Opening Bell: 3.31.15

Steve Cohen starts tech VC unit; Amish bank is killing it; PIMCO loses popularity contest; "Woman Stabbed Boyfriend In Groin For Eating All Her Salsa"; and more.
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Cohen’s Point72 Starts Technology Venture Capital Unit (Bloomberg)
The business, Honeycomb Ventures, will invest mainly in growth equity opportunities and is led by Point72 money manager David Fiszel, 42, the firm wrote in a memo to employees, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Honeycomb will invest in global media, technology and telecommunication companies, including those that focus on cloud computing, payments and security technology and e-commerce.

Venture Money Floods Into Indian Startups (WSJ)
The rush of interest has boosted the value of many fledgling tech firms—some say to frothy levels—with Indian e-commerce company Flipkart Internet Pvt. now worth $11 billion, more than Dropbox in the U.S., following a December investment of $700 million from U.S. investment firm Tiger Global Management and Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC. Snapdeal.com is valued at $2 billion; Web-based taxi-booking service Ola—dubbed India’s Uber—is valued at $1 billion. None have turned a profit.

Bitcoin Secret Agents Were Pirates Themselves (BloombergView/Matt Levine)
There is no playbook for blackmailing a secretive criminal mastermind using unencrypted online messages in which you pretend to be a French maid. No one, not even Carl Mark Force IV, does that every day.

A Local Bank in Amish Country Flourishes Amid Dearth of Small Lenders (WSJ)
William O’Brien, chief loan officer at the Bank of Bird-in-Hand, closed so many loans in the bank’s first year of business that locals call him “Gelt Chappie,” or “money man” in Pennsylvania German. Based in a rural village in the heart of Amish country, Bank of Bird-in-Hand is the only new bank to open in the U.S. since 2010, when the Dodd-Frank law was passed and enacted. An average of more than 100 new banks a year opened in the three decades before Dodd-Frank.

Woman Stabbed Boyfriend In Groin For Eating All Her Salsa: Police (HP)
Jefferson's boyfriend, Ronnie D. Bucker, 61, told police that he and the accused were arguing about the salsa consumption when she allegedly stabbed him with the pen. The suspect then walked over to the TV and threatened to knock it on the floor, according to Ohio.com. When Buckner grabbed the TV, Jefferson allegedly walked to the kitchen to grab a knife and used it to cut him in the stomach.

BlackRock avoids embarrassing takeover (FT)
BlackRock has avoided being forced to make an embarrassing takeover offer for an Australian engineering company after accidentally buying too much stock...A series of BlackRock entities bought 8.6m shares in Monadelphous, pushing the share price up 25 per cent, on March 20, the day the Perth-based company was demoted from the S&P/ASX 100 index of blue-chip stocks under a quarterly rebalancing. In a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange, BlackRock admitted it had no intention of buying more than 20 per cent of the company. BlackRock laid the blame with unnamed third-party index providers that compile the benchmarks underlying some of its dividend income funds. It claimed these providers had seriously underweighted Monadelphous for two years, meaning BlackRock had to buy a lot more stock when this error was corrected.

Fed’s Fischer Says Regulators Must Keep Watch on Shadow Banking (Bloomberg)
“Non-bank firms and activities can pose the same key vulnerabilities as banks, including high leverage, excessive maturity transformation, and complexity, all of which can lead to financial instability,” Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in the text of remarks prepared for delivery at a financial markets conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

It's Too Expensive to Live in Dubai, So People Deal With the Gridlock Commute (Bloomberg)
Colliers International, a U.S.-based property broker, estimates that about half of Dubai’s population, excluding the lowest earners such as construction workers and maids, earns 9,000 dirhams to 15,000 dirhams ($2,450-$4,083) a month. Based on the U.S. ratio that rent or mortgage payments shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of household income, housing costs should range from 32,500 dirhams to 54,000 dirhams a year. The few areas where studio and one-bedroom apartments fall into that range for renters.

Blackstone’s Latest Fund Raises $14.5 Billion in Institutional Capital (WSJ)
Blackstone’s real-estate business lately has been generating more profits than any other group at the firm. The head of the group, Jonathan Gray, is widely viewed as a likely successor to Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman...The fund also plans to raise $1.3 billion from retail investors, increasing its total capital to $15.8 billion.

Pimco drops out of top-10 asset management brands in Europe (FT)
The US bond manager was voted only the 12th most popular fund management brand in Europe and was one of only two companies to slip out of a top-10 ranking based on the views of more than 1,000 fund selectors, an important group of investment experts that vet and promote funds to the wider market.

