or loss of functionality in his arm. The retired real estate agent said the arm finally began to hurt a few weeks ago while he was doing work at a house he is repairing, and a specialist recommended surgery when the affected area started to swell. Lampitt unearthed some pictures from his 1963 crash and began to suspect the metal object in his arm was the turn signal lever when he realized the object was missing after the Thunderbird's demise. Surgeons at City Place Surgery Center in St. Louis, Mo., operated on the arm for about 45 minutes on New Year's Eve and discovered the cause of Lampitt's problems was indeed the 7-inch turn signal lever. Lampitt said he is planning to do something special with the lever, possibly turn it into a key chain.
Fed’s Policy-Setters Likely to Be More United (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve’s top policy-making body is likely to appear more united in 2015 than in 2014, even though the central bank’s internal debate is heating up over when to raise interest rates. The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee recorded at least one dissent at five of its eight meetings last year, culminating with a high of three nay votes in December. All the dissents were cast by three officials, none of whom will be on the panel this year due to the regular rotation of voting seats among the regional Fed bank presidents. The new voters in 2015 appear likely to side more consistently with Chairwoman Janet Yellen.
Euro Forecasters See Pain After Worst Year Since 2005 (Bloomberg)
Europe’s common currency, which appreciated to $1.3993 that May day, ended last year down 12 percent against the dollar, its biggest loss since 2005. Strategists, who were too timid with their call for a decline in 2014 to $1.28, now see a slump to $1.18 by the end of this year. The euro set a four-year low of $1.2035 today.
Merkel ally urges ECB not to buy struggling states' bonds (Reuters)
A senior member of Angela Merkel's party warned the European Central Bank not to pour money into Greece and other struggling euro zone states through bond purchases, saying this would reduce pressure on them to enact much-needed reforms. Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary floor leader of the German chancellor's Christian Democrats (CDU), told Deutschlandfunk radio on Friday: "We shouldn't pump extra money into these states, but rather make sure they continue along the reform path. "I'd be grateful if (ECB President Mario) Mr Draghi would make statements along these lines."
TPG’s 2015 IPO plans hit fundraising snag (NYP)
Private equity mogul David Bonderman hopes to take his TPG Capital public in the second half of 2015 — but difficult fundraising may stop his plans, two sources close to the firm said. Going public this year is a “mission critical event,” a source said. That contrasts with what Bonderman has said publicly, including in September, when he told Reuters he was cautious about the possibility of bringing TPG public. TPG — with $65 billion in assets — believes it can attract a roughly $6 billion valuation, the source said. The Blackstone Group, in comparison, has a $39 billion market cap, KKR $19 billion, and Apollo Global Management $9 billion.
Chinese man gets 13 years for eating three tigers (UPI)
A Chinese court upheld a 13-year jail sentence for a man convicted of purchasing and eating three endangered tigers in separate incidents. Authorities told Qinzhou City Intermediate People's Court the man, identified by the surname Xu, organized three trips to Leizhou, Guangdong province, in 2013 for himself and 14 other people. During each trip, Xu purchased a tiger which was then killed via electric shock, dismembered and served to the group as food. One of the incidents was recorded on a cellphone camera and the video was handed over to police. Investigators said they searched Xu's home and found animal skeletons, a tiger's penis, and remains of endangered animals including giant geckos and a cobra. Xu told police he paid more than $70,000 for each tiger.
Programming note: We're on an abbreviated, vacation-esque schedule this week. Opening/closing wraps and light posting/moral support throughout the day for at the office. We'll see you back here in full force on Monday.