Wall Street: Monday Morning

cityfile · 04/27/09 05:56AM

John Thain is striking back at Bank of America in an effort "to restore his sullied reputation," and accusing BofA's CEO, Ken Lewis, of lying. [WSJ]
• Thanks to rising profits, employees at several banks are on track to earn as much money this year as they did before the financial crisis. [NYT]
• UBS's head of investment banking, Jerker Johansson, is stepping down. [DB]
Steve Rattner caught a break on Friday when Quadrangle Group investors decided not to shut down his scandal-plagued fund. [NYT, NYP]

It's Good to Be a Bankruptcy Attorney

cityfile · 04/15/09 03:20PM

Weil Gotchal is one of three major law firms that has asked new associates to hang out until 2011 before showing up to work. The firms are encouraging recruits to push back their start dates on account of the recession, naturally, but Weil may have a harder time pleading poverty as of this afternoon. The firm just requested the largest quarterly fee in bankruptcy history for its work on the Lehman Brothers meltdown. Weil is asking a judge to turn over $55.1 million for the the work it has done over just the past four months—plus expenses, of course—and insiders say it will probably get every penny of it. And Weil is expected to earn another $200 million in the event General Motors files for bankruptcy protection. It isn't often that we wish we'd gone into bankruptcy law. But it looks like today is one of those days.

Welcome to the Party, Life Insurers

cityfile · 04/08/09 05:38AM

• The Treasury is expected to announce in the next few days that it will be extending bailout funds to a handful of life insurance companies. [WSJ]
• Brian Moynihan, who took over Merrill Lynch after John Thain was ousted, is emerging as a potential successor to Bank of America chief Ken Lewis. [WSJ]
• Not that Lewis necessarily needs to be replaced, at least according to Meredith Whitney, who (bizarrely) says Lewis has "done a great job." [BN]
• Blackstone, KKR, and Carlyle are in the running to acquire the mobile phone operations that Verizon Wireless is selling now that it's acquired Alltel. [BN]
• Looks like Jim Cramer has a new enemy. Nouriel Roubini is calling the CNBC star "a buffoon," and Cramer has since responded in kind, of course. [NYP]

GM's Last Best Hope

cityfile · 04/07/09 09:20AM

General Motors is looking to restore confidence by demonstrating it has a "vision" for the vehicle of the future. This reinvention of the power scooter/golf cart in collaboration with Segway should do the trick, no? [WSJ]

Wall Street: Tuesday Morning Headlines

cityfile · 04/07/09 05:50AM

• A half-dozen bidders have emerged for AIG's asset management unit, although efforts to sell it have been "complicated," not surprisingly. [WSJ]
• Congressman Dennis Kucinich has asked the SEC to determine if Bank of America violated the law by not disclosing Merrill Lynch's bonus plan. [DB]
• GM is speeding up preparations for a possible bankruptcy filing. [BN]
• Quadrangle Group has halted fundraising for its next fund. [Crains]
• The Tokyo office of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity has been closed. [DB]
• RBS may eliminate an additional 9,000 jobs. [BN]
• It's never been a better time for a hostile takeover. [NYP]
• What's Hank Paulson doing with his money these days? He's backing his son's effort to bring Major League Soccer to Portland, Oregon, that's what. [BN]

Grim Job Numbers, More Concern About Detroit

cityfile · 04/01/09 05:41AM

• The private sector lost 742,000 jobs during the month of March, substantially more than analysts had been predicting. [WSJ, CNN]
• President Obama has indicated that he believes a "quick, negotiated bankruptcy" will be the most likely path for General Motors. [BN]
• The not-so-optimistic employment figures and increased concern about the future of GM may lead to a rough day in the markets. [BN]
Mark Carhart and Raymond Iwanowski of Goldman's Alpha hedge fund are retiring. Rumor now has it they may end up at KKR. [Clusterstock]
• A dozen criminal investigations into bailout fraud are now underway. [FT]
• Remember when Cerberus founder Steve Feinberg was "hailed as a hero" who "might save the American car industry"? So much for that idea. [NYT]
• UBS is closing its "art banking" department, not surprisingly. [AP]
• This is a particularly dangerous time to be a CEO, clearly. [NYP]

