Tag Archive | "Finance"

Opening Bell: 05.31.11

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2nd banker in hotel sex bust (NYP)
Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar — the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria — allegedly groped and “gyrated” against the maid in Room 1027 at The Pierre hotel on Fifth Avenue, a law-enforcement source told The Post. He was wearing a bathrobe at the time, but it was not clear what, if anything, he had on under it.

Greek Aid Package To Be Decided By June (Bloomberg)
Inspectors from the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are set to wrap up a review of Greece’s progress in meeting the terms of last year’s 110 billion-euro ($158 billion) bailout in coming days. The EU will then formulate its plan for further aid to Greece, which remains shut out of financial markets a year after the rescue package.
“We are waiting for their final judgment,” Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said yesterday in Paris after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Their position will partly determine our position, so it’s too early. We will try to solve the Greek problem by the end of June.”

Japan recovery takes hold, but debt downgrade looms (Reuters)
Japan’s economy offered more signs of recovery from the deadly March earthquake on Tuesday, but Moody’s ratings agency warned both growth and government action may fall short of what is necessary to bring Tokyo’s ballooning debt back under control.

Goldman Sachs names ex-Sen. Gregg to advisory post (Businessweek)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Friday that it has hired former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg as an international adviser.

Libya’s Goldman Dalliance Ends in Losses, Acrimony (WSJ)
In early 2008, Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show…In an effort to make up for the losses, Goldman offered Libya the chance to become one of its biggest shareholders, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

Lagarde has G8 backing (Reuters)
G8 leaders all back French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s bid to run the IMF, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday, as she attacked a call to investigate her role in a 2008 legal case that may harm her chances.

Wall Street ‘mispriced’ LinkedIn’s IPO (FT)
Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and co-founder of PayPal, said banks did not understand the full potential of the latest internet companies and warned that the next Silicon Valley darlings would negotiate hard when their turn comes to go public. “Whenever a stock price goes up as much as it does with LinkedIn, you assume the IPO was mispriced and the bankers screwed up,” said Mr Thiel, an investor in LinkedIn since its launch. “There continues to be a certain antipathy by Wall Street banks toward Silicon Valley companies where they don’t quite believe it’s real.”

At I.M.F., a Strict Ethics Code Doesn’t Apply to Top Officials (NYT)
At the International Monetary Fund, there is one set of ethics guidelines for the rank-and-file staff and another for the 24 elite executive directors who oversee the powerful organization. Over the last four years, the fund has tightened internal systems for catching ethical misconduct among its 2,400 staff members, establishing a telephone hot line for complaints like harassment; publishing details of complaints in an annual report; and empowering an ethics adviser to pursue allegations, which last year led to at least one dismissal. But the fund’s board members remain largely above these controls. The ethics adviser, for example, is not able to investigate any of them.

Strauss-Kahn assembles crisis team to fight back (Reuters)
Faced with a legal and media onslaught, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is pulling together a crack team of investigators, former spies and media advisers to fight back against charges he sexually assaulted a hotel chambermaid.

‘Bad-tipper’ Strauss-Kahn has food, patio furniture delivered; turns away balloons (NYP)
“They never tip,” said a sweaty Danny Cotto after dropping off a box from Espresso Coffee at around 6 p.m. at the luxe TriBeCa town house…He took in a six-bag grocery order that included healthy fare like boneless, skinless chicken breast, Lean Cuisine meals and Crystal Light.

DSK using man-power to clean up (NYP)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has hired an all-male cleaning staff to do his dirty work at his TriBeCa townhouse, where he’s awaiting trial for allegedly forcing himself on a hotel maid.

Concerns mount over rising buy-out debt levels (FT)
Joseph Schull, European head of US private equity group Warburg Pincus, warned that his industry should not repeat mistakes made during its heyday in 2006 and 2007, when some companies were bought with excessive loan packages…Howard Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, a US private equity group investing in distressed assets, wrote in a note to clients last week: “In most regards the capital markets – and investors’ tolerance of risk – are retracing their steps back in the direction of the bubble-ish pre-crisis years.”

