Ackman parts ways with Valeant advocate (FT)
Bill Ackman is parting company with the man who introduced him to his disastrous investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Bill Doyle is leaving Mr Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square, after less than two years, as the fund tries to claw its way back from losses on Valeant shares, according to its latest letter to investors. Mr Doyle is a former Harvard classmate of Mr Ackman and introduced him to Michael Pearson, the chief executive who was building Valeant into a pharmaceuticals giant using an innovative business model combining debt-funded acquisitions and raising drug prices. Mr Doyle and Mr Pearson had been colleagues at McKinsey, the consulting firm, and the pair helped persuade Mr Ackman to fund an audacious takeover bid by Valeant for Allergan. “Bill vouched for Mike,” Mr Ackman said of Mr Doyle after that ultimately doomed bid was announced in 2014. “There was a lot of trust there.”
Nightmare on Wall Street: Busted Deals Cost Banks Over $300 Million (WSJ)
More than $395.4 billion in U.S. mergers, including, most recently, Staples Inc.’s combination with Office Depot, have fallen apart in 2016, , according to data provider Dealogic, felled by exacting regulators, rocky markets or reluctant targets. That will be a record even if no other deals stumble for the rest of the year. That is bad news for the banks that stood to make billions of dollars in fees on the M&A feast of 2015, a record-setting year of more than $4.6 trillion in announced deals.
Hedge Funds Look for Hard Hats in a Year of Collapsing Mergers (Dealbook)
Broken deals have whipsawed hedge funds that focus on merger arbitrage, a type of trading that places bets on the likelihood that deals will be completed. As one “arb,” as traders in merger arbitrage are known, described the current mood of the industry: Every day is like showing up unsure of whether to wear a helmet or a diaper. “You’re definitely seeing a hangover from the M.&A. party from 2015,” said Aly El Hamamsy, a partner in Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s mergers-and-acquisitions group, which occasionally advises arbs. “Things will stay interesting for a few months at least.”
Why tequila prices change every five minutes at this bar (NYP)
Tequila prices at the Blind Burro bar and restaurant can change every five minutes based on demand. If more people order one tequila brand, the price of another might drop. Software, created by Los Angeles-based The Drink Exchange, tracks what drinkers buy and flashes the changing prices of more than two dozen tequila brands on TV screens hung on the bar’s walls. On a recent night, a shot of Espolon Blanco tequila was $7.75 one minute and fell 50 cents to $7.25 a few minutes later. At the same time, another brand rose a dollar to $12 a shot.
Wife Battered Husband Over Candy, Flowers (TSG)
Investigators allege that Virginia Stewart, 42, attacked her spouse during an argument early Sunday in their family’s Holmes Beach residence. Cops arrived at the house in response to a 911 hangup call. As detailed in a probable cause affidavit, Stewart quarreled with her husband about “the victim getting her the wrong flowers and candy for Mother’s Day.” After Stewart “did throw cups around the room and break them,” she allegedly attacked her spouse, punching him several times while also striking the man in the head with a coat hanger. Stewart’s husband suffered “bruising and contusions,” noted cops, who added that the “injuries were highly visible on the left side of his face with contusions all over.”
NY regulator asks Goldman, 3 other banks for shell company info: Source (CNBC)
New York state's top financial regulator has asked Goldman Sachs and three foreign banks about their possible involvement with shell companies, a source briefed on the matter told CNBC. The New York Department of Financial Services requested information from 13 other banks last month. The actions stem from the release of the Panama Papers, leaked documents with information about offshore entities, the source said. The DFS also asked for data from from BNP Paribas, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Standard Chartered.
LendingClub’s Ties to Fund Under Fire (WSJ)
LendingClub Corp. and its chief executive invested millions of dollars in an outside fund in part to boost demand for the company’s loans at a time of market stress, people familiar with the matter said. Then-CEO Renaud Laplanche advocated the investment in Cirrix Capital LP, a key customer for LendingClub’s loans, at a time Cirrix had been suffering some of its worst performance in years, according to the people and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The CEO urged the company to invest in part because it would allow Cirrix to buy more LendingClub loans, the people said. The company put $10 million into Cirrix by April 1, and Mr. Laplanche added $4 million of his own.
Pentagon Reboots Silicon Valley Startup as Analysts Cite Flaws (Bloomberg)
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has replaced the initial director of the Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental), or DIUx, and brought the year-old effort under his direct control, he announced Wednesday in a visit to the operation’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. “We’re taking yet another page from the Silicon Valley playbook, making leadership structure at DIUx as flat as any company here,” Carter said of his effort to revamp an initiative to tap into Silicon Valley’s technological expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. Carter made a pilgrimage to the technology industry’s heart last August, saying the Pentagon lacked a “coolness factor” as he ramped up programs aimed at cyberspace and cybersecurity.
Missing New Mexico dog found in San Diego three years later (UPI)
A New Mexico man was reunited with his dog, which had been missing for three years, after it was found in San Diego. According to the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, Ricardo Dominguez received the call that his 7-year-old labrador Brownie had been found while driving on Friday night. County Animal Services found Dominguez's information by scanning the dog's microchip and contacted Dominguez's girlfriend, who ultimately delivered him the news. Dominguez, a general contractor, then drove non-stop for 720 miles from a job site in El Paso, Texas to San Diego to meet up with his long lost pet. "He looks up through the door at me in my cowboy hat, and his eyes were, wow is that you?" He said. "His eyes went wide, and he went wild, started dragging the person on the leash, and he came and jumped on me and went crazy!"