SFO launches inquiry into Gupta firms, including Greensill finance links [Guardian]
“The SFO is investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the financing and conduct of the business of companies within the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG), including its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital UK Ltd. As this is a live investigation, the SFO can provide no further comment.”

Grab’s SPAC Vehicle Altimeter Near Record Low After 28% Dive [Bloomberg]
“SPACs have seen a bit of selloff so it reflects the general sentiment,” said Angus Mackintosh, founder of CrossASEAN Research. The share price at current levels won’t make a big difference from Grab’s listing perspective, he added. “It just means profits your SPAC owners would realize are diluted to some extent. They have effectively locked in cornerstone investors at a $40 billion valuation. Whether Grab can sustain that lofty valuation after listing, given the competitive landscape, is a bigger question.”

Hedge funds look to tap into surge in corporate dealmaking [FT]
Merger arbitrage funds gained 7.7 per cent in the first four months of 2021, according to research firm HFR, having finished last year up 5.2 per cent…. “We feel we’re at the beginning of a really fertile period for merger [arbitrage],” said Donald Pepper, co-head of Trium and a former Goldman Sachs banker. “Animal spirits are coming back to corporate boardrooms, deal sizes are increasing and there’s not as much money chasing merger arbitrage.”

Audit Watchdog Proposes Framework to Help Implement New Trading Ban [WSJ]
The framework, which was presented on Thursday, would make it easier for the PCAOB to determine which audit firms outside the U.S. it cannot inspect. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees the PCAOB, could then require additional disclosures from the companies audited by those firms and take other actions, for example issue a trading ban…. The SEC wants to use the PCAOB’s data alongside other information to compile a list of businesses that are required to provide additional disclosure, for example, to demonstrate that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government entity.

Need a Credit Card or Auto Loan? Banks Are Making Them Easier to Get [WSJ]
The net share of banks that loosened underwriting standards for credit cards hit a high in roughly the first quarter, according to a survey of loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve. The net share of banks relaxing underwriting on other consumer loans such as installment loans also notched a record…. Loan demand is down. Many people are even paying off their credit-card balances. And while that signals that Americans are faring well even in the pandemic, it is problemat

Boston Globe Again Defeats Hedge Fund Founder’s Defamation Suit [Bloomberg Law]
A story about sexual harassment claims against [Sam] Isaly by employees at OrbiMed Advisors LLC was published on the online news site STAT in 2017. Isaly is quadriplegic and he said that the story failed to adequately investigate whether his physical condition prevented him from engaging in the actions he was accused of doing.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Isaly’s suit.

Related

By AntanaCoins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 10.13.20

Fodder for China virus conspiracy theories; not-so-Perfect Home for sale; SPACs SPACs SPACs SPACs; and more!

covid vaccine

Opening Bell: 3.12.21

Joe Biden does his best Bill Pullman; Grab-ing the biggest SPAC deal; Larry Culp’s “sacrifice;” CDS ETF; and more!

jeremygiambi

Opening Bell: 7.28.20

Not Och-Ziff finally puts Och-Ziff behind it; Boaz Weinstein’s having the best summer ever; Billy Beane’s new SPAC will always be competitive but never win the big one; and more!

DJ D-SOL

Opening Bell: 3.22.21

D-Sol’s sweatshop; two mergers (only one involving a SPAC, amazingly); capital requirements and tax fraud; and more!

