Warren Buffett hikes Bank of America stake by more than $800 million [CNBC]
A Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, bought 33.9 million shares of the banking giant between Monday and Wednesday. That increased Berkshire’s stake in Bank of America by $813.3 million to more than $24 billion.
Bank of America shares rose nearly 1%, bucking the broader market’s negative trend Thursday and outperforming other major banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
SEC Votes to Regulate Proxy Advisers More Closely [WSJ]
Under Wednesday’s rule, proxy advisers must show their voting recommendations to public companies at the same time or before sending them to clients. They will also have to inform their clients of public companies’ responses to their advice…. “These rules are not wanted by those they purport to benefit,” Ms. Lee said in a statement, adding that they will “add significant complexity and cost into a system that just isn’t broken.”
CFTC Scales Back Oversight of Cross-Border Swaps Trading [WSJ]
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s plan will effectively cede oversight of that activity to overseas regulators whose rules are deemed sufficient…. “It’s unnecessary for the CFTC to essentially be the world’s policeman for all swaps,” [Chairman Heath] Tarbert, a Republican, said during Thursday’s meeting…. The CFTC also won’t regulate trades handled or negotiated by bank employees in New York or other U.S. cities as long as the trade is booked into an overseas entity and not done with a U.S. counterparty.
Inside a mass exodus at Deutsche Bank's vaunted credit-trading desk, where even rock stars are feeling a pay squeeze [BI]
The exits have cleaved 25% of the headcount in the firm's vaunted US-based distressed-credit group, and have hit high-yield, investment-grade, and loan trading as well.
This all has left the firm short-handed during one of the most active and volatile credit-trading markets in the past decade – one in which competitors are producing record-breaking fixed-income trading results.
Bankrupt Brooks Brothers Gets Rescue Takeover Bid [Bloomberg]
Sparc Group LLC, which is backed by Barneys New York owner Authentic and mall landlord Simon, agreed to a $305 million bid in a court-supervised auction for Brooks Brothers’ global business operations… WHP Global is preparing a bid for the retailer’s assets, the firm confirmed in a statement to Bloomberg…. Bloomberg reported earlier that Authentic and Simon were positioning themselves to own the 200-year-old chain.
Activist fund TCI lodges complaint against Italy with European Commission over Atlantia [Reuters]
Activist hedge fund TCI Fund Management said it has submitted a complaint to the European Commission over “illegitimate expropriation” by the Italian government of Atlantia’s motorways unit Autostrade per l’Italia…. “If the government want to punish the Benetton family with a low price, it is punishing international investors, and this is illegal,” Jonathan Amouyal, a partner at TCI Advisory Services, told Reuters.
“What we want is a fair process and a fair price. What we don’t want is that Italy not respect the rule of law,” he said….
Bankruptcy Judge Buries Probe of Neiman Backers [WSJ]
The creditors committee on Wednesday filed papers seeking to unseal the findings, but Judge David Jones opted to “preserve the status quo” and keep the reports out of public view at a hearing on Thursday.
One determined bondholder, Marble Ridge Capital LP, has been challenging the spinoff of MyTheresa, which placed the valuable division in a holding company in the hands of Neiman’s owners, since well before the company filed for chapter 11 protection. Since the bankruptcy filing, Investigators have been looking into the circumstances of the spinoff for any signs that Ares and CPPIB acted improperly.
Jim Chanos: ‘We are in the golden age of fraud’ [FT]
Chanos describes the current environment as “a really fertile field for people to play fast and loose with the truth, and for corporate wrongdoers to get away with it for a long time”. He reels off why: a 10-year bull market driven by central bank intervention; a level of retail participation in the markets reminiscent of the end of the dotcom boom; Trumpian “post-truth in politics, where my facts are your fake news”; and Silicon Valley’s “fake it until you make it” culture, which is compounded by Fomo — the fear of missing out. All of this is exacerbated by lax oversight…. All in all, it’s “a heady witch’s brew for trouble”….
Regulators, he says, could be much firmer in clamping down on metrics “that just are increasingly unmooring themselves from reality”.
Steve Wozniak Sues YouTube Over Twitter-Like Bitcoin Scam [Bloomberg]
Scammers used images and video of Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985, to convince YouTube users that he was hosting a live giveaway and anyone who sent him bitcoins will get double the number back, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court in San Mateo County, California...
YouTube has been “unresponsive” to Wozniak’s repeated requests to take down the fraudulent videos, he said.
By contrast, Twitter reacted “that same day” after the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and high-profile users were hacked last week as part of a similar phony bitcoin giveaway, he said.
Ex-Trump aide Scaramucci says president’s ‘well wishes’ to Ghislaine Maxwell are coded message: ‘Please don’t talk’ [The Independent]
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Scaramucci wrote: “She has the goods on him. He is signaling ‘please don’t talk….’”
“I just wish her well,” [President Trump] said. “I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is….”
Mr Scaramucci has several times tweeted in support of Epstein-related conspiracy theories, and specifically the idea that the billionaire paedophile was murdered in prison.
Epstein Mansions in New York and Palm Beach for Sale for $110 Million [NYT]
The homes include Mr. Epstein’s townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a seven-story, 28,000-square-foot residence near Central Park that is one of the largest single-family homes in New York. On the market for $88 million, it would be the largest recorded townhouse sale in the city’s history…. The Palm Beach property is listed for sale for nearly $22 million….
Former employees of Mr. Epstein said that hundreds of people visited his Palm Beach home over the years to provide him massages. Federal prosecutors said that Mr. Epstein shuttled dozens of girls between his Upper East Side mansion and the compound in Palm Beach.