A FrontPoint Founder Tries Again With a New Firm (DealBook)
After Mr. Duff helped to orchestrate the sale of FrontPoint to Morgan Stanley in 2006, he struck out on his own, starting Duff Capital Advisors…With the markets in disarray, clients never materialized and Duff Capital shut down in May 2009…Now, Mr. Duff, a former top executive at Morgan Stanley, is trying again. His new firm, Massif Partners — which like FrontPoint has a name that refers to his passion for mountain climbing — is building off the blueprint of Duff Capital and focusing on pensions.

Russia’s Central Bank Signals Interest-Rate Pause After Surprise Increase (Bloomberg)
Bank Rossii, the central bank, yesterday raised its overnight deposit rate to 3.5 percent from 3.25 percent, surprising 11 of 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey. It left the refinancing and overnight repurchase rates unchanged after a quarter-point increase in April, saying in a statement that borrowing costs may be at the level necessary to tackle inflation and promote growth “for the nearest months.”

For Insurers, Bad—but Not Bad Enough (WSJ)
The deadly outbreak of tornadoes across the U.S. since late April is expected to cost the insurance industry more than $5 billion, according to disaster-modeling firm Eqecat. That puts weather-related losses in the U.S. so far this year in the range of $13 billion to $15 billion, three to four times a typical year. Add in catastrophes like the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, and disaster-related losses for the industry are estimated to be upward of $50 billion this year…”I think things are now bad enough to be good enough,” says Meyer Shields, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. Bad enough, that is, that the industry will be forced to start raising premiums later this year or early next. That would immediately benefit major insurance brokers such as Aon Corp. and Marsh & McLennan Cos. Indeed, their shares are up more than 10% this year, roughly double the broader market.

Analyst: Chipotle expands test of chorizo (NRN)
Chipotle Mexican Grill has expanded a test of a new chorizo sausage that, if rolled out, would be the chain’s first new meat option in years, a securities analyst said Friday.


Hackers Disrupt PBS Web Site and Post a Fake Report About a Rap Artist (NYT)
The PBS Web site briefly carried a fake article claiming that the famed rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand after a group of hackers took over the organization’s computer systems on Saturday night.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Big names back Project Slice’s smarter shopping inbox

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project sliceA new startup called Project Slice wants to make all those receipts in your email inbox genuinely useful. Similar to what Mint does for your personal finances, what TripIt does for your travel plans, and what services like Manilla do for your bills, the Palo Alto, Calif. company aims to make it easier to actually see all of your purchase information in one place, rather than struggling to find it on the right website or email.

Project Slice offers the service through both an embedded application in Yahoo Mail (which should help the company get in front of lots of eyeballs quickly) and through its own Slice Web application, which is currently invite-only beta testing. So the company says users will be able to easily track shipping, bring up a merchant’s customer service and return information, and see all of their purchases — not just the store where they made the purchase, but what they actually bought.

Slice can also aggregate all of your online purchase history with specific businesses, including popular retailers like Amazon.com and daily deals sites, like Groupon. The company says the service is powered by a “sophisticated semantic parsing infrastructure that enables us to extract and organize item level purchase information from multiple merchants and receipt formats.”

Project Slice also announced that it has raised $9.4 million from DCM, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, Floodgate (the fund from Digg and Twitter investor Mike Maples), Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and Rick Thompson.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Big names back Project Slice’s smarter shopping inbox

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project sliceA new startup called Project Slice wants to make all those receipts in your email inbox genuinely useful. Similar to what Mint does for your personal finances, what TripIt does for your travel plans, and what services like Manilla do for your bills, the Palo Alto, Calif. company aims to make it easier to actually see all of your purchase information in one place, rather than struggling to find it on the right website or email.

Project Slice offers the service through both an embedded application in Yahoo Mail (which should help the company get in front of lots of eyeballs quickly) and through its own Slice Web application, which is currently invite-only beta testing. So the company says users will be able to easily track shipping, bring up a merchant’s customer service and return information, and see all of their purchases — not just the store where they made the purchase, but what they actually bought.

Slice can also aggregate all of your online purchase history with specific businesses, including popular retailers like Amazon.com and daily deals sites, like Groupon. The company says the service is powered by a “sophisticated semantic parsing infrastructure that enables us to extract and organize item level purchase information from multiple merchants and receipt formats.”

