Opening Bell: 5.2.16

Warren Buffett trashes Valeant, hedge fund fees; Marissa Mayer gets $55 million if ousted; Now You Can Get Pizza In A Pizza Box Made Out Of Pizza; and more.
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Warren Buffett Assails Valeant as ‘Enormously Flawed’ (WSJ)
Warren Buffett offered his assessment of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., calling the troubled drug company’s business model “enormously flawed.” The Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief executive was responding during the company’s annual meeting Saturday to a shareholder question about a mutual fund he has ties to that made a large bet on Valeant.

Buffett Says Hedge Funds Get 'Unbelievable' Fees for Bad Results (Bloomberg)
“There’s been far, far, far more money made by people in Wall Street through salesmanship abilities than through investment abilities,” Buffett said Saturday during Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Hedge funds traditionally charge a management fee that’s 2 percent of assets, plus 20 percent on any profits. That’s “a compensation scheme that is unbelievable to me,” Buffett said. He added that some pension funds have disregarded his advice, and gone ahead and hired consultants.

Coke criticisms are one-sided, 'immature and stupid': Berkshire's Munger (CNBC)
Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, had some harsh words for people over-preaching about the health risks of drinking too much Coke. The soft drink giant, along with others in the sector, has taken incoming fire from nutrition advocates concerned about the health impact of sugary drinks and fatty foods. Notably, an effort to ban soft drinks of a certain size in New York City failed in 2014, after a state court declined to renew the limit instituted by former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg. "We ought to have a law ... where these people shouldn't be allowed to cite the defects without citing the advantage. It's immature and stupid," Munger said Saturday at Berkshire's annual shareholders meeting.

Big Severance for Marissa Mayer if Ousted From Yahoo After a Sale (Dealbook)
Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, will walk away with a $55 million severance package if the company’s auction of its Internet operations culminates in a sale that ousts her from her job. The payout, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, would consist of cash, stock awards and other benefits if she is forced out within a year after a sale.

11-year-old boy makes home invader ‘cry like a baby’ (NYP)
Youngster Chris Gaither was just chilling at home with his dogs when he heard a suspicious noise on the second floor of his Talladega, AL, home, he told NBC affiliate WVTM-TV. Gaither grabbed a knife and went to investigate, but when the intruder saw the blade he pulled a gun. “He was coming down the stairs, that’s when he told me he was going to kill me, f-you and all that,” the boy told the station. Unfazed, Gaither grabbed a nearby .9mm handgun, and threatening to kill the man if he didn’t scram. “I guess when I pulled the gun out on him, he didn’t think it was a real gun, cause he didn’t worry about it,” the boy said. “He just kept on walking.” Once the thief was outside, lugging a hamper full of stolen loot, the 11-year-old emptied the magazine — firing 12 shots before the intruder had even made it to the edge of the yard. The final shot pierced the man’s leg, as he was attempting to scale the fence. “I shot through the hamper he was carrying,” Gaither told WVTM-TV. “It was a full metal jacket bullet. It went straight through the back of his leg. He started crying like a little baby.” The unidentified man was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Gaither described the the man as a “meth-head,” who had robbed his home before. “I hope you learned your lesson from coming to this house trying to steal stuff,” Gaither warned.

Puerto Rico Will Default on Government Development Bank Debt (Bloomberg)
Puerto Rico will default on a $422 million bond payment for its Government Development Bank, escalating what is turning into the biggest crisis ever in the $3.7 trillion market that state and local entities use to access financing.

One Top Taxpayer Moved, and New Jersey Shuddered (Dealbook)
The New Jersey resident (unnamed by Mr. Haines) is the hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper. In December, Mr. Tepper declared himself a resident of Florida after living for over 20 years in New Jersey. He later moved the official headquarters of his hedge fund, Appaloosa Management, to Miami. New Jersey won’t say exactly how much Mr. Tepper paid in taxes. But according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha, he earned more than $6 billion from 2012 to 2015. Tax experts say his move to Florida could cost New Jersey — which has a top tax rate of 8.97 percent — hundreds of millions of dollars in lost payments.

