UBS Sets Sights on U.S. Investment Banking Again (WSJ)
UBS AG, which stumbled badly the last time it pushed to expand in the lucrative U.S. investment-banking market, is again seeking to build its business here—though this time with more modest ambitions. Since the beginning of last year, UBS has boosted its ranks of senior investment bankers in the U.S. by about 25, or 20%, according to a spokeswoman. On average, other big Wall Street firms have lost about five senior bankers on a net basis in that period.
Odds not in favour of UK trader winning US extradition fight (FT)
When Navinder Singh Sarao appeared at a London criminal court this week, he told the judge he had “done nothing wrong.” Whether that is true and he is a scapegoat for US authorities seeking someone to blame for the “flash crash” will be most likely for a court in Chicago to decide. Sarao, 36, accused by US authorities of allegedly playing a role in the 2010 “flash crash,” has become the latest British resident fighting extradition and the prospect of arguing their innocence abroad. Legal experts say he does not stand much chance of staying on British soil and the recent cases of Britons challenging US extradition requests have met with little success.
Monsanto Said to Make Preliminary $45 Billion Offer for Syngenta (Bloomberg)
Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, made an initial offer for Syngenta AG valuing its Swiss rival at about $45 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Yelp Seeks Buyer Amid Slow Growth, Rising Costs (WSJ)
Yelp Inc. is exploring a sale as the company at the top of many Internet search results struggles to post strong growth with users and advertisers. The San Francisco-based site was willing five years ago to go it alone despite an acquisition offer from Google Inc. Today, it is working with investment bankers and sounding out potential buyers, people familiar with the matter said.
Calgary Airbnb 'Orgy' Was Financed With Stolen Credit Cards: Police (HP)
A "drug-induced orgy" that took place at a Calgary Airbnb rental was financed by fraudulent credit cards, and police are on the hunt for those responsible. Calgary police say they are using CCTV footage in an effort to determine who rented the house, and also looking for the people who used stolen credit cards to buy food and booze for the party that left the home in ruins. Homeowners Mark and Star King rented out the house in the city's northwest the last weekend in April through online accommodation service AirBnB. They were under the impression four adults would be staying at the home while attending a weekend wedding in Calgary. Instead, they returned to find their home completely trashed. Police were called to the home several times over the weekend for noise complaints, and neighbours reported that a party bus showed up at one point and the crowd grew to over 100 people. The owners came home to broken glass, ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce, vomit and urine all over the floors and walls, couches and tables broken, cushions burned and cut, and towel racks pulled right out of the wall. Biohazardous material, condom-plugged toilets, and pools of liquor on the floor were also found. It is believed the total damages have ballooned to more than $150,000, and the U.S.-based company says it will cover the costs.
ItBit makes New York bitcoin history (NYP)
New York regulators on Thursday granted the first bitcoin exchange charter to itBit, a barely three-year old company with a deep bench of Wall Street heavy hitters. The charter, issued by the Department of Financial Services, comes as ex-bankers are increasingly looking to the digital currency as the next frontier in finance. Charles Cascarilla, itBit’s CEO — and a former Goldman Sachs analyst — told The Post that the company beefed up its board in January by bringing on Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, and Robert Herz, who used to chair the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
Daniel Loeb Criticizes Warren Buffett, in a Rare Public Swipe (WSJ)
“I love how he criticizes hedge funds, yet he really had the first hedge fund,” Mr. Loeb said Wednesday at a hedge-fund industry conference in Las Vegas. “He criticizes activists. He was the first activist. He criticizes financial-services companies, yet he likes to invest with them. He thinks we should all pay more taxes, but he loves avoiding them.” Within seconds, Mr. Loeb, known for his searing letters to corporate chieftains, sounded regretful, calling his remarks “gratuitous” and a “potshot.” But his comments—and the applause and cheers that they drew in a room packed with a thousand hedge-fund managers, investors and others—show that beneath the public adulation of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief lies a layer of envy and resentment in some corners of Wall Street.
Goldman Sachs must face $120 million suit over mortgage securities: court (Reuters)
New York's top state court on Thursday revived a bond insurer's $120 million lawsuit claiming Goldman Sachs Group Inc lied about a pool of securities backed by subprime mortgages during the period leading up the financial crisis. The New York Court of Appeals in a 5-2 decision said the suit by ACA Financial Guaranty Corp ACAFG.UL should move forward because the insurer had raised issues about the role of billionaire John Paulson's hedge fund in a collateralized debt obligation called Abacus. ACA Financial said Goldman had deceived it into believing hedge fund Paulson & Co was a long investor in Abacus when it knew Paulson was betting the underlying mortgages would fail.
Bank of America directors lose support from shareholders (Reuters)
Four Bank of America Corp directors on the board's governance committee received unusually small majorities of votes for re-election at this week's annual meeting, according to tallies the company released on Thursday. None received more than 71.9 percent of the votes cast, compared with each last year receiving at least 98 percent.
Puerto Rico faces battle to avoid default (FT)
...last week the island’s House of Representatives voted down the sales tax bill, despite the Government Development Bank — in practice Puerto Rico’s finance ministry — warning that doing so would scupper its chances of returning to bond markets and lead to a government shutdown within three months. The aborted vote triggered a rout in Puerto Rico’s bonds, and many analysts and investors now fear that a default and restructuring is now inevitable.
Cops: Drunken Indiana Man Driving Lawn Mower Had Whopping Blood Alcohol Content (TSG)
In what appears to be a record for drunken lawn mower joyriding, an Indiana man’s blood alcohol content was nearly six times the legal limit, according to cops who received reports that the suspect was driving in traffic with his daughter on his lap. Trevor Bates, 27, was cited Saturday after witnesses called 911 to report that an intoxicated man was driving a lawn mower erratically on an Evansville street. Police report that Bates had a .445 blood alcohol content (the legal limit is .08).