Project Slice also announced that it has raised $9.4 million from DCM, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, Floodgate (the fund from Digg and Twitter investor Mike Maples), Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and Rick Thompson.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Opening Bell: 05.23.11

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Options Trading in SAC Probe (WSJ, earlier)
Congressional investigators are broadening an early-stage stock-trading probe into SAC Capital Advisors, with plans to examine any suspicious trading by the hedge-fund giant in the options market, another arena where investors wager on the prospects of companies and deals, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is investigating roughly 20 instances over the past decade when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a Wall Street regulator, suspected SAC could have bought and sold stocks based on inside information.

Fitch cuts Greek rating, warns over restructuring (Reuters)
“An extension of the maturity of existing bonds would be considered by Fitch to be a default event and Greece and its obligations would be rated accordingly,” the rating agency said. If private sector ‘burden sharing’ is coercive, the credibility of EU/IMF policy commitments not just for Greece but also Ireland and Portugal would be severely diminished and affect financial stability across the euro area, it said.

Lagarde Is Front-Runner To Head IMF (Bloomberg)
“Lagarde might be front-runner,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in an interview with TVNZ television today. “She’s super impressive I’ve got to say,” he said, while echoing officials outside of Europe in calling for a selection “on merit.”

Singapore to Create Most Bank Jobs in the Next Year, London Recruiter Says (Bloomberg)
Singapore will create more jobs in financial services during the next 12 months than any other city, beating London and New York, said recruiter Astbury Marsden, which advises companies in Europe and Asia.

Biggs Buying as S&P 500 Profit Estimates Climb (Bloomberg)
“Investors are overreacting,” said Biggs, citing concerns about the European debt crisis, housing and reduced stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. “All those worries are true, but I can see a number of them will be resolved in the next two months, and I do not think the global economy will slow down significantly. Stocks are very reasonably priced on earnings for next year.”

Zapatero’s Socialists Routed in Backlash Over Austerity (Bloomberg)
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist party had its worst electoral setback in more than 30 years, prompting a shift in regional governments that risks reviving concern over public finances…The transfer of power in the regions may spark doubts over Spain’s ability to contain its budget deficit, and Spanish bonds declined today.

S&P warning heralds tough times ahead for Italy (Reuters)
Standard & Poor’s surprising decision to revise downward its outlook for Italy could mark the start of increased market scrutiny on the euro zone’s third-largest economy, which faces tough challenges that it is probably unable to meet.

Times Columnist, Wife, Charged In Domestic Argument (Hartford Courant)
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and his wife were charged with disorderly conduct earlier this week following a domestic argument at a Woody Lane house, part of which she recorded on her iPhone, police said…He told police his wife had bitten his left arm and that she had been filming the altercation with her iPhone camera. Arciola said David Pogue followed Jennifer Pogue into a bedroom and allegedly jumped on top of her and hit her in the head with a phone…In addition to his column, Pogue writes a monthly column in Scientific American. He also appears weekly on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley keep barbarians at the gate (eF)
Companies seeking to fight off a hostile takeover approach should consider hiring JP Morgan to defend them, according to new rankings compiled by Financial News.

Emerging market bond fund flows signal shift (FT)
Eight consecutive weeks of net inflows have taken the total invested in these funds this year to $7.9bn, according to EPFR, the fund data provider…Robust inflows into emerging market bonds stand in contrast to nervousness over potentially overheating equity markets in developing countries, and the debt crisis in western Europe’s periphery. Investors have pulled $12.9bn out of European bond funds this year, and more than $7bn was withdrawn from global equity funds last week, of which $1.6bn came from emerging market equity funds, according to EPFR.

Buyers Battle for Europe’s Bad Loans (WSJ)
As banks across Europe clean up their balance sheets, it is causing a feeding frenzy among hedge funds and private-equity firms hungry for their troubled assets…Among the buyers is Marathon Asset Management LP… Other buyers include Fortress Investment Group LLC, OakTree Capital Management, York Capital Management, and Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to industry officials.

Utah making gold and silver coins legal currency, pushing debate about national gold standard (AP via WaPo)
Utah became the first state in the country this month to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The law also will exempt the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes.

NY senators bat with banks on rule change (NYP)
The Senate agricultural committee is set to host hearings as early as mid-June to discuss new derivatives rules, which have become a hot-button issue on Wall Street, The Post has learned. US legislators, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have been fighting on behalf of firms like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, arguing that new rules on complex derivatives securities being hammered out under the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms put domestic banks at a “competitive disadvantage.”