FCA sees issues in Deutsche Bank controls over financial crimes, FT reports (Reuters)
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) has "serious" and "systemic" failings in its controls against money laundering, terrorist financing and sanctions, according to a confidential letter by the UK's financial regulatory agency, the Financial Times reported. The watchdog agency, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has now ordered a separate independent review, the FT reported the letter as saying. The FCA declined to comment.

Now You Can Get Pizza In A Pizza Box Made Out Of Pizza (HP)
They’re clunky. Cardboard feels terrible on your fingers. And when you’re finished with your pizza, you can’t reuse the box for anything because it’s covered in disgusting grease. It just sits by your door attracting bugs until you can work up the motivation to drag out it to the trash, since the grease and cheese stains typically render them non-recyclable...No more. Brooklyn pizza joint Vinnie’s Pizzeria has solved this plethora of problems by creating a pizza box that’s made out of pizza. The whole shebang will run you $40, but hey, it’s also a lot more pizza than just a pizza.

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Opening Bell: 6.22.17

Warren Buffett comes to the rescue up north; Bill Ackman has a glimmer in his eye; the future of cycling is (literally) shit; and more.

Opening Bell: 01.04.16

Marissa Mayer v Yahoo investors; Fed's Fischer supports higher rates; Women gaining in billionaires club; "This Guy Gets His Back Hair Shaved Into Works Of Art"; and more.

