Profit at Point72, Cohen’s New Firm, Outshines Many a Hedge Fund’s (Dealbook)
If Steven A. Cohen’s investment firm were operating as a hedge fund, it would have been one of the industry’s most profitable in 2014. Mr. Cohen’s family office, Point72 Asset Management, generated a gross profit of $2.5 billion to $3 billion, said several people briefed on the firm’s performance who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Bill Gross Says the Good Times Are Over (Bloomberg)
Bill Gross, the former manager of the world’s largest bond fund, said prices for many assets will fall this year as record-low interest rates fail to restore sufficient economic growth. With global expansion still sputtering after years of interest rates near zero, investors will gradually seek alternatives to risky assets, Gross wrote today in an investment outlook for Janus Capital Group Inc. (JNS), where he runs the $1.2 billion Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund. “When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes,” Gross, 70, wrote in the outlook. “The good times are over.”
Debt Dispute Between Hedge Funds and Argentina at Impasse (Dealbook)
Axel Kicillof, the economy minister, said Argentina’s overtures to the holdouts would be on the same terms that it had offered other bondholders, with some sweeteners. But Argentina is still asking the holdouts to accept a haircut of 65 percent on the bond principal, Mr. Kicillof told a local news website over the weekend. He said it would be “as if the exchange were taking place in 2005.” He did claim, however, that Argentina would offer some extra money, such as all the accrued interest on the discounted bonds since 2005. The holdouts, led by Paul Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, and other bondholders that did not file suit, are owed a total of $23 billion, Mr. Kicillof estimated. Under the most recent preliminary offer, he said, they would receive $6.5 billion.
France reclaims 'entrepreneur' roots with leading number of start-ups in Europe (CNBC)
"We are a tech republic," says Nicolas Vassitch, head of the IT department at Ubifrance. It's just that no one knows it, he says. "We have excellent engineers, but most go abroad. You don't even notice them," Mr. Vassitch says. The government is trying to change that. As Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron put it at a recent party to celebrate the French presence at the CES: "We need to find again our spirit of conquest. The word entrepreneur, don't ever forget, is a French word. It's been stolen from us." The start-ups at Ubifrance are working to steal it back. At the practice pitch event one woman stands up and shows off the Bel-T, a belt that is more than a tool to keep pants in place, she says. "It adapts to you," says Carine Coulm, the general manager of Emiota, whether that means you've had a big lunch or simply like your belt looser in the afternoons.
New Jersey man arrested for stealing $1K worth of breast pumps: police (NYDN)
A New Jersey man has been busted for allegedly stealing $1,000 worth of breast pumps from a Burlington Coat Factory, police said. Joseph Galucci, 34, was charged with shoplifting Wednesday after surveillance video capturing the outrageous Dec. 1 theft was posted on social media, Brick Township Police stated in a release. The 34-year-old was identified by police with the public's help after this surveillance video, showing Galucci entering the store, was posted online. The 34-year-old was identified by police with the public's help after this surveillance video, showing Galucci entering the store, was posted online. Tips consequently poured in, leading to his identity and eventual arrest. Galucci is being held at the Ocean County jail on $20,000 bail.
Apollo Plots Salvaging of Bad Caesars Bet (WSJ)
Through a series of financial maneuvers, Apollo has positioned itself to salvage some of the $1.7 billion it invested in Caesars, which it took private seven years ago in a $28 billion leveraged buyout with fellow private-equity firm TPG. The restructuring hinges on the bankruptcy of Caesars’s largest unit, which could come as soon as mid-January, and transfers of the unit’s best assets that have infuriated creditors.
White House Expected to Nominate Community Banker to Federal Reserve (WSJ)
President Barack Obama is expected to nominate a community banker to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors as soon as this week, according to several people familiar with the administration’s plans. A White House official didn't comment on the report and said Monday the administration had no personnel announcements. Mr. Obama’s plans were first reported by Politico. Members of the Senate Banking Committee had urged the White House to tap a community banker to increase the diversity of experience on the seven-member board, which sets short-term interest rates and regulates banks.
CNBC to Stop Using Nielsen for Ratings (WSJ)
For years CNBC and its parent company, Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal, have complained that Nielsen underreports the size and wealth of its audience by failing to track “out of home” viewing in places such as offices and airports. CNBC’s switch to Cogent is the latest barb for Nielsen, which has faced criticism from media companies that it has been slow to adapt its traditional ratings to changing media consumption habits. While many media companies say they are frustrated with Nielsen, CNBC is the first network to opt out of its ratings.
Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp suspends service after security breach (Reuters)
Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for trading the digital bitcoin currency, said it has suspended its service after a security breach on Sunday, resulting in loss of around 19,000 bit coins. The breach represented a small fraction of its total bitcoin reserve and the majority was held in secure offline systems, the Slovenia-based firm posted on its website on Tuesday. Reuters was unable to contact Bitstamp officials in Slovenia or the United Kingdom, but one of the company's founders, Damijan Merlak, told Slovenian state-owned news agency STA that Bitstamp has enough liquid assets to meet its short-term obligations. "At present we are setting up a duplicate of the whole infrastructure with experts in San Francisco which should be finished within 24 hours. Then we will be able to resume our services," Merlak told STA.
Woman sues over picture on 'rehab' novelty flask (UPI)
A New Mexico woman's lawsuit against a novelty product maker alleges she was defamed when her high school picture was used on a flask with a joke about "rehab." Veronica Vigil's lawsuit, which was filed in state District Court late last year and has now been moved to federal court, alleges the Chimayo woman's 1970 high school graduation picture was used without her permission by Anne Taintor Inc. to decorate a flask with the caption, "I'm going to be the most popular girl in rehab." The lawsuit, which also names Santa Fe gift shop Doodlet's as a defendant, alleges the product defames Vigil by linking her image to substance abuse. "Plaintiff is an active member of her church and does not consume alcohol or drugs," the lawsuit states. "Given the seriousness of the issues of substance abuse in the community in which plaintiff resides, she has held herself out by reputation for her children and her community, to refrain from abuse or even use of alcohol and illicit drugs and has set an example that the issue is a very serious one that destroys families and lives." Blair Dunn, Vigil's lawyer, said the flask was spotted by the plaintiff's adult daughter at a store in Florida. The product was not available on Taintor's website Tuesday, but was listed on Amazon along with other products bearing the same image.