Inside a Battle Over Forex (WSJ)
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has been fighting accusations that it took advantage of clients while trading currencies…BNY Mellon priced 58% of the currency trades within the 10% of each day’s trading range that was least favorable to the fund, the analysis shows. As a result, the trades cost the pension fund, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, $4.5 million more than if the average trade occurred at the middle of the trading range for each day, the analysis showed.

Yuan Funds May Be More Illusion Than Oasis (WSJ)
But already, firms that manage dollar funds and are setting up yuan funds, too, are grappling with a conundrum: How do you convince your foreign investors—referred to as limited partners, or “LPs,” in the private-equity world—that you are keeping their best interests at heart while you scour China for deals to invest in with renminbi? Foreign LPs already had reason to worry that things weren’t going in their favor. When it involves foreigners, approval for an investment in China can take 18 months or longer. Also, more and more companies in China are reluctant to take foreign money because doing so complicates their ability to go public in Shanghai or Shenzhen, thanks to arcane Chinese listing regulations.

CDB seeks to join TPG stake purchase (FT)
China Development Bank, one of the country’s largest state-owned banks, has applied to regulators for permission to join a group of sovereign wealth funds buying a minority stake in buy-out firm TPG, according to people familiar with the matter. CDB’s request is the latest indication of the private equity fever sweeping China as local dealmakers leave the major buy-out firms and banks to set up their own investment firms.

KKR to Buy Ipreo, a Capital-Markets Data Firm (WSJ)
KKR is acquiring Ipreo from another buyout firm, Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC. Ipreo, based in New York, provides a range of financial data, deal-related information and investor-communication tools to investment banks and companies. It also has software that assists banks and companies in marketing new stock to potential buyers. One of its databases, called Bigdough, contains contact information for thousands of institutional investors that Ipreo clients can use to pitch hedge funds and other types of investors.

Cassette tapes make a comeback (WaPo)
Four years ago, cassette tapes were headed toward their funeral. In 2007, British tabloid The Sun declared the death of the cassette, after the announcement that a major electronics retailer in the United Kingdom would cease selling cassette tapes…Then, last year, cassettes began to rise from the dead. In the fall, NPR reported that cassettes were having a “kind of” revival, with at least 25 labels in the United States putting out new music exclusively on tape. In a lengthy essay in Pitchfork, contributor Marc Hogan detailed examples of the “broader underground resurgence” of cassettes.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.19.11

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I.M.F. Chief Quits in Wake of Charges of Sexual Attack (NYT)
“It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of managing director of the I.M.F.,” he said in a statement dated Wednesday and released early Thursday by the I.M.F. “I think at this time first of my wife — whom I love more than anything — of my children, of my family, of my friends.”

Most French People ‘Think DSK Was Set Up’ (Sky News)
The survey, taken before the 62-year-old’s first court appearance on Monday, showed that 57% of respondents believe the Socialist presidential hopeful has been set up.

Lagarde May Stake Claim as First Female IMF Chief (Bloomberg)
A lawyer who became the first female chairman of Chicago- based firm Baker & McKenzie LLP, Lagarde was appointed as finance minister by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, just before the onset of the financial crisis. Lagarde’s negotiating abilities helped clinch agreement on the euro area’s sovereign bailout fund announced in the early hours of May 10 last year, according to a person who was there…A fluent speaker of English, Lagarde attended a year of high school as an exchange student at Holton Arms, a private girls’ school in Bethesda, Maryland. An avid swimmer, young Christine was selected for the French national synchronized swim team when she was 15 and competed internationally for two years.

J.P. Morgan, Fund Investors Rebut Meredith Whitney (MarketBeat)
J.P. Morgan Asset Management chucked a note over the transom in response to Meredith Whitney’s latest hate letter to the muni market.Their take is that Ms. Whitney makes some points they sort of agree with, but that she seriously overstates the default risk.

Levin sees ‘real hope’ of fresh Goldman probe (FT)
The senator said Goldman’s payment of $550m to settle fraud allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the marketing of one structured debt product did not preclude other allegations. He said Goldman executives misled his committee but suggested they might have stopped short of lies with “wiggle words”. “They obviously spent a lot of time parsing words,” he said, adding he was “not going to judge whether they committed perjury”. He said even large settlements were not satisfactory without admissions of guilt.

