Goldman Sachs on the Hot Seat

Jeff Neumann · 04/27/10 09:33AM

By now you've heard the news that investment bank Goldman Sachs is in some hot water with the government. Today, executives from the firm will testify on Capitol Hill. Will there be drama? Here is a quick guide.

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 12/14/09 07:00AM

Hedge fund titan John Paulson is turning 54 today. Former Hollywood titan Michael Ovitz is turning 63. Tween queen Vanessa Hudgens turns 21. Novelist Benjamin Kunkel turns 37. Cliff Richards, the AC/DC bassist (and father of MTV's Erin Lucas), is 60. Writer Stanley Crouch turns 64. Child actress Patty Duke is 63. Aussie model/actress Sophie Monk is 30. Social fixture Eleanor Ylvisaker is 33. And Jane Birkin, the actress and singer who also inspired the Hermès bag by the same name, turns 63 today.

When Hedge Funders Win, We All Win

cityfile · 07/13/09 11:18AM

You may still be dealing with the nasty effects of the economic downturn, but the pain and misery appears to be over for the hedge funders who were forced to momentarily put off plans to buy a new jet or private Caribbean island earlier this year. The Post reports the first six months of 2009 were very good for the likes of Steve Cohen, Paul Tudor Jones, Phil Falcone, and John Paulson as "hedge funds overall turned in their best performance in a decade, with funds up 12 percent through the end of June." Before you immediately brush this off as just another example of the rich getting richer while the less fortunate continue to struggle, consider four reasons why it's actually great news that Phil Falcone may end the year with a net worth north of $3 billion:

Wall Street: Friday Edition

cityfile · 06/12/09 08:30AM

• BlackRock has reached a deal to buy Barclays Global Investors for $13.5 billion, making BlackRock the world's largest money management firm. [WSJ]
• Lawmakers grilled Bank of America chief Ken Lewis in Capitol Hill yesterday, although he defended his decision to go ahead with the acquisition of Merrill Lynch and placed blame on Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson. [NYT, WSJ]
John Paulson's hedge fund, which made $3+ billion betting the housing market would collapse, is now scooping up lots of distressed debt. [BN]
• Goldman was an investment bank before becoming a commercial bank. Now that it's free from the bailout, it may go back to being an I-bank. [Reuters]
• US households lost $1.33 trillion of wealth in the first 3 months of '09. [DB]
• Foreclosures fell during May, not that things have improved much. [CNN]

John Paulson (Finally) Sells in Southampton

cityfile · 06/11/09 08:08AM

• Billionaire financier John Paulson has finally unloaded his house in Southampton, albeit for about $10 million less than he'd hoped to sell it for. The 7,000-square-foot home, which Paulson picked up for $12.75 million in 2006 and put up for sale for $19.5 million in 2008 before later dropping the price twice, just sold to an anonymous buyer for $9.99 million. [NYP]
• Karen and David Fleiss are cutting prices again at 1030 Fifth Avenue. The couple, who have tried just about everything to sell the 16-room duplex they first listed for $47.5 million last June (including dividing the apartment in two), have reduced the price of the bottom-floor unit from $11 million to $9.95 million. [Cityfile, PDE, previously]
• Now that she's no longer with the Count, "Real Housewife" LuAnn de Lesseps has moved out of the couple's rented townhouse on East 62nd Street. She's currently staying at her Bridgehampton place where she's supposedly "contemplating her next real estate move." [NYP]

Wall Street: Wednesday Edition

cityfile · 06/10/09 08:53AM

• Chrysler's alliance with Fiat is a done deal. [CNN]
• Good news, bankers: The Obama administration is dropping its plan to cap salaries at firms receiving government bailout money. [WSJ]
• Citigroup is swapping $58 billion of preferred stock into common shares, a move that will make the U.S. government the bank's largest shareholder. [BN]
• The ten banks that were given to go-ahead to repay U.S. aid had planned on returning a combined $68.3 billion. Add another $4.6 billion to the tab! [DB]
• FDIC chair Sheila Bair stirred the pot the other day when she said she hoped to oust Citi's Vikram Pandit. Now both sides are defusing tensions. [FT]
• Hedgie John Paulson is investing $100 million in CB Richard Ellis. [WSJ]

Wall Street: Wednesday Morning

cityfile · 05/20/09 05:45AM

• Bank of America raised another $13.47 billion last night. [Reuters]
• How are banks making money these days? They're taking out life-insurance policies on their workers, with themselves listed as beneficiaries. [WSJ]
• The Obama administration may strip the SEC of some of its powers. [BN]

John Paulson Forced to Settle for Second

cityfile · 03/25/09 08:05AM

Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine released its ranking of the top 25 hedge fund managers today. You'll be happy to hear that even though most people ended 2008 on a gloomy note, a handful of men who were already worth billions made billions more last year thanks to their canny trading strategies or the fact they predicted (correctly!) that a major shakeout was headed our way. In first place was Jim Simons, the former math professor who started the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies and who earned $2.5 billion on the basis of his complex computer-driven approach to the market. In second place: John Paulson, who totally saw the housing market was going to hell in a handbasket, bet big as a result, and has $2 billion to show for his efforts.

Wisps of Hope, Cramer Accepts His Beating

cityfile · 03/13/09 05:58AM

• Investors are finding "wisps of hope" in the current not-so-bad economic news, so the three-day winning streak on Wall Street may continue today. [DB]
• AIG reached out to Warren Buffett twice before ultimately collapsing. [BN]
• Citigroup is looking at adding four new people to the company's board. [WSJ]
• Ken Lewis seems to be sending signals he wants out of BofA. [Dealbreaker]
H. Rodgin Cohen is out of the running to be deputy Treasury secretary. [DB]
• There's already chatter that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner may get pushed aside in favor of—yes, you guessed it—Steve Rattner. [BI]
• How bad is it for hedge funds? John Paulson was up 38 percent last year and he still lost 16 percent of his assets during the last half of 2008. [Portfolio]
• Two things you never expected to see: A meek, frightened Jim Cramer on national television. And a comedian talking about CDOs. [The Daily Show]

Wall Street: Wednesday Morning Headlines

cityfile · 03/11/09 05:31AM

• Following yesterday's stock market surge, some analysts see a comeback in the making. Believe it when you see it. [CNN]
• Investors pulled $11 billion out of hedge funds in February. [BN]
• Related: hedge funds may slash 20,000 jobs around the world this year. [DB]
• Even the junky little banks that should have never been given a piece of the bailout in the first place now want to give the money back. [NYT]
• Some 45% of the world's wealth has been destroyed over the past year, says Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman. [Reuters]
• Tim Geithner appeared on Charlie Rose's show yesterday. [BN]
• Quadrangle Group, the firm formerly headed up by Steve Rattner, has hired three new execs to help manage Michael Bloomberg's money. [DB]
• Good work if you can get it: Hedge find titan John Paulson has made about half a billion bucks since the fall shorting a couple of British banks. [BN]

John Paulson Beefs Up the Hedges

cityfile · 02/11/09 12:16PM

It's a scary world out there what with the economy crumbling to pieces, corporate CEOs under fire, and popular resentment against Wall Street rising by the day. What do you do if, say, you're one of the few people who is actually making a fortune right now? Build up the walls around you, naturally! Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson filed an application with the Southampton Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review to "beef up" the landscaping outside the 10.4-acre estate, the one he and his wife Jenny purchased for $41.3 million in 2008.

Geithner Takes the Oath, Banks Continue to Post Losses

cityfile · 01/27/09 06:26AM

• Tim Geithner was sworn in as Treasury Secretary last night. William Dudley is expected to take over for Geithner at the New York Fed. [BN, NYT, WSJ]
• Nomura announced a quarterly loss of $3.8 billion yesterday. [DB]
• Barclays says it plans to write down an additional $11 billion for 2008. [NYT]
• Tremont, the hedge fund that invested in Madoff, may shut down soon. [NYP]
Vikram Pandit has hinted that Citi may abandon plans to buy a new jet. [CS]
John Paulson is continuing to rake in lots of money. [BN]
• 78,000 people were laid off by public companies yesterday. [NYP]
Stan O'Neal? He's a lousy tipper, just so you know. [NYP]

For Sale: Wall Street Weekend Homes

cityfile · 01/16/09 04:55PM

You're going to be shocked to hear this, but it turns out lots of Wall Streeters are looking to sell their lavish, eight-figure homes, a process that isn't quite so easy given the state of the economy. Today's Wall Street Journal has details on a collection of former high-flyers at Lehman and AIG who are now (desperately) looking for offers. But not everyone is moving out because they're suffering! It's unlikely any one in New York is making more money right now than John Paulson, the hedge fund mogul who bet against the housing market and won big. (He'll probably continue to rake it in: Just today he announced plans to launch a new distressed investment fund.) Just in case you're still sitting pretty—or you're playing the lottery this weekend and you're an optimist by nature—you'll find details on four of the homes after the jump.

John Paulson: Very Rich, Not Very Well-Liked

cityfile · 01/08/09 11:09AM

It's not easy making billions while everyone else is losing their shirts. Just ask John Paulson, the founder of the hedge fund Paulson & Co. who collected $3.7 billion in 2007 and, unlike the vast majority of his peers, had a fantastically profitable 2008, too. Of course, making money off the collapse of the global economy isn't the sort of thing that earns you many fans, as Gary Weiss points out in the new issue of Portfolio: "It's hard to see how any financier who made a fortune from market turbulence can improve his public image when the economy is in such serious trouble... Traders like Paulson will probably never be popular. They might as well get used to it."