Tag Archive | "international"

Dominique Strauss-Kahn On Suicide Watch

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Apparently it was a precautionary measure due to his “mood.”

The International Monetary Fund chief accused of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid is on suicide watch in his Rikers Island cell, NBC New York has learned. The special designation for Dominique Strauss-Kahn means he is checked every 15 to 30 minutes and has been given a special prison jumpsuit and shoes that have no laces, a says.

The source says a Rikers medical official ordered the suicide watch as a precaution because of his mood and the delicate nature of the case; Strauss-Kahn has not made statements about hurting himself, the source said. “While inmate health records are confidential under the law… the Department of Correction follows the same protocol for safety and security of all inmates and that protocol dictates that every inmate is assessed for risk of harm to himself and risk of harm to others,” a correction department spokesman said.

[NBC]



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IMF: Not Gonna Have Strauss-Kahn’s Back On This One

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The International Monetary Fund will not be providing it’s head, accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, with diplomatic immunity, noting “The (managing director’s) immunities are limited and are not applicable to this case.” [CNBC]



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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.



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Breaking: Investors Stick With Firms That Make Them Money

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Fifty-four percent of respondents to the global poll of traders, investors and analysts conducted May 9-10 have an unfavorable opinion of the New York-based bank, more than double the negative rating for JPMorgan. Yet a month after a U.S. Senate report said Goldman Sachs misled clients, 78 percent of those surveyed said the accusations will either have no effect on the firm or will harm its reputation without driving away customers. “Investors will continue to put their money with capable institutions, regardless of their history or morality,” said poll participant Christian Contino, 27, who works as a consultant for the investment-management section of the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development. [Bloomberg]



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Symantec Slips Despite FYQ4 Beat; Q1 View Tops Estimates

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Symantec (SYMC) this evening report fiscal Q4 results ahead of expectations and forecast the current quarter slightly ahead as well.

Q4 revenue was up 9.3% at $1.67 billion, yielding EPS of 38 cents, versus the consensus $1.6 billion and 36 cents.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $1.57 billion to $1.59 billion, ahead of the average $1.55 billion, and EPS of 36 cents to 37 cents, versus 36 cents expected.

Symantec shares are down 11 cents, or half a percent, at $19.30.

International revenue, which was 51% of all revenue, was up 10%, including a 4% rise in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, while Asia revenue rose 22%, or 12% on a currency-neutral basis. Americas revenue, which has some overlap with International in the case of Latin America, rose 9% and was 55% of revenue.

CFO James Beer took some time to talk with me following the announcement.

Beer said the company was particularly pleased with the performance in its consumer products, hosted services, data loss prevention, and backup products, and also the performance of recent acquisitions.

On the consumer side of the house, “We’re doing a very good job of getting new customers but also upsetting and cross-selling them to things like backup,” said Beer.

On the enterprise side, “data loss prevention had a strong quarter as customers increasingly focused on this problem of losing information,” said Beer. The “Wikileaks episode,” as he calls it, has put a particular focus on that issue, he thinks.

Hosted services was, “reflective of how some customers, particularly smaller companies, are getting comfortable taipang into software through a browser.”

The company got $81 million from its recently acquired businesses, including the security business it bought from Verisign (VRSN), and the PGP and GuardianEdge businesses. Beer wouldn’t give a year-over-year growth rate for those businesses, but said the bookings growth for they saw was “very strong” in the quarter.

Beer said Symantec will focus its efforts this fiscal year on three new emerging growth opportunities in particular: mobile, virtualization, and cloud.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Solar: Axiom Sees Funding Trouble In Budget Battle

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Axiom Capital’s Gordon Johnson this morning writes that utility-scale solar panel installations in the U.S. may be at risk from a clamp-down on Department of Energy loan guarantees to First Solar (FSLR) and other providers.

Johnson writes that the recent budget deal negotiated between the White House and Congress calls for a reduction in the Department’s loan guarantee program for renewables from $18 billion to $1.18 billion.

That’s a problem, he argues, because some of the more prominent projects in the pipeline would eat up all of that funding, leaving little left over.

Johnson cites the “Agua Caliente” project that First Solar sold to NRG Energy (NRG), which is expected to be the largest photovoltaic plant in the world. That project received $1 billion in DOE loan guarantees. Another First Solar project, AV Solar Ranch, a 230 megawatt project, smaller than the 290 megawatts of Agua Caliente, will require $800 million in loan gaurantees, he writes.

Johnson cites conversations with lobbyists who, he says, believe that it is, “‘extremely’ unlikely that a single large solar project (i.e., AV Solar Ranch, or other large projects from the likes of [MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR)] and SunPower (SPWRA), etc.) will receive a loan guarantee.

Johnson argues the funds will instead be spread amongst smaller projects, “such as window insulation, algae & other biofuels, and similar yet smaller alternative energy initiatives,” again, citing comments from lobbyists.

In other First Solar-related news, the company late yesterday  announced it formed a joint venture with China Power International New Energy Holding to “collaborate on solar photovoltaic projects in China, the U.S., and other international markets.” China Power has a plan for 2 gigawatts of solar in China by 2020, the companies said, which I assume refers to 2 gigawatts of installations, though it is not specified.

An article by Li Fangfang in China Daily yesterday quotes Applied Materials (AMAT) executive Charles Gay as saying China’s local solar market will expand rapidly in coming years, assuming, as he does, that China reaches “grid parity” by 2018, which would be two years ahead of the U.S.

First Solar shares today are down 85 cents, or 0.7%, at $127.66. SunPower shares are down 24 cents, or 1%, at $21.36.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Deals & More: GoPro snaps up funding for wearable cameras

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Today’s funding announcements include companies that develop cameras, distribute customer reviews and manage APIs:

GoPro brings in funding for action video recorders: The developer of the HD HERO line of wearable and gear mountable cameras has raised has raised an undisclosed yet “substantial” round of funding from Riverwood Capital, Steamboat Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, Sageview Capital and Walden International. The company, based in Half Moon Bay, Calif., is popular among pro athletes, pro video producers and consumers alike for its cameras and accessories, which will now be sold in all Best Buy stores nationwide.

PowerReviews raises $10M to generate customer feedback: The customer review service has raised a new round of funding led by Four Rivers Group with participation from Woodside Fund, Menlo Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Based in San Francisco, the company provides the technology for user-generated reviews to more than 5,000 retailers including Brookstone, Drugstore.com and Diapers.com.

Mashery gets $11M to manage APIs: The provider of tools and services for API (application programming interface) management has raised a fourth round of funding led by OpenView Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Cisco, Formative Ventures, First Round Capital and .406 Ventures. The San Francisco company, which was founded in 2006, today has a network of more than 100,000 developers and has more than 100 clients including Netflix, The New York Times and CNET.

Newtopia grabs seed funding to whip you into shape: The personalized health coaching service has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from BDC Venture Capital and Canadian angel investors, peHUB reports. Founded in 2008, the company provides lifestyle management advice to users in the form of individualized health plans, coaching support and exercise help.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Japan’s Gree buys OpenFeint mobile social game platform for $104M

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Japanese mobile social network Gree has purchased mobile social game platform operator OpenFeint for $104 million.

Yes, it’s time to start yelling “The Japanese are coming. The Japanese are coming.” Gree’s purchase of the Burlingame, Calif.-based startup follows the $403 million acquisition of mobile game firm Ngmoco by Japan’s DeNA, which is a big rival of Gree’s. The deal shows that mobile is heating up and multiple companies see the value of building a platform that helps mobile games get discovered.

Like Ngmoco, OpenFeint operates a social platform for mobile games. By adopting OpenFeint’s development platform, mobile game makers can make their games more social, more discoverable, and easily cross-promoted. OpenFeint provides features such as multiplayer challenges, leaderboards, and cross promotion.

Gree has more than 25 million users and a market value of $3 billion in Japan, where it operates a social mobile game platform where users can buy games, socialize and interact with all sorts of content. OpenFeint has more than 5,000 games using its platform, and those games have more than 75 million users across iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) and Android devices.

Gree is going to provide OpenFeint with additional operating capital to accelerate the platform’s growth. In contrast to Ngmoco and DeNA, Gree and OpenFeint will not build a uniform gaming network for all consumers worldwide. Rather, they will create tailored products for specific markets. It plans to provide OpenFeint and Gree services on a global level.

Jason Citron, chief executive of OpenFeint, will remain as CEO. He and the OpenFeint team will have long-term incentives and grow the company into a “multi-billion dollar business.” That’s consistent with the business vision of Neil Young, chief executive of Ngmoco, as stated in an interview with VentureBeat.

Gree said it understands that there is a shift in gaming expectations toward higher-quality expectations and that social is now driving gaming. That’s why the company did this deal. OpenFeint is funded by YouWeb, the incubator headed by mobile and social gaming entrepreneur Peter Relan. DeNA had a stake in OpenFeint but evidently it sold that off or is selling it off now. OpenFeint said it hopes to double its headcount within the year, although that is easier said than done in Silicon Valley, where there is a talent shortage.

“At Gree, we are socializing the next evolution of games and, as the best-in-class US-based mobile social network, OpenFeint is the ideal partner for us to offer the best mobile social games to the largest global audience,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, founder and CEO of Gree, in a statement.

“This acquisition further emphasizes Gree’s commitment to providing the first and best global gaming ecosystem, with both the developer and consumer in mind,” says Naoki Aoyagi, CEO of Gree International, the subsidiary that recently opened an office in San Francisco. Gree International will now be merged into OpenFeint. Gree has 24 million users on its mobile social network. Recently, Gree teamed up with feature-phone based mobile social network Mig33.

In an interview, Takafumi Kawane, vice president business operations for Gree International, said in an interview that there is no point in Gree duplicating the business of OpenFeint in North America and vice versa for Gree in Japan. Gree has more than 400 employees that work on the company’s social network service and its games in Japan. Gree has seven of its own games on feature phones in Japan and its service hosts hundreds of other games from third parties. In the fiscal year ending March 31, the company is targeting revenues of $700 million.

Citron said in an interview this evening that the move will accelerate OpenFeint’s expansion around the world. The company has offices in Silicon Valley, London and Beijing now. Developers will benefit because they can create games that can run on the social platforms of OpenFeint, Gree, and Mig33 without having to rewrite them (once the companies create their joint applications programming interface). Citron thinks that OpenFeint has a multi-billion dollar opportunity as smartphones and tablets will become the dominant devices of the new era.

“The economic opportunity here is so tremendous and gaming is the killer app,” Citron said. “We are at the beginning of a new age.”

Citron acknowledged that the purchase price wasn’t as big as other deals, but he said the deal was structured so that it will have a bigger payoff for OpenFeint employees down the road if they hit their milestones. He also confirmed that DeNA is no longer a part owner of OpenFeint.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Simon Johnson Names His Pick For “Most Dangerous Banker In The World”

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And the award goes to…

Josef Ackermann, come on down!

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, described Ackermann as “one of the most dangerous bankers in the world.” Johnson singled out Ackermann’s famous target of a 25 percent pretax return on equity for particular criticism. He said such returns were only possible because Ackermann knows that Deutsche Bank is too big to fail and that it would be “rescued by taxpayers” if it was faced with bankruptcy…In Johnson’s view, there is the danger of a new crisis occurring if the capital rules for banks are not made significantly tighter. He told the newspaper that the new Basel III rules — which will require banks to hold top-quality capital equal to at least 4.5 percent of assets by 2015, rising to 7 percent by 2019 — are “absolutely useless.” Instead, he argues, bank capital reserves have to be equal to between 20 and 45 percent of total assets. Deutsche Bank currently has a capital ratio of just 4 percent, he said.

[Spiegel]



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Opening Bell: 04.14.11

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Senator Levin: Goldman Sachs Misled Congress After Duping Clients (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs misled clients and Congress about the firm’s bets on securities tied to the housing market, the chairman of the U.S. Senate panel that investigated the causes of the financial crisis said. Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry yesterday, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value….Much of the blame for the 2008 market collapse belongs to banks that earned billions of dollars in profits creating and selling financial products that imploded along with the housing market, according to the report. The Levin-Coburn panel levied its harshest criticism at investment banks, in particular accusing Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank AG of peddling collateralized debt obligations backed by risky loans that the banks’ own traders believed were likely to lose value.

Senate Report Lays Bare Mortgage Mess (WSJ)
“I think I found white elephant, flying pig and unicorn all at once.” –Goldman Sachs email describing an Australian client that invested in a souring mortgage structure 4/26/2007

Moody’s, S&P Caved to Goldman, UBS Mortgage Pressure, Levin Says (Bloomberg)
“Investment bankers who complained about rating methodologies, criteria, or decisions were often able to obtain exceptions or other favorable treatment,” according to the Levin report. The decisions appeared to be “concessions made to prevent the loss of business.”

US Probes Libor Dealings (WSJ)
For the past year, law-enforcement officials have been investigating whether the U.S. and European banks understated their own borrowing costs, which are used to calculate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The investigators are now looking into whether the banks effectively formed a global cartel and coordinated how to report borrowing costs between 2006 and 2008.

Geithner: We Must Raise Taxes (PBS)
Appearing on the PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is “no plausible way” to cut the deficit without raising taxes. “Unless you’re going to cut deeply into commitments we have made to seniors and to the disabled and to the poor, or ask the country to go borrow the money, you can’t solve this,” he said.

Raj Keeps Chin Up (NYP)
One reason Rajaratnam has to smile might be the ebullient praise he received yesterday from prominent educator and social activist Geoffrey Canada. Canada, who was called as a character witness, called Rajaratnam a “dear friend” with “a genuine concern for children.”
“Raj and I hit it off right away,” said Canada, the CEO of charitable group the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada said he approached Rajaratnam earlier this decade to donate to the group and found him eager to help “level the playing field for kids.” “I never had to convince Raj” to be a donor, Canada said when asked to respond to the prosecution’s allegations that Rajaratnam committed his alleged crimes out of greed. “He’s a very generous person,” he added.

Deutsche Bank Sold Mortgage-Linked ‘Pigs’ as Market Buckled, Lawmakers Say (Bloomberg)
“Keep your fingers crossed but I think we will price this just before the market falls off a cliff,” Michael Lamont, the group’s co-head, said in a Feb. 8, 2007, e-mail about Deutsche Bank’s Gemstone CDO VII Ltd., according to a report released yesterday by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Frankfurt-based firm sold $700 million of the instruments, which lost most of their value within 17 months.

IMF: Banks Face $3.6 Trillion ‘Wall’ of Maturing Debt (Reuters)
Many European banks need bigger capital cushions to restore market confidence and assure they can borrow, and some weak players will need to be closed, the International Monetary Fund said in its Global Financial Stability Report.

Obama Challenges Republicans With Deadline For Deficit Deal (Bloomberg)
The timeline Obama proposed for coming up with an agreement — beginning talks in early May and completing them by late June — sets up a negotiation over the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges in parallel with a congressional debate over raising the $14.29 trillion legal debt limit.

Glenore Aims For $8.8 Billion In IPO (WSJ)
The company said it plans to list a 15% to 20% stake, through an offer to raise around $6.8 billion to $8.8 billion in new capital and up to $2.2 billion in existing shares. At the upper level, that would make it London’s largest-ever initial public offering, topping Rosneft’s $10.6 billion offer in July 2006.

London Retains Lure For Hedge Funds As Banks Demure (Reuters)
Throgmorton’s Rubio points to the “Harvey Nicks effect” — referring to upmarket London department store Harvey Nichols, a magnet for big spenders — and said he had seen one manager relocate to Barcelona, only to move back to London.



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