Goldman Sachs Back at No. 1 (Deal Journal)
According to figures from Dealogic, Goldman popped to the No. 1 spot for the first time this year in the league tables, the closely watched listing of M&A advisers ranked by the value of deals on which they advise. J.P. Morgan had held the crown for global deal advisers since Jan. 18.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two sons born days apart (CNN)
A son fathered by Arnold Schwarzenegger with his housekeeper was born less than a week after Maria Shriver gave birth to another Schwarzenegger son, according to birth records obtained Wednesday by CNN.

SEC probes electronic platform failures (FT)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating computer system failures at electronic marketplaces including Nasdaq to determine whether internal controls are sufficient, according to people familiar with the matter. The investigation is being handled by the enforcement division’s market abuse unit and is part of a broader regulatory review of stock exchanges following last year’s “flash crash”, recent hacking attempts and trading glitches

Perella Weinberg to Fork Over $11.5 Million in Dreier Fraud (Deal Journal)
Under the deal, [Chapter 11 trustee Sheila M.] Gowan will drop a lawsuit in which she sought the return of $24.1 million in payments she says Perella Weinberg and an affiliated fund received on the approximately $60 million they spent on the promissory notes that Dreier was hawking to investors such as themselves.

Smith Barney Deal Still On (WSJ)
In its first-quarter report, Morgan Stanley posted a $655 million pretax loss related to the Mitsubishi joint venture. After reports surfaced about the loss, Mitsubishi agreed to convert $7.8 billion in preferred stock for 385 million shares of the company. That conversion boosted Morgan Stanley’s Tier 1 ratio and presumably will give it added capital for the planned buyout of Citigroup’s stake in the Smith Barney venture. Morgan Stanley can begin buying that stake next year under its agreement with Citi. Mr. Gorman said reports of Morgan Stanley asking Citi to alter the terms of that deal weren’t true.

Nominations Submitted for the SEC (WSJ)
The White House on Wednesday submitted to the Senate a pair of nominees for the Securities and Exchange Commission, requesting a second term for Democrat Luis Aguilar and naming former SEC staffer Dan Gallagher Jr. for a Republican seat that is due to become vacant in June…The SEC is an independent federal agency with five commissioners.

LinkedIn prices IPO at $45 a share (MarketWatch)
LinkedIn had raised its IPO pricing range earlier this week to between $42 and $45 a share, from $32 to $35 a share — thanks to strong demand. The public offering is expected to raise roughly $217 million for the company.

Yen falls as Japan enters recession (FT)
Gross domestic product fell by an annualised 3.7 per cent in the first three months, after a revised fall of 3 per cent in last quarter of 2010. Analysts had expected the economy to contract by just 1.9 per cent. A further contraction is expected in the second quarter before the economy rebounds as reconstruction spending kicks in, although the Japanese economy has suffered more than a decade of low growth and weak consumer spending.

Obama imposes sanctions on Syrian leader, 6 aides (WaPo)
The Obama administration ramped up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday with economic sanctions that targeted his personal finances and linked him explicitly to human rights abuses in his government’s brutal, two-month-old crackdown on demonstrators. The sanctions, which named six other top Syrian officials, represented a significant escalation in the administration’s public criticism of the Assad regime, marking the first time the ruler was penalized for the ongoing clashes that have left more than 900 people dead and thousands in prison.

Zombie Apocalypse? The CDC Describes How To Be Prepared (HuffPo)
The U.S. government wants to make sure that in the event of a zombie invasion, you know what to do. That’s right. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shocked us all with their post on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. The CDC post, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” came out Monday and has been gaining media traction since — the link has been down for much of the day, presumingly due to over-traffic.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Eventbrite aims big with $50M of new funding

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concert-ticketsTicketing startup Eventbrite announced today that it has raised $50 million to finance its growing ambitions in the ticketing market.

The San Francisco company started out aiming for a different audience than existing ticketing giant Ticketmaster, offering an easy way for small event organizers to sell tickets. My most common usage of Eventbrite has been for tech conferences and meetups. But the company has turned its focus to larger events, and last summer it sold 60,000 tickets for a Black Eyed Peas concert — its largest event ever, according to The New York Times.