Barclays will not renew £40m-a-year Premier League sponsorship (DailyMail)
The bank agreed a £120m three-year deal in 2012 for the present rights - an increase of almost 50 per cent on their previous £82m contract. But with Sky and BT Sport paying a record £5.1billion for TV rights from the start of the 2016 season, Barclays fear the cost of the next sponsorship will also rise considerably.

Papa Dimitri's Classic Pizza A Front For Pot Business: Cops (HP)
On Friday, authorities arrested Ryan Dimitri Brooks Sr., 27, the owner of Papa Dimitri's Classic Pizza and Ice Cream; his mother, Rosalyn Mary Brooks, 61; grandmother Joyce Elaine Merkley, 82, and a woman he lived with, Lena Shalay Kirk, 24...Authorities began investigating Papa Dimitri's Pizza last August after getting a tip that the restaurant was rarely open and didn't seem to do a lot of business, KARE TV reports. According to the criminal complaint obtained by the station, Papa Dimitri's employees complained about a lack of heat despite the presence of pizza ovens. The workers also chose to eat at a nearby burger restaurant rather than the pizzeria. Yelp reviews weren't very positive either. One customer griped, "I've defrosted better pizza on my engine block. A cracker thin crust with greasy cheese. Overpriced and slow as heck."

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Opening Bell: 9.22.15

Blankfein has lymphoma; UBS sued over Puerto Rico; Greece closes in on $3.4 billion; "Woman, 27, Arrested For Pooper Scooper Attack On Her Live-In Boyfriend": AND MORE.

Opening Bell: 5.21.15

Point72 is in expansion mode; Preet Bharara isn't sweating losses; "Woman who bit off part of ex-boyfriend's ear avoids jail"; and more.