Opening Bell: 02.26.13

J.P. Morgan’s Investor Day: Cut That Headcount (Deal Journal) JP Morgan is looking to cut another $1 billion out of its expenses this year, including somewhere around 4,000 jobs, according to a new presentation...And that may not be all the cuts. In a separate presentation on the consumer bank and mortgage operations the bank expects to cut costs in mortgage banking by $3 billion over this year and next year and cut headcount there by between 13,000 and 15,000. Banks Face Hurdle In Libor Fight (WSJ) Next week, lawyers for Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, UBS AG and more than a dozen other banks still under investigation are expected to ask a federal-court judge to throw out many of the suits, which seek class-action status. The suits, filed in civil court in California and New York by plaintiffs ranging from a retired cable-car driver in San Francisco to the city of Baltimore, have been piling up for nearly two years. They seek damages that could reach into the tens of billions of dollars from financial institutions that help determine the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Barclays, RBS and UBS already have paid about $2.5 billion, and admitted wrongdoing, to settle rate-rigging allegations by U.S. and U.K. regulators. In court filings, lawyers for the 16 banks accused of wrongdoing say the lawsuits have no legal validity. The lawyers say regulatory settlements reached so far don't support the central allegation in most of the civil suits that banks engaged in illegal, anticompetitive behavior. Berlusconi Concedes as He Weighs Alliance (Bloomberg) Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi acknowledged rival Pier Luigi Bersani’s narrow victory in the lower house of Parliament and said he’s open to a broad alliance to avoid a second election. “Everyone needs to think what good can be done for Italy and this will take some time,” Berlusconi said in an interview with Canale 5, a station owned by his Mediaset SpA broadcaster. The country can’t be left without a government, he said. Lew gettin’ close: Senate panel to OK as next Treasury boss (NYP) Treasury Secretary-nominee Jack Lew will get the green light to replace Tim Geithner despite taking heat during and after his confirmation hearing over a loan he received from New York University. The 57-year-old former White House chief of staff has enough votes from the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Max Baucus (D-Mont.), to pass a vote today that will likely lead to his confirmation, sources said. A full Senate vote is likely to be scheduled in a couple of days and held sometime next week. Larry Summers: Sequestration 'Meat Cleaver' Is Irresponsible (CNBC) Avoiding the "sequester" is "round three" in the debt-reduction debate, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told CNBC Tuesday, arguing for a "balanced approach" because President Barack Obama has agreed to more spending cuts than revenue during the process. In a "Squawk Box" interview, Summers said the funding constraints of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — which resolved that year's debt ceiling crisis — were round one. "You had spending cuts that were far larger from the discretionary side, that were far larger than anything [on revenue] that happened in December. Right now, we're way in balance toward more spending cuts." Dominique Strauss-Kahn seeks to ban 'half-man half-pig' book (Telegraph) The "biographical novel" by Marcela Iacub, a lawyer and journalist, recounts her seven-month affair with the 64-year-old Mr Strauss-Kahn last year. It is due to be published on Wednesday under the title, Belle et Bête, or Beauty and Beast. But the one-time Socialist presidential hopeful will this morning seek to have the book banned for "violation of the intimacy of private life" and the author and her publisher fined 100,000 euros (£88,000) in damages...In the work, she claims Mr Strauss-Kahn would have transformed the Elysée Palace into a "giant swingers' club" had he been elected French president. In fresh accounts by those who have read the book yesterday, the last chapter narrates the pair's final encounter, ending in Miss Iacub receiving treatment in casualty after "the pig" left her with an "eaten ear". Mr Strauss-Kahn has slammed the work of a woman who "seduces to write a book, claiming to have amorous feelings to exploit them for financial gain". Gupta's Gotta Pay GS $6.2 Million (NYP) Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta was ordered yesterday by a Manhattan federal judge to fork over a whopping $6.2 million to repay the Wall Street bank for legal fees it spent during the government’s probe of Gupta’s insider-trading case. The 64-year-old fallen star was convicted last year of giving up secrets he learned while on Goldman’s board to his pal and hedge fund honcho Raj Rajaratnam. Among the counts, the jury found Gupta guilty of giving Rajaratnam a tip on Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman in the throes of the financial crisis. Gupta, the former head of consulting firm McKinsey, is out on bail while he appeals the ruling. Goldman had requested restitution of $6.9 million — and submitted 542 pages of billing records from its lawyers at Sullivan Cromwell. Yahoo’s Mayer Risks Productivity With Work-From-Home Restriction (Bloomberg) Jackie Reses, Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development, sent a memo last week asking employees with work-from-home arrangements to make their way to the company’s offices, starting June. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” according to the memo, whose contents were confirmed by a Yahoo employee who asked not to be identified because it’s not a public document. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” At a time when Mayer is under pressure to jump-start growth and create innovative products, the shift may compromise Yahoo’s ability to attract employees seeking the freedom to work outside the office -- a perk offered by many of the company’s competitors. Research suggests that working from home enhances productivity, said Jody Thompson, co-founder of workforce consultant CultureRx. BP Oil-Spill Trial Begins (WSJ) Both Transocean and the Justice Department focused part of their opening statements on a 10-minute ship-to-shore phone call between two BP engineers, Donald Vidrine and Mark Hafle, less than an hour before the blast. From the rig, Mr. Vidrine allegedly talked about unusual results from a test designed to ensure the cement sealing in the bottom of the well was successful. Investigators later found that rig workers misinterpreted the results of the test. Dennis Rodman Bound For North Korea (Reuters) Retired U.S. basketball player Dennis Rodman is to visit North Korea to film a television documentary and will arrive in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Rodman, now 51 years old, won five NBA championships in his prime, achieving a mix of fame and notoriety for his on- and off-court antics. Thirty-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has launched two long-range rockets and carried out a nuclear weapons test during his first year in power, is reported to be an avid NBA fan and had pictures taken with players from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during his school days in Switzerland. "At a time when tensions between the two countries (the United States and North Korea) are running high, it's important to keep lines of communication open, no matter how non-traditional those channels are," AP quoted Shane Smith, the founder of VICE, which is to make the TV series, as saying.