Vikram Pandit Will Remain at Citigroup Forever

cityfile · 03/30/09 12:05PM

Now that the Obama administration has drop-kicked GM CEO Rick Wagoner, can we expect other poor-performing chief executives to meet a similar fate? You'd certainly think so, especially when it comes to companies like Citigroup, which has received three government bailouts since last fall but has yet to figure out how to go a week without an embarrassing disclosure of one sort or another. Don't get your hopes up. According to "people familiar with the matter," Washington has considered ousting Citi chief Vikram Pandit, "but demurred, in part because of the paucity of candidates to replace him." Maybe Washington should consider pushing Pandit to move ahead with his plan to construct that executive Zen garden? That sure would be an attractive perk to add to the bottom of the job ad on [WSJ]

Obama's GM Ultimatum, More Layoffs at UBS

cityfile · 03/30/09 05:30AM

• Washington is now playing hard ball: The Obama administration has forced out GM CEO Rick Wagoner and now says the company has 30 days to finalize its alliance with Fiat if it expects to get more bailout cash. [NYT, WSJ]
• UBS plans to lay off as many as 8,000 more employees worldwide. [Reuters]
• Working at Goldman Sachs has its perks: The bank spent tens of millions bailing out several senior execs facing a personal liquidity squeeze, including former COO Jon Winkelried and general counsel Gregory Palm. [NYT]
• Bank of America plans to increase some bankers' salaries by as much as 70 percent to offset reduced year-end bonuses. [BN]
• The Blackstone Group turned down a request from regulators to disclose the performance of its buyout and hedge funds; Fortress, however, caved. [BN]
• Timothy Geithner says some financial institutions will still need a lot more government aid in the future. You're stunned by that, we're sure. [BN]

Obama's Housing Rescue, Automakers Come for More

cityfile · 02/18/09 07:21AM

• President Obama is unveiling a $75 billion plan today to help struggling homeowners. A press conference is scheduled for 12:15pm. [WSJ, NYT, CNN]
• The Dow fell 3.8% yesterday to close at its lowest point since November. How today goes hinges on the response to Obama's housing rescue plan. [CNN]
• More on the life and times of Allen Stanford, the Texas financier who may have presided over an $8 billion fraud. [BN, NYT, WSJ]
• GM says it needs another $16 billion to stay in business. Oh, but it's still going to slash 47,000 jobs and close five plants anyway. [WSJ, NYT]
• GE's Jeff Immelt is waiving his $11.7 million bonus. [FT]
• Home construction fell a seventh straight month during January. [WSJ]
• Former CNBC anchor Ron Insana is leaving SAC Capital. [DB]
• More on Jon Winkelried's retirement from Goldman Sachs. [WSJ]

Another Dark Day on Wall Street

cityfile · 02/17/09 07:16AM

• Stocks are down sharply today over concern about the deepening recession. The stimulus package last week? So much for it restoring confidence. [BN, WSJ]
• Need more proof of mismanagement at Citigroup? Chuck Prince was ousted as CEO 15 months ago but he still has an office and secretary at the company. So does John Reed, Citi's former CEO who left nearly nine years ago. [BN]
• The stimulus package that cleared Congress Friday includes hefty new restrictions on bonuses and perks at Wall Street firms. [WSJ]
• GM will file the largest restructuring plan of its 100-year history today. [DB]
• Hedge funds may lose as much as 35% of their assets this quarter. [Reuters]
• Citi is having a hard time finding anyone to buy their junky assets. [NYP]
• Banco Santander, Europe's second largest bank, is offering a generous compensation deal for clients who lost money to Bernie Madoff. [WSJ]

GM's Casual Dress Code Leads To Success

Hamilton Nolan · 12/19/08 02:42PM

Hey, there's been a huge auto bailout! In this clip, GM execs show up for a press conference in less-than-crisp suits, their way of screwing American taxpayers again (I think). Smug, guys.