Opening Bell: 11.26.12

UBS Stung By Adoboli Case (WSJ) Swiss financial market regulator Finma said it will keep a close eye on UBS's investment bank for the foreseeable future and may ask it to raise fresh capital, following an investigation into failures that allowed London-based trader Kweku Adoboli to make unauthorized trades. At the same time, the U.K. Financial Services Authority fined UBS £29.7 million ($47.6 million). Mr. Adoboli was convicted of fraud last week and sentenced to a seven-year prison term. "The measures ordered by Finma include capital restrictions and an acquisition ban on the investment bank, and any new business initiative it plans must be approved by Finma," the regulator said. Finma will also consider "whether UBS must increase capital backing for its operational risks," will appoint a third party to ensure corrective measures are introduced, and will organize an audit to review the steps taken by UBS. Finma declined to say when the auditing review would be completed or when a decision on a capital increase would be made, though a spokesman said this is likely to be within months rather than years. SAC Fund Manager Faces Choice of Trial or Deal (Bloomberg) Martoma, 38, used illegal tips to help SAC make $276 million on shares of pharmaceutical companies Elan Corp. and Wyeth LLC, according to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Arrested last week, he is to appear today in Manhattan federal court for masterminding what the U.S. calls the most lucrative insider-trading case ever. Flowers Foods Sizes Up Hostess (WSJ) The Thomasville, Ga., company is considered a likely bidder for some of the assets owned by Hostess, which last week was granted permission by a federal bankruptcy-court judge to begin liquidating. The end came after a contentious bankruptcy that began in January and culminated this month in a strike. Goldman Turns Down Southern Europe Banks as Crisis Lingers (Bloomberg) Goldman Sachs, the No. 1 stock underwriter in Europe, turned down roles in offerings by banks in Spain and Italy this year, the only top U.S. securities firm not to take part in the fundraisings by southern European lenders as the region’s debt crisis stretches to a fourth year. The firm declined a role in Banco Popular Espanol SA’s 2.5 billion-euro ($3.2 billion) rights offering this month because it wanted greater protection to avoid potential losses on the sale, two people familiar with the talks said. JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are helping to guarantee the deal. Goldman also didn’t underwrite this year’s share sales by Italy’s UniCredit SpA and Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo SA, which drew Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup. Knight Seen Getting Acquisition Bids This Week (Bloomberg) The company with a market value of about $430 million was bailed out by six financial firms in August after losing $457 million in a trading error. Chicago-based Getco LLC, one of the rescuers, and Virtu Financial LLC in New York are among the likely bidders, said the person, who requested anonymity because the negotiations are private. The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 23 that Knight expected offers for its market-making unit. Woman who rode manatee charged with violating protection act (Sentinel) A 53-year-old Pinellas County woman was arrested Saturday for violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act by riding a sea cow in the waters near St. Petersburg in September. Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez of St. Petersburg was arrested at her place of employment — Sears at Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg — on a warrant issued by the State Attorney's Office. The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. The punishment could be a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail, the Tampa Bay Times said. Gutierrez stepped forward after the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office released photos of a then-unknown woman riding a manatee near Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County on Sept. 30. "Gutierrez admitted to the offense claiming she is new to the area and did not realize it was against the law to touch or harass manatees,'' the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Escrowyou too, judge! (NYP) Argentina, bruised and battered after a 10-year battle to sidestep billions of dollars in bond payments, is lashing out at US courts and a Manhattan federal court judge. A high-ranking member of Argentina President Cristina Kirchner’s administration terms “judicial imperialism” the Thanksgiving eve ruling by Judge Thomas Griesa that ordered the South American country to place a $1.3 billion bond payment in escrow pending the end of the legal tussle. Kirchner has repeatedly said she would not pay up. Griesa, frustrated with Argentina’s repeated attempts to stall the legal proceedings, sided with New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, whose Elliott Management owns Argentine bonds that were defaulted on back in 2002. 'Cliff' Threatens Holiday Spending (WSJ) The White House warned in a new report that going off the so-called "fiscal cliff" could slow the growth of real gross domestic product by 1.4% and limit consumer spending during the holiday season. The report comes as lawmakers are returning to Washington with just weeks left to find an agreement to prevent taxes from going up on millions and spending cuts from kicking in. It will likely provide fodder for both political parties as they seek to find a compromise. At Some Firms, Cutting Corporate Rates May Cost Billions (WSJ) President Barack Obama has said, most recently during last month's presidential debates, that the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate should be cut. That would mean lower tax bills for many companies. But it also could prompt large write-downs by Citigroup, AIG, Ford and other companies that hold piles of "deferred tax assets," or DTAs...Citigroup, for instance, acknowledged during its recent third-quarter earnings conference call that a cut in the tax rate could lead to a DTA-related charge of $4 billion to $5 billion against earnings. Cohen's General Counsel Gives SAC Boss Cover (NYP) The sharks of the US Attorney’s office have SAC Capital Advisors surrounded — and owner Steven Cohen is looking a lot like chum. Good thing the billionaire hedgie has a large supply of shark repellent. That would be Peter Nussbaum, SAC’s longtime general counsel who, over his 12 years at the Stamford, Conn., firm, has built up an impressive 30-person compliance department — not including an additional tech compliance team. “Nussbaum is the most respected person at SAC,” said a hedge fund executive not at SAC. “He is going to do what he thinks is best for the firm and not be cowed by anyone.” Nussbaum’s huge compliance department, observers said, was built, in large part, because of the perception that the government was determined to bust Cohen. Confidential Police Docs Found in Macy's Parade Confetti (WPIX) Confidential personal information is what some paradegoers found among confetti tossed during the world's most famous parade. That information included social security numbers and banking information for police employees, some of whom are undercover officers. Ethan Finkelstein, who was home from college on Thanksgiving break, was watching the parade at 65th Street and Central Park West, when he and a friend noticed a strip of confetti stuck onto her coat. "It landed on her shoulder," Finkelstein told PIX11 News, "and it says 'SSN' and it's written like a social security number, and we're like, 'That's really bizarre.' It made the Tufts University freshman concerned, so he and his friends picked up more of the confetti that had fallen around them. "There are phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers and then we find all these incident reports from police." One confetti strip indicates that it's from an arrest record, and other strips offer more detail. "This is really shocking," Finkelstein said. "It says, 'At 4:30 A.M. a pipe bomb was thrown at a house in the Kings Grant' area." A closer look shows that the documents are from the Nassau County Police Department. The papers were shredded, but clearly not well enough.

SorosTight

Opening Bell: 2.15.18

Markets ignoring stagflation; Soros is a crypto bro now; Steve Schwarzman is in a bubble of his own; Olympic dick statues are popular; and more!

By Sadie Hernandez [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.17.16

Brevan Howard, Tudor hit hard; Steve Cohen settles with CFTC; Pokémon Go players hit with a laser attack by pig-masked couple having public sex in Sweden; and more.

stevecohen6

Opening Bell: 5.30.17

Steve Cohen found a nice big round number to aim for; Barney Frank says “all numbers are arbitrary”; there's now a Pissing Pug next to the Fearless Girl; and more.