Opening Bell: 1.27.17

Ackman tries subtlety for a change; hedge funds hit paydirt tracking planes; at least one Burger King has a secret weed menu; and more.
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Humbled Ackman plays coy about two behemoth buys (NYP)

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The Pershing Square founder invested roughly $436 million, or 4 percent of his fund’s $12 billion capital, in late 2016 in one investment. The second, larger investment, totaling roughly 9 percent of his capital, or $981 million, was made in early 2017. Discretion is a rare move for Ackman, who is known to make media rounds and prepare several-hundred-page slide shows detailing his activist plays.

Hedge Funds Strike Paydirt on Actelion Deal After Tracking J&J's Jet (BBG)

Burned by failed deals, poor returns and client withdrawals, hedge fund managers needed a home run. With each passing day last week, as a Johnson & Johnson corporate jet remained mostly parked a short drive from Actelion Ltd. headquarters near Basel, Switzerland, they grew increasingly confident of a big score, according to hedge fund managers betting on the deal who tracked the plane’s movements on the Internet.

Kushner’s Felon Father Back At Helm Of New York Empire With Two Fellow Inmates (BBG)

It’s hard to find work right out of prison. But Avram Lebor and Richard Goettlich walked from their Alabama penitentiary into top jobs at the real estate company then run by Jared Kushner, now President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. The two men, convicted in separate sprawling fraud schemes, were hired several years ago by his father, Charles Kushner, who had been locked up in the same federal prison with them.

Elon Musk Has Trump’s Ear, and Wall Street Takes Note (NYT)

Adam Jonas, a prominent automotive analyst at Morgan Stanley, upgraded Tesla stock to overweight last week, with a target price of $305 a share. (It was trading this week at about $255.) He said that the “strategic relationship between Tesla leadership and the new administration is an important development” in his decision to upgrade Tesla stock.

Jilting Jefferies Said to Cost Credit Suisse Bankers $10 Million (BBG)

talent war between Jefferies Group LLC and Credit Suisse Group AG is threatening to escalate. Five Credit Suisse bankers who reneged on agreements to join Jefferies this month may face demands that they pay more than $10 million to their scorned suitor, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Alexa, Stop Making Life Miserable for Anyone With a Similar Name! (WSJ)

Apple Inc. picked “Siri.” Microsoft Corp. chose “Cortana.” ( Alphabet Inc.’s Google opted to keep its software nonhuman, calling it “Assistant.”) Amazon.com Inc.’s choice, as it happens, was the 39th most popular girl’s name in the U.S. in 2006. “I always liked my name, until Amazon gave it to a robot,” says Alexa Sussman, a recent New York University graduate who works in marketing.

UBS Misses Out on the Trump Bump (Gadfly)

Pessimists might now call into question the bank's decision to scale back in fixed income and focus on serving rich clients now that interest rates are rising and President Donald Trump is preparing to slash red tape for Wall Street. UBS shares are down slightly over the past year -- trailing gains of 12 percent at Deutsche Bank AG and 26 percent at Barclays Plc.

Stanford historian uncovers a grim correlation between violence and inequality over the millennia (Stanford)

What price do we pay for civilization? For Walter Scheidel, a professor of history and classics at Stanford, civilization has come at the cost of glaring economic inequality since the Stone Age. The sole exception, in his account, is widespread violence – wars, pandemics, civil unrest; only violent shocks like these have substantially reduced inequality over the millennia. “It is almost universally true that violence has been necessary to ensure the redistribution of wealth at any point in time.”

A Burger King Was Allegedly Selling Weed to Customers Who Asked for 'Extra Crispy Fries' (VICE)

It's not clear how long the pair was running their side hustle before police in the town of Epping—population 6,144—caught on. Last Saturday, an undercover cop pulled up to the restaurant, asked if "Nasty Boy" was working, and then placed his order with a side of extra crispy fries. Norris then reportedly gave the guy his Whopperito or whatever, along with a coffee cup full of pot.

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