Apollo Makes 600% Profit on a Single Oil Bet (Bloomberg)
Just as rival buyout titans Henry Kravis and David Rubenstein were starting to get burned by falling oil prices, Leon Black hit a gusher. His Apollo Global Management LLC managed a 600 percent profit on the September sale of a Texas oil company as prices had begun their steepest slide since 2008. The $7.1 billion sale of Apollo-backed Athlon Energy Inc. to Calgary-based Encana Corp. signaled the end of an era in the same way Sam Zell’s sale of 540 office buildings to Blackstone Group LP in 2007, just before the property market took a nosedive, and the merger of AOL Inc. and Time Warner Inc. in 2000, weeks ahead of the dot-com bust, marked theirs.
Oil Prices Slump as Inventories Rise to Near 80-Year Highs (WSJ)
Oil prices sank further Wednesday after U.S. data showed that crude supplies grew more than expected last week and are sitting around 80-year highs. U.S. crude oil for March delivery recently fell $3.26, or 6.2%, to $49.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices had rallied above $53 a barrel the prior day. Brent, the global benchmark, declined $2.34, or 4%, to $55.57 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Merkel Says Greek Diplomatic Offensive Is Failing (Bloomberg)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that a diplomatic offensive by newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to ease his nation’s bailout-aid requirements is failing to win over converts. “I don’t think that the positions of the member states within the euro area with regard to Greece differ, at least in terms of substance,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday. Later in Paris, Tsipras was told by French President Francois Hollande that “respecting the rules is necessary for all, for France too, and it’s not always easy.”
Couple caught having sex in canoe at a bar (NYP)
It’s not every weekend that a couple is caught having sex in a sheepskin-covered canoe on a Manhattan rooftop in winter — but it did happen Saturday night at the Lodge at Gallow Green. The space atop the McKittrick Hotel — home of interactive show “Sleep No More” — is an alpine cabin surrounded by pine trees that houses cozy nooks and a fireplace. One amorous couple found their way to an adjacent “boathouse” that has a canoe covered in sheepskin. A spy said another couple caught them in the act: “When they pulled back the boathouse curtain, they saw a couple in a compromising position in the boat under sheepskin.” The “embarrassed” canoe canoodlers “got dressed quickly” and made a hasty exit.
Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Cuts Stake in News Corp (WSJ)
Kingdom Holding , the investment company owned by Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, said it has cut its stake in News Corp as part of a portfolio review. But the billionaire prince reiterated his faith in News Corp management. “We remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management, led by CEO Robert Thomson , and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family,” Prince al-Waleed said. It continues to hold a 6.6% stake in Mr. Murdoch’s other company, 21st Century Fox.
China cuts bank reserve requirement to spur growth (Reuters)
China's central bank made a system-wide cut to bank reserve requirements on Wednesday, the first time it has done so in over two years, to unleash a fresh flood of liquidity to fight off economic slowdown and looming deflation.
European Authorities Fine ICAP $17 Million in Libor Investigation (Dealbook)
European competition authorities fined the British financial firm ICAP about 14.9 million euros, or $17 million, on Wednesday, saying the firm had breached antitrust laws by facilitating attempts by several banks to rig a benchmark interest rate. The fine against ICAP comes more than a year after the European Commission fined a group of global financial institutions a combined €1.7 billion to settle charges that they had colluded to fix benchmark interest rates, including the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. ICAP on Wednesday called the fine “wrong both in fact and in law.” The firm said the Europe Commission’s accusations related to activity regarding Libor as it was tied to the Japanese yen and involved actions for which it already had entered a regulatory settlement. The firm agreed to pay British and American authorities an $87 million fine related to the Libor manipulation in 2013.
Paris Hilton's Brother Conrad Hilton Charged After Alleged In-Flight Ruckus (CNBC)
Paris Hilton's youngest brother surrendered to authorities Tuesday to face charges of interfering with flight crew members six months after he allegedly threatened to kill crew members and the co-pilot of a British Airways flight, according to court documents. Conrad Hughes Hilton III, 20 had to be restrained by five flight attendants on board British Airways Flight 269 last July during a series of profanity-laced tirades in which he accused the flight crew of "taking the peasants' side," according to an FBI affidavit included in a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The great-grandson of the hotel chain's founder told the co-pilot of the London-to-L.A. flight: "If you wanna square up to me, bro, then bring it on and I will [EXPLETIVE] fight you," according to the affidavit.