Eventbrite says that with the new funding, it will continue to aim for bigger events, build more analytics and social media tools, and invest in its mobile products. In addition to established companies like Ticketmaster, Eventbrite is competing with newer startups like Ticketfly.

More than 10 million people have attended events ticketed by Eventbrite, and it’s on-track to process nearly $500 million in ticket sales this year, the company says. The new round was led by Tiger Global Management and brings Eventbrite’s total funding to $79.5 million. Past investors include Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, and Tenaya Capital.

[image via Flickr/Rhys's Piece Is]

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Confident or arrogant? LinkedIn ups valuation to $4B

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linkedin-reid-hoffmanLinkedIn, a social network that connects professionals to help form new business contacts, increased the share pricing for its initial public offering tomorrow to between $42 and $45 — giving the company a valuation of around $4 billion — according to an updated filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It was just 8 days ago that LinkedIn claimed a valuation of $3 billion in an amended S-1 filing with the SEC. The quick about-face to increase the company’s valuation could end up creating additional chatter about whether several Web 2.0 companies are overvalued. LinkedIn’s valuation is the first official record of the hyper-valuations many Web 2.0 companies like Twitter and Facebook have seen in recent years.

The company is looking to raise up to $217 million in its initial public offering by selling 4.8 million shares of common stock. Employees and other shareholders plan to sell around 3 million shares of LinkedIn stock as well — meaning nearly 8 million shares will be up for grabs for public investors. The latest high-profile tech stock to make its trading debut in the U.S. — Chinese social networking company RenRen — turned out to be a flop and has fallen below its IPO price of $14 to $12.73 after the company started trading earlier this month.

A number of highly successful Web 2.0 companies like Facebook and Zynga — and LinkedIn — have seen ballooning valuations as investors have rushed to snatch up as many shares as possible ahead of what could be some of the most high-profile tech IPOs to date. Facebook, for example, was valued at $50 billion after its most recent round of funding — though it is trading at a higher price than that on secondary markets.

LinkedIn’s shares will make their trading debut Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker “LNKD.” It’s one of several high-profile tech initial public offerings that landed on the NYSE over the tech-heavy NASDAQ stock market, ending the exchange’s decade-long dominance over the tech IPO market. The NYSE has dueled with the NASDAQ stock market to attract high-profile tech IPOs, but it’s traditionally been a losing battle as the NASDAQ stock market regularly plays host to the largest tech companies in the world like Google and Apple.

LinkedIn, founded by Reid Hoffman (pictured above), is a business network that’s designed to help professionals connect with other potential business contacts and get a “warm introduction” through people in their network.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Opening Bell: 05.17.11

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IMF chief claims consent in hotel ‘attack’ (NY Post)
“The evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter,” said Ben Brafman, the high-powered lawyer of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the suspect’s sensational arraignment in a packed criminal courtroom. A source close to the defense later told The Post, “There may well have been consent.”

New York Investigates Banks’ Role in Fiscal Crisis (NYT)
The New York attorney general has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses. Officials in Eric T. Schneiderman’s, office have also requested meetings with representatives from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.

How Big Investors Are Betting (WSJ)
Mr. Cohen, whose SAC Capital reported a 9.3% increase in securities holdings in the quarter ended March 31, increased a stake in consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. to 2.3 million shares from 53,306 at the end of the previous quarter. SAC also more than doubled its stake in BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. to 2.8 million shares from 1.1 million.

John Paulson Loves Hewlett-Packard (Deal Journal)
The $5 Billion Man, hedge fund manager John Paulson, reported plowing $1 billion into Hewlett-Packard, pared his stake in Citigroup and is standing pat with his big investment in a gold ETF…Paulson & Co. also disclosed owning 123.6 million shares of Bank of America, down by 226,522 from the end of 2010. And one interesting new holding showing up on Paulson’s radar: Lubrizol.

Soros Fund Cuts Gold, BofA, J.P. Morgan Stakes; Adds to Citi, Wells (Deal Journal)
Soros decreased his holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, a gold-backed exchanged-traded fund, by 4.7 million shares to 49,400 shares, valued at $6.9 million at March 31…The fund lowered its Bank of America holding by 1.2 million shares and now owns 29,400 shares. Soros sold 378,050 shares of J.P. Morgan, leaving him with 624,600 shares. In contrast, his firm tripled its stake in Citigroup to 29.4 million shares. Soros’ stake in Wells Fargo climbed six-fold to 3.5 million shares.

