Business Education

It’s A Miracle: There’s A Brexit Deal

By EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Theresa May) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Ladies and gentlemen: We have a Brexit deal. The scornful, snarky doubters (whoever they are) have been proven wrong. Theresa May has done it, Ireland and all. Raise a glass to Her Majesty the Prime Minister and let’s all join in a rousing rendition of “Rule Britannia.” Plucky Albion’s pulled through! Even assuming she gains the cabinet’s approval on Wednesday without a politically damaging raft of resignations — not a given — Mrs. May faces daunting odds in pushing the compromise plan through Parliament, where it has many opponents…. One influential pro-Brexit lawmaker, Steve Baker, said on Tuesday that about 50 pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers might oppose Mrs. May’s deal. Hard-Brexiters swiftly reacted neg...

If Ginni Rometty Will Wildly Overpay For A Tech Company, Carl Icahn’s Gonna Make Sure Michael Dell Does, Too

Five years ago, Michael Dell bested Carl Icahn in a protracted and amusing battle of the billionaires over Dell’s namesake company. Icahn thought Dell was screwing over Dell shareholders such as himself, but 65% of them voted for the deal anyway. Three years later, Dell realized it missed at least part of being a public company, namely the ease with which it allows one to raise money for nothing. So Dell issued a tracking stock to raise a few billion to buy a company called EMC, which owned most of a company called VMware, upon which the tracking stock was based. Now, Dell wants to be fully public again. But rather than go through the trouble of an IPO, it figures it’ll just reverse-merge with the VMware tracking stock. This strikes a lot of hedge-fund types as a bad idea. It strikes Icahn...

It’s Larry Kudlow’s Turn To Lock Pete Navarro In A West Wing Closet

Perhaps the funniest part of Larry Kudlow’s tenure as Donald Trump’s top economic adviser is how unwilling Larry has been to learn the lessons of his predecessor, Gary Cohn. Instead of leveraging Gary’s departure to get the president thinking (or at least acting) more reasonably on trade and spending, or holding his fire on Twitter, Kuddles has simply kept us his smarm offensive; coddling the president’s ego while tacitly disagreeing with every Trump economic policy that doesn’t rhyme with “Sax Buts.” But now Larry has been forced to confront one unignorable reality of his gig – something that Gary Cohn handled beautifully when he stomped the halls of the West Wing – Peter Navarro must be kept away from cameras, microphones, and probably children. On Friday, Navarro went on stage at some c...

Dan Loeb Is Sure His Shorts Will Work This Time

In the wake of a difficult first quarter, Dan Loeb expressed confidence: There were just so many terrible companies run by so many stupid executives in an environment perfectly suited to bringing them down he could hardly lose. Except that he did, and he is, losing. So in the wake of a difficult beginning to the fourth quarter, Loeb is assuring his investors: There were just so many terrible companies run by so many stupid executives in an environment perfectly suited to bringing them down he can hardly lose. “While current U.S. growth remains above‐trend, helped by fiscal stimulus, this positive impulse is peaking now, and will combine with an increasing drag from tightening financial conditions,” Loeb said in a letter dated Friday. “We have delevered our portfolio, reduced our tech expos...

Opening Bell: 11.13.18

Welcome to the new Opening Bell from The Water Coolest. We think you’re gonna like it here … Go home, you’re drunk [The Water Coolest] Diageo is divesting 19 of its “value” brands. You know, the ones best served in plastic bottles and consumed before 10 AM under a bridge. The lower end brands (read: the Camel cigarettes of booze) including Seagram’s Canadian whiskey and Goldschlager schnapps will fetch roughly $550M in cash. The buyer? Privately held US spirit maker, Sazerac. Diageo to Sell 19 Brands Amid Focus on Premium Spirits [WSJ] Jho Low can it go? [The Water Coolest] D-Sol and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Malaysia’s finance minister demanded a full refund for Lloyd’s handy-work on the 1MDB debacle that earned the company roughly $600M. News of the Malaysian governm...

Ex-Goldman Banker: $6 Billion Deals Just Don’t Happen If You Tell Compliance About Them

Much to David Solomon’s chagrin, things keep dribbling out about his bank’s involvement in some Malaysian shenanigans, which shenanigans Goldman now acknowledges are likely to prove very expensive for the bank, indeed. The latest comes from the redacted transcript of Leissner’s at-the-time secret guilty plea in August, in which he acknowledges that “other employees and agents of Goldman Sachs” had been in on the whole thing. This we already knew, what with one of Leissner’s underlings also being indicted, another of his former colleagues being rather embarrassingly unindicted, and one former CEO extremely embarrassingly linked to the whole unpleasant game. The statement also includes some music to D.J. D-Sol’s ears, specifically that those rogue agents worked overtime to keep those meddlin...

Opening Bell: 11.12.18

Welcome to the new Opening Bell from The Water Coolest. We think you’re gonna like it here… No stress [The Water Coolest] Apparently, the Fed is channeling its inner Kunu a la “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (think: “Do less”). A speech by Fed Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles on Friday was the source of many a fist bump throughout the banking world. Quarles (Barkley), doing his best to score an invite to Dorsia, opened the kimono on a slew of planned bank-friendly regulations including making stress tests more consistent year over year and giving banks results before the house of cards wrap up their shareholder-return plans. The man with the plan (Quarles) also hinted at eliminating the leverage ratio which compares equity to total assets. Banks and the Fed argue that this doesn’t t...

New For 2019: No-Stress Stress Tests

By Ryan McGilchrist [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons The midterms are over. Donald Trump is either a lame duck or two years from elected Greatest Most Beautiful and Perfect President of America for Life (and, taking a page from the leaders he most admires, maybe beyond). That means the time has come to get that regulatory bonfire going in earnest, while there’s still time, starting with making stress tests multiple choice. And we’re not talking LSAT problem-level multiple choice. We’re talking old-school Global Studies Regents exam level multiple choice. Fed Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles in a Friday speech said the agency was considering revisions that could make the test scenarios more consistent from year to year and give firms their results before they wrap up shareh...

David Solomon Prepares ‘It Was The Last Guy’ 1MDB Defense

getty images The criminal charges leveled against two former Goldman Sachs bankers are decidedly not a good look for the bank or for its new CEO, David Solomon. This is especially true since at the time one of them admits he was laundering money and tossing around bribes to win Goldman the privilege of arranging $6.5 billion in loans for Malaysia’s apparently entirely criminal sovereign wealth fund, Solomon was in charge of Goldman’s investment bank, and thus those men’s boss. Goldman has long maintained that it had no idea what Tim Leissner was up to when he wasn’t planning parties or doing entirely legitimate investment-banking things. It still maintains this. Unfortunately, some new shit has come to light that makes this defense a bit trickier. On the bright side for Solomon, though, he...

Bill James Is Guilty Of Saying The Quiet Part Out Loud

It was less than two weeks ago that the Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series since 2004, a run of excellence that began two years after the then-famously “cursed” club hired legendary statistician Bill James as a senior baseball operations adviser. Shortly after he was hired by the Red Sox, in July 2003, James was the subject of a New Yorker article titled, “The Professor of Baseball,” that included a passage of particular interest all these years later. “Joking, (then-assistant general manager Theo) Epstein suggested that they hire Bill James himself. Although James had seemed to position himself deliberately on the margins of the profession, (Red Sox owner John) Henry sent him an inquiring e-mail, just in case. James had, as it happened, worked in the past as a consultant for thr...

Wilbur Ross Might Wake Up From His Next Office Nap To Find Himself Hurtling Northward On The Acela

Psst, hey, keep your voices down. It’s early afternoon on a Friday so the 39th United States Secretary of Commerce is almost certainly “resting his eyes.” There’s nothing Wilbur Ross needs more at the end of a long week spent doing actually nothing than slide into a pair of bespoke velvet slippers and go to sleep in his office for a few hours. If there happens to be a meeting, so be it, Old Wilbur gonna get them Zs. But according to CNBC, it seems like the Slipper King might want to doze a little more gently, lest the suddenly-even-less-hinged leader of the free world command the Secret Service to go grab his sleeping Commerce Secretary and dump him on the next northbound Amtrak train… President Donald Trump is telling people he wants to replace Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross by the end of...

Blind Item: Which Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Is A Horned-Up Bisexual Pedophile Cheapskate Who Also Does Card Tricks?

The world of podcasts is deep and vast…and apparently seedy as hell. We have recently become acquainted with something called the “Aftershock Podcast” hosted by a former Howard Stern intern named Steve Grillo. It listens like a wild carnival of New York City-based filthy gossip brought to your ears by minor celebrities and people inside the wondrous world of Big Apple sex work. On the most recent episode, a young lady named Martha Duke was Grillo’s guest. After a pretty wild entree into the narrative of the podcast (you can listen for yourself if you’re curious about who’s not wearing underwear in a podcast studio), Duke [who seems to occupy a nebulous role in this community that we can best describe as falling somewhere between escort and strip club promoter] fell into a yarn about a cree...