Opening Bell: 07.16.12

Citigroup Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates On Investment Bank (Bloomberg) Citi reported a 12 percent drop in second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on revenue from advising on mergers and underwriting stocks and bonds. Net income declined to $2.95 billion, or 95 cents a share, from $3.34 billion, or $1.09, a year earlier, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Excluding accounting adjustments and a loss from the sale of a stake in a Turkish bank, earnings were $1 a share, compared with the average estimate of 89 cents in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts. HSBC Seeks To Evict Occupiers In Hong Kong (WSJ) HSBC said Monday it is seeking the right to evict an encampment of protesters that has been occupying the ground floor of the bank's Hong Kong headquarters since October, drawing inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York last year. Libor Flaws Allowed Banks To Rig Rates Without Conspiracy (Bloomberg) FYI: “It is far easier to manipulate Libor than it may appear,” Andrew Verstein, a lecturer at Yale Law School, said in a paper to be published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Yale Journal on Regulation. “No conspiracy is required.” States Join Libor Probe (WSJ) Prosecutors in New York and Connecticut are investigating whether their states incurred losses as a result of interest-rate manipulation by banks, a probe that could lead to a wider multistate enforcement action, according to New York officials. The joint probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen could lead to civil enforcement action, including possible breaches of antitrust and fraud laws, the officials said. Libor Probe May Yield Criminal Charges By September (Bloomberg) Barclays traders involved in allegedly manipulating Libor rates between 2005 and 2007 may be charged by U.S. prosecutors before the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 3, said a person familiar with the Justice Department investigation in Washington. Zuckerberg’s Loan Gives New Meaning To The 1% (Bloomberg) The Facebook founder refinanced a $5.95 million mortgage on his Palo Alto, California, home with a 30-year adjustable-rate loan starting at 1.05 percent, according to public records for the property. Missteps Doomed Barclays Leaders (WSJ) Mr. Diamond's downfall may have been hastened because the U.S.-born investment banker, who became chief executive at the start of 2011, had never won acceptance by Britain's political and financial establishment. When the rate-fixing scandal erupted, Mr. Diamond had few allies. It wasn't for lack of trying. Mr. Diamond enthusiastically embraced British culture and tried to overcome his reputation as a brash American. Mr. Diamond, a native of Concord, Mass., supported the Chelsea Football Club, handing out trophies himself when the team won England's premier soccer league in 2010. A month before the Libor settlement, Mr. Diamond hosted British aristocrats and Barclays' clients at the annual Chelsea Flower Show, providing Champagne and canapés as his guests inspected elaborate gardens and floral arrangements...But Mr. Diamond, age 60, was criticized for his lofty pay packages, as well as perceived risks in the investment-banking business he built. He sometimes appeared tone deaf in a country still angry about the role of banks in the financial crisis. "There was a period of remorse and apology," he told Parliament last year. "That period needs to be over." Activists Go After Big Game (WSJ) William Ackman's $2 billion bet that he can boost the value of consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. reflects a new era of activist investing, in which no company is too big a target and restless institutional investors are more willing to rock the boat. Mr. Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP owns a little more than 1% of P&G's shares. A few years ago, that would have been considered too small a stake in too big a company to exert much influence on management, the board or other investors. Tax Cuts Perpetuate Inequality, Should End: Summers (CNBC) The United States should not extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans even as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ looms because it will perpetuate income inequality, says Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary. Instead, these revenues should go towards strengthening public education and ensuring that low-income students are presented with equal opportunities as their wealthy counterparts so that they can participate in the economy. Tax breaks for the wealthy cannot continue to exist because it leads to a “perpetuation of privilege”, Summers said in the editorial in the Financial Times on Sunday. Unless steps were taken to “responsibly” increase the burden on those with high income and redistribute the proceeds, the trend toward inequality will continue, he said. Devils On The (B)rink (NYP) New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is talking to private-equity firms and hedge funds about buying into his financially strapped team, according to sources close to the situation Vanderbeek is looking to sell a majority stake, but keep operating control, sources said. The talks, coming three weeks after the 55-year old former Wall Street executive seemed close to inking a deal with an investor to save the team, are leading some in the financial world to believe the deal has fallen apart. If that’s so, it would be a terrible break for Vanderbeek, who is facing an Aug. 14 deadline to get the Devils’ financing in order...Creditors are owed $80 million. Downgrade Anniversary Shows Investors Gained Buying U.S. (Bloomberg) When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating in August, predictions of serious fallout soon followed. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney described it as a “meltdown” reminiscent of the economic crises of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. He warned of higher long-term interest rates and damage to foreign investors’ confidence in the U.S. U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the government’s loss of its AAA rating would raise the cost of mortgages and car loans. Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said over time the standing of the dollar and U.S. financial markets would erode and credit costs rise “for virtually all American borrowers.” They were wrong. Almost a year later, mortgage rates have dropped to record lows, the government’s borrowing costs have eased, the dollar and the benchmark S&P stock index are up, and global investors’ enthusiasm for Treasury debt has strengthened. Woman tells police man sucked her toe at Grovetown Walmart (AC) The 18-year-old said she was shopping when a man, who looked to be in his late 30s or early 40s, walked up and asked if her toenails were painted, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. After replying yes and questioning why he wanted to know, the woman was asked if she’d watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. The man told her he was with the TV show and if she complied with his requests, everything she purchased that day would be free. She said she reluctantly agreed to let him take a photo of her foot. He asked if he could kiss her foot as part of the prank and she agreed. The man guided her to an area behind a clothing rack, dropped to the floor, grabbed her ankle and told her, “Don’t worry. I don’t bite.” He then started sucking on her big toe. The woman said she screamed at him to stop. Before the man ran from the store, he told her, “It tasted so good, though.”

arod

Opening Bell: 2.5.21

Relief filibuster catches COVID; Giuliani’s guys catch SEC attention; Clover Health, too; A-Rod’s grand SPAC; and more!

kimjongun

Opening Bell: 2.18.21

Barclays basks; Kim Jong-un coins; SPAC rap; and more!

vertical aerospace

Opening Bell: 6.11.21

Sky cab SPAC; foreigners boost T-bills; bitcoin evangelists spread something else; and more!