Auto Rumors, Bonus Talk, More Madoff

cityfile · 12/18/08 06:38AM

• The Journal is reporting that GM and Chrysler have resumed merger talks, although both companies have denied it. Chrysler has, however, said that it plans to shut down production for a month. [WSJ, Bloomberg, DB]
• Morgan Stanley employees will see bonuses drop by half this year. [NYP]
• Partners at Goldman Sachs may see bonuses fall by 80 percent. [FT]
• Mary Schapiro will head up the SEC in the Obama administration. [MW]
• More on the efforts to expose Bernie Madoff many years earlier, concerns that were brought to the SEC and ignored. [WSJ]
• Real estate execs in NYC have been particularly hard hit by Madoff. [NYT]
• What to do if you lost a fortune to Bernie Madoff? Sue someone. [FT, NYP]

Thursday Headlines

cityfile · 12/11/08 06:37AM

• The House approved the auto bailout bill yesterday; what will happen when it gets to the Senate is still up in the air. [NYT]
• The number of Americans filing new unemployment insurance claims last week jumped to a 26-year high. [CNN]
• Stocks slipped in early trading as investors waited to see if the auto bailout gets Senate approval, and because of discouraging economic data. [CNN]

Big Three Bailout, Battered Bonuses

cityfile · 12/03/08 06:17AM

♦ Detroit's Big Three automakers presented new turnaround plans (and their request for $34 billion) to Congress yesterday. [WSJ, Bloomberg]
♦ Merrill Lynch plans to cut year-end bonuses in half. [Bloomberg]
♦ Now that it's turned itself into a commercial bank, Goldman Sachs is thinking about starting an online banking operation, too. [DB]
♦ Goldman is tapping Gerald Corrigan, a former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to serve as chairman of its bank holding company. [FT]
♦ Billionaire financier face-off: One of Carl Icahn's companies is suing a firm owned by Leon Black. [NYT, NYP]
♦ Ramius Capital, the struggling hedge fund operated by Peter Cohen, is closing four of its funds. [WSJ]

Detroit Hopes the Second Time's the Charm

cityfile · 12/01/08 06:28AM

♦ The Big Three automakers are putting finishing touches on new business plans to take to Congress this week, part of a last-ditch effort to secure a federal bailout. [WSJ, Bloomberg, NYT]
♦ Shoppers spent $41 billion over the four-day weekend, up 7.2 percent from the year before. That was better than expected, but retail experts are still pessimistic about the holiday season outlook. [CNNMoney, WSJ]
♦ Hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones has suspended withdrawals as he splits his $10 billion flagship fund into two. [FT]
♦ The bailout has already cost more than World War II, in case you're keeping count at home. [Clusterstock]

Classic GM Ads: When Times Were Not So Terrible

Hamilton Nolan · 11/29/08 12:00PM

Poor General Motors Corp may not be around forever if certain auto dealers on a bus ride cannot persuade the federal government to give the failing company $25 billion. Sad! Remember when GM cars ruled the roads, America ruled the world, and men were men? Those were the days. We've collected a gallery of ten classic GM ads from the good old days of the 1930s, to remind you of what once was, and what shall never be again. Weep for your autos:

Random Dudes To Hop Bus To DC, Save Auto Industry

Hamilton Nolan · 11/26/08 12:40PM

America's failing auto companies continue to Get The Message Loud And Clear about Making Real Changes that will Make America Strong Again. They just really, really need that $25 billion government bailout first, okay? Seriously. GM has already promised to give up some of its corporate jets and order cheaper pencils. And now, a bunch of auto industry types are doing what GM's execs should have done in the first place: carpooling to Washington! Though it may be, objectively, the lamest car pool ever: 1. "As of now, the three executives — Rick Wagoner of General Motors, Alan R. Mulally of Ford Motor and Robert L. Nardelli of Chrysler — are not planning to join the carpool." 2. "Initially, organizers intended to assemble a convoy of numerous fuel-efficient, American-made vehicles to demonstrate the innovation coming from Detroit, but it might end up being more about the people involved than the products. 'From an efficiency standpoint, getting a bus or two would probably be the best way to go.'" 3. "The group is planning a quick trip, perhaps leaving Dec. 7 and heading back late the next day, with no stops for rallies or demonstrations." Two buses, full of auto dealers, on an 18-hour round trip from Detroit to Washington, with no public rallies. But they did get the New York Times to cover it, so hey. [NYT]