Bill Ackman Throws in the Towel on Target (Deal Journal)
Pershing Square reported owning 7.4 million Target shares as of Dec. 31, but there is no whisper of the Target investment in Pershing’s latest snapshot of its stock holdings as of March 31.

David Einhorn Buys…General Motors (DJ)
David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital investment fund reported new ownership stakes in two newly public companies, hospital operator HCA Holdings and General Motors, a.k.a. Government Motors.

Falcone’s Harbinger Holdings Adds Bunge Shares, Trims Gold Stake (Bloomberg)
Harbinger Holdings LLC, the hedge fund run by Philip Falcone, bought shares of food company Bunge Ltd. (BG) in the first quarter and sold shares of SPDR Gold Trust, according to a regulatory filing.

Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff (LA Times)
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago — before his first run for office — with a longtime member of their household staff.

Jump in Revenue Helps Halve California Deficit (NYT)
After months of doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic warnings about cuts to California schools, parks and the police, the news from Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday was nothing short of startling: California is now expected to see $6.6 billion more in revenue over the next two years than had been expected.

U.K. Inflation Quickens More Than Forecast (Bloomberg)l
Consumer prices rose 4.5 percent in April after a 4 percent increase in March, data today showed. The median forecast of 32 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was 4.1 percent. Core inflation quickened to the fastest in at least 14 years. King said in a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that the surge is being driven by higher sales tax and increases in energy and import prices.

London Finance Job Openings Climbed 15% in April (Bloomberg)
The number of openings in the City, London’s main financial district, and elsewhere in the capital rose to 6,426 last month from 5,569 in April 2010, executive search firm Morgan McKinley said today. The figure was flat compared with the previous month.

President, first lady’s assets valued at $1.8 million to nearly $12 million (WaPo)
Financial disclosure documents released Monday showed the assets for last year…Assets are listed in wide ranges on the disclosure forms — for example, between $1 million and $5 million — making it difficult to determine their value with precision. Royalties from Obama’s books, “Dreams From My Father” and “Audacity of Hope,” totaled between about $1 million and $6 million.

Man To Eat 25,000th Big Mac (HP)
Wisconsin-based Don Gorske plans to eat his 25,000th Big Mac on May 17, 2011, 39 years after his first Big Mac bite on May 17, 1972. He averages two Big Macs per day and has 10,000 Big Mac cartons still in his possession. He keeps two Big Macs in his luggage in case he cannot find a McDonald’s when he travels. Gorske believes he has drank over 200,000 Cokes along with his burgers.



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Nouriel Roubini Is Not Yet Convinced This Dominique Strauss-Kahn Business Wasn’t A Set-Up

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He took to Twitter last night to say as much.


[via TSF]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.16.11

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Strauss-Kahn Awaits Arraignment in Sex Assault Case (Bloomberg)
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn awaits his first court appearance on attempted rape charges after giving police permission to examine him for physical evidence of scratches and DNA from his accuser. The alleged attack on a 32-year-old female maid at a Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan occurred May 14, according to the New York Police Department. Strauss-Kahn, who was taken into custody aboard an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport as it prepared to depart, also was charged with unlawful imprisonment and a criminal sex act. He remains in custody until an 11 a.m. hearing in Manhattan criminal court. Strauss- Kahn, 62, has denied the charges and will plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said. The IMF chief was picked out of a lineup yesterday by the maid, police said. His arraignment, during which bail terms may be set, had been scheduled for yesterday and was delayed after investigators sought a warrant a physical examination of Strauss-Kahn.

I.M.F. Names New Leader (NYT)
Hours after its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the International Monetary Fund on Sunday named John Lipsky as acting managing director. Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan.

Why Lagarde Will Be The Next IMF Managing Director
Felix Salmon: “Christine Lagarde will become the first female managing director of the IMF. She has the political skills and the economic credentials to get the job, and Europe will feel much more comfortable with a European in the role over the next few turbulent years. The US won’t object, and the Asians will go along with the choice since they don’t really have a candidate of their own.”

