Business Education

Battle Of The Old Cranky Titans

For years, Rupert Murdoch has craved the 61% of Britain’s Sky TV that he doesn’t already own. Even though he’s owned a controlling stake in the company since 1990, and served as its CEO in the mid-2000s, the old man has spent the better part of this decade trying to nail down the rest of the place. His first effort, back in 2010, was derailed by the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp. So Murdoch transferred the stake in Sky to 21st Century Fox and decided to try again at the end of 2016, offering almost £12 billion. Since then, he’s decided he’s not actually interested in owning all of Sky. Any of it, really, since agreeing to take Disney’s $52.4 billion last month for all of Fox—including the controlling stake in Sky. So it must have been annoying last week when British regulators said he...

Buffett, Bezos And Dimon Are The Traveling Wilburys Of Capitalist Social Justice Warrior Billionaires

Well, if the healthcare industry didn’t have enough uncertainty on its plate (it did), it got served a pipin’ hot helpin’ of “what the actual fuck is this?!” on Tuesday morning when Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan said they’re planning on teaming up on a way to offer health care services to their employees. What does that even mean? Well, that’s part of the problem for the likes of  UnitedHealth, CVS and McKesson, which all fell sharply in the pre-market on the headline: See the thing is, whatever industry you happen to be in, just about the last thing you want to hear is that Jeff Bezos is thinking about postin’ up on your block, because if he does, your hustle is over. Whatever it is you were selling, Jeff’s going to sell it cheaper and deliver it more efficiently and that goes for everyt...

Opening Bell: 1.30.18

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan to Create Healthcare Company [Bloomberg]Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan have announced plans to create an independent company focused on technology solutions “that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost,” Bloomberg News reports.The company will be free from profit-making incentives and constraints, according to a statement. Yellen Leaving Fed With Full Employment, Increased Focus on Labor Market [WSJ]Ms. Yellen, an expert in labor markets, urged greater attention to the costs of joblessness in steering the Fed to undo those emergency measures very slowly.Her legacy is only partly written. The rest depends partly on whether the Fed can continue lifting rates gradually, bu...

Jamie Dimon Readies JPMorgan For His Transition To The White House

Gather round ye fellow believers in the #DraftDimon movement, for there is news! JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) today announced that Daniel Pinto (55), Chief Executive Officer of its Corporate & Investment Bank, and Gordon Smith (59), Chief Executive Officer of Consumer & Community Banking, have been appointed Co-Presidents and Co-Chief Operating Officers of the company, effective tomorrow, continuing to report to Jamie Dimon (61), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In addition to their current roles, Pinto and Smith will work closely with Dimon to help drive critical firmwide opportunities. Responsibilities for the rest of the firm’s Operating Committee will remain unchanged, with its members continuing to report to Dimon as well. It’s all happening! Jamie has finally acqu...

Coincheck Didn’t Bother With ‘Basic Security Protocols’ Because The Worst That Could Happen Is A $400 Million Theft

It was exactly the kind of scene that Japan’s FSA had been hoping to avoid when it became one of the few regulators globally to introduce a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges last April. That’s from a new Bloomberg piece documenting the fallout from last week’s rather unfortunate episode that found one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges admitting it had “lost” some $400 million in “NEM coins”. The “scene” Bloomberg is describing apparently involved furious Japanese customers huddled together in the freezing cold outside the exchange’s headquarters which, hilariously, is only “an eight-minute walk from the site where Mt. Gox imploded” four years ago. We mercilessly lampooned this boondoggle on Friday and one of the points we made was that anyone who is angry should direc...

Brian Moynihan Poaches John Cryan’s Connection To SoftBank In Vicious Demonstration Of Sad-On-Sad Violence

Things are getting so existentially painful for John Cryan that he is now beset by dreams of staring into Brian Moynihan’s world-weary, angst-scarred face, witnessing the odd miracle of a smirk appearing and hearing what passes for a Moynihanian giggle before his fellow bank CEO and human punching bank murmurs “Even I got one over on you John…” Stephen Pitts, a senior Deutsche Bank AG banker with close ties to tech giant SoftBank Group Corp., is joining Bank of America Corp., according to the banks.Mr. Pitts, a 17-year Deutsche Bank veteran and managing director, is a senior leveraged-loan banker with a long history structuring deals for telecommunications companies. He has been a key banker in the lender’s relationship with SoftBank, which last year launched a nearly $100 billion technolo...

A Treasury Secretary Walks Into A Bar Full Of Central Bankers…

One of the peculiarities of the prevailing market environment is that when political shocks become predictable (e.g. when the news cycle becomes so manic that everyone accepts it as likely that what was “news” on Friday, won’t be “news” on Monday thanks to some new “bombshell” which will almost invariably come calling), ostensibly destabilizing events lose their ability to destabilize due to the rapidity with which they occur. “#Shitholegate” only matters until we find out that Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller. And that only matters until we find out that Trump wants Rod Rosenstein gone. And on, and on. Ultimately, this results in gridlock. It’s a rolling political crisis. At best, it means legislation will be an uphill battle and will proceed only at a snail’s pace. At worst, it means p...

Local Bar Owners Allegedly Defrauding I-Banking Clients On The Side

(The Sloppy Tuna) Drew Doscher is not afraid of the inside of a courtroom. His former partners at Seaport Group know this. After all, in addition to being former partners at a boutique investment bank, they are also former partners at the exquisitely trashy Sloppy Tuna in Montauk, in which capacity they have been involved in no fewer than 11 lawsuits over the future of that establishment. Those lawsuits were preceded, unsurprisingly, by the circumstances under which Doscher became a former partner of the Seaport Group. Having become, in his own words “the top producer of commissions and revenue for the entire firm,” raking in more than the other three top men combined, and becoming “the face of Seaport,” the firm’s two official partners decided they should formalize what Doscher called “ou...

Steve Cohen Ponying Up For Sequel To The Don, Paul and Mitch Show

There are some who look at the patently ridiculous, almost comically mendacious and hilariously inept state of the United States government and think, “Things could perhaps be better.” There are the obvious ones, like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Jim Simons. There’s Ray Dalio, too. Even Trump supporter Jeff Gundlach thinks the things emerging from the Republican-controlled Congress to land on the nominally Republican president’s desk aren’t exactly ideal. Steve Cohen is not among these people. No, the once and future hedge fund king (and once and future Chris Christie moneyman) looks at the nuclear, fiscal and humanitarian brinksmanship that masquerades as “governance” in 21st century America and says, “Yes. Two more years of this at least.” According to campaign finance records, Cohen has...

Opening Bell: 1.29.18

Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy [NYT]With the price of West Texas intermediate crude above $65 a barrel, a level not seen in almost three years, the United States is becoming a dominant producer. It is able to outflank competitors in supplying growing global markets, particularly China and India, while slashing imports from the Middle East and North Africa.This year, the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and to rival Russia as the world’s leader, with record output of over 10 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency. Freed Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed says corruption detention was a ‘misunderstanding’ [CNBC]“There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government. Rest assured this is a c...

At Least One Pro Sports League Is Being Halfway Honest About Sports Gambling

It’s only January, but it will be hard, from a spelling out the obvious standpoint, to top The Washington Post’s headline on Thursday morning, “If sports gambling is legalized, the NBA wants in on the profits.” The NBA is not stupid. Of all the major professional sports leagues, Adam Silver’s has been the most open about embracing the possibility of a future in which wagering on sports is legal, with visions of just this kind of proposal: using gambling as a revenue stream. That said, the NBA’s logic in this particular story is utterly assailable. Dan Spillane, the NBA’s senior vice president and assistant general counsel, outlined a plan to the New York State Senate’s Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee in which the league would get a 1% cut of any bets made on its product. The rationa...

Ewoks Make Off With $400 Million Worth Of ‘NEM Tokens’, In Latest Example Of Why It’s A Bad Idea To Encourage Trading In Make-Believe Internet Money

Back in October, about a month after he called Bitcoin “a fraud”, Jamie Dimon responded as follows when a moderator at an Institute of International Finance conference pressed him on the subject of cryptocurrencies: If you’re stupid enough to buy [Bitcoin], you’ll pay the price for it one day. Bitcoin was sitting at roughly $5,600 when he made that comment. Fast forward two months (to the day) and Bitcoin was above $17,000. Three days after that, it was at $20,000. “Who’s ‘stupid’ now, Jamie?”, was a common refrain on crypto subreddits. Despite the fact that Bitcoin is some 50% below its December peak, there’s still no shortage of gloating. The crypto crowd still thinks they’re having a laugh at Dimon’s expense. But they’re wrong. The fact that Bitcoin skyrocketed after Dimon’s comments do...