Opening Bell: 9.3.15

Private equity eyes Petco; Hedge fund losses; "Who Wants to Ring the Closing Bell on Bad Days?"; Puerto Rico still not doing so hot; "Hawaii woman announces plan to use dolphin as a midwife"; and more.
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Who Wants to Ring the Closing Bell on Bad Days? (WSJ)
Actress Missi Pyle was scheduled to close the markets on Sept. 29, 2008, which later became known as one of the worst days in financial history. “I was so excited to do it. I was doing this play on Broadway, and the publicist said, ‘You can go and ring the closing bell,’ ” she said. Once the day arrived, however, “an hour beforehand, they were like, ‘You know what? We don’t want you to have to be associated with this terrible day.’” A NYSE official stood in for Ms. Pyle instead, but her affiliation with the close “is on my IMDb page now, it’s my top news story,” she said. “I can’t escape it!”

Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund drops 9.2 percent in August (Reuters)
Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management, which makes concentrated bets on a small number of stocks, told clients on Wednesday that its Pershing Square LP fund fell 7.7 percent last month, leaving it flat on the year with a 0.06 percent gain. The firm's Pershing Square Holdings portfolio dropped 9.2 percent, and is now down 0.1 percent for the year, erasing a 10 percent gain it had at the end of July, two sources familiar with the numbers said. Last year the fund gained 40 percent, beating the Standard & Poor's 13.7 percent gain.

Hedge Funds’ Wobbles Bolster Argument Against High Fees (Dealbook)
Big names including Greenlight Capital, Pershing Square and Third Point have taken a pounding from the market turmoil of the past couple of weeks. For most of them, it’s just one month’s bad performance. But if these high-charging funds cannot provide a hedge to clients’ regular investments, it lends extra weight to those who are ditching them. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the $300 billion pension fund manager known as Calpers, is perhaps the most vocal. Calpers announced a year ago that it was dumping hedge funds from its portfolio, citing “their complexity, cost and the lack of ability to scale at Calpers’s size.”

Private Equity Firms Circle Petco (Dealbook)
Petco has drawn takeover interest from private equity shops including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company as it continues preparing for an I.P.O., a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

Hawaii woman announces plan to use dolphin as a midwife (UPI)
A pregnant Hawaii woman seen swimming with dolphins in a viral video announced plans to give birth using a dolphin as a midwife. Dorina Rosin, who operates a healing sanctuary in Hawaii with partner Maika Suneagle, was seen swimming with dolphins while 38 weeks pregnant in a video posted to YouTube in mid-August and the producers of British TV series Katie Piper's Extraordinary Births visited Rosin when she announced her intention to use a dolphin as a midwife...Experts warned using a dolphin as a midwife could prove dangerous. "Because of their friendly disposition and common [presence] in aquariums, we tend to think of dolphins as trustworthy, loving creatures," Christine Wilcox wrote on Discovery Magazine's website. "But let's get real for a minute here. Dolphins don't eat sunshine and fart roses. They're wild animals, and they are known to do some pretty terrible things."

Firm recommends BofA separates CEO and chairman roles (NYP)
Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan is in for a bumpy ride this month. That much was assured on Wednesday after proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis recommended shareholders vote against a bank proposal that would allow the 55-year-old executive to keep both his CEO and chairman titles.

Puerto Rico to Restructure Up to $5.7 Billion in Debt (Dealbook)
Puerto Rico has secured a first foothold in its struggles with a towering $72 billion mountain of debt. The island’s electric power authority and a group of big investors agreed late Tuesday on terms for restructuring as much as $5.7 billion of bonds. That deal offers a possible model for a much bigger, and almost certainly messier, restructuring of debt that Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has described as “unpayable.” Melba Acosta Febo, president of Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, called the agreement “an example of the promising results that can be achieved when the commonwealth and its creditors work together.”

Scrutiny of Security Start-Ups May Signal Shift in Venture Funding (Dealbook)
In 2014, American venture capitalists poured $1.77 billion, a record amount, into private security start-ups, topping the previous record of $1.62 billion invested in 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. “There was a big rush to fund cyber companies over the past 12 to 24 months,” said David Cowan, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “But now there’s a sense that there are many, many out there already and a good story is not enough to attract capital anymore.”

B.C. gardener has likely grown world's longest cucumber (CBC)
Daniel Tomelin is an avid gardener from Kelowna, B.C. He has a diverse mix of healthy plants but this summer something incredible has happened with one of the edible varieties. Tomelin claims he has grown the world's longest cucumber. His prized cuke currently measures just over a metre in length (44.5 in). "If you've seen an English cucumber, this is like a really long one of those," Tomelin tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann. "The widest part, the bulbous end is about six inches around so that's putting it about four and a half inches across."

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