New Details in IMF Sex Case (WSJ)
According to the narrative [the accuser] gave investigators, Mr. Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom nude and approached her from behind and touched her breast, then threw her on to the bed, the official said. She told police she broke free but was then pushed into a rear hallway of the suite near the bathroom. Mr. Strauss-Kahn allegedly caught up with her and sexually assaulted her, the official said, before allowing her to leave.

IMF head finally agrees to medical exam; set for arraignment today (NYP)
In an ironic twist, Strauss-Kahn may have inadvertently helped cops capture him before he fled the country. After the alleged assault Saturday, Strauss-Kahn was so desperate to flee that he left his cellphone in the hotel room, officials said. He also gave away his location, calling the hotel to tell management that he had left behind his phone and that he was at JFK Airport. So when the incident was reported and cops went looking for Strauss-Kahn, the hotel was able to direct authorities to the airport, where he was pulled off a plane just before it departed for Paris at 4:40 p.m.

Police Seek Evidence From I.M.F. Chief on Sex Attack (NYT)
The authorities said they had moved to obtain a court order granting them a search warrant to examine Mr. Strauss-Kahn for signs of injury that he might have suffered during a struggle or for traces of his accuser’s DNA. “Things like getting things from under the fingernails,” a law enforcement official explained, “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”

Strauss-Kahn Arrest Bolsters Push for IMF Changes (Bloomberg)
“This event is likely to put into play the leadership and governance structure of the IMF in a dramatic and unanticipated manner,” said Prasad, a former IMF official.

Soul-Searching in France After Official’s Arrest Jolts Nation (NYT)
Some, including Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wife, the American-born French television journalist Anne Sinclair, expressed disbelief in the charges and faith in her husband’s innocence. His lawyer has said he would plead not guilty. Others talked darkly of a possible “setup” of Mr. Sarkozy’s most prominent rival.

How’s Strauss-Kahn Doing? (Telegraph)
“He’s tired but he’s fine,” DSK’s lawyer said.

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults? (WSJ)
“I think technical default would be horrible,” [Stanley Druckenmiller] says from the 24th floor of his midtown Manhattan office, “but I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world. It’s not going to be catastrophic. What’s going to be catastrophic is if we don’t solve the real problem,” meaning Washington’s spending addiction.

Nasdaq, ICE Pull NYSE Bid, Cite Regulators (Reuters)
“We took the decision to withdraw our offer when it became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval for our proposal despite offering a variety of substantial remedies, including the sale of the NYSE SRO and related businesses,” Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement.

Former S.E.C. Official Said to Be Subject of Criminal Inquiry (NYT)
A former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement official who has been accused of repeatedly blocking efforts to investigate R. Allen Stanford, the Houston financier charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, is the subject of a federal criminal inquiry for having done legal work for Mr. Stanford after leaving the S.E.C., government officials said Friday.

Banks Woo Funds With Private Peeks (WSJ)
Investment banks vie for business from elite hedge funds by offering traders at those funds special access to senior deal makers and corporate executives at dinners and other gatherings. The traders sometimes pick up valuable nuggets of information that aren’t available to other investors, according to people who have attended such gatherings…The funds are prized clients because they collectively pay billions of dollars in fees each year for buying and selling stocks.

US dollar under more pressure as Zimbabwe speaks on its end as global currency (Examiner)
Just two years ago, the nation of Zimbabwe created a hyperinflationary economy that led to the creation of a $100 Trillion note for its citizens to be able to purchase food.  On May 15th however, this African nation is now speaking out on the US dollar, and advocating that its days are numbered as the global reserve currency.

Investors Show Interest in AIG Stock Sale (WSJ)
Underwriters for the $9 billion stock sale by American International Group Inc. and the U.S. Treasury have indications of interest from investors for about half the offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angry Birds CEO Plots Media Empire (CNBC)
“When we realized we had a big hit on our hands with Angry Birds, we looked at companies that had gone before us, especially in the mobile gaming sector where we were at that time very firmly,” Hed told CNBC.com. “We saw that most gaming companies had then immediately tried to make another hit game and we realized that had very rarely worked. Rather, we started to look at what we could do around Angry Birds and if there was a way that we could build this into an entertainment franchise,” he added.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker