Lily Safra Sells One, Buys Another

cityfile · 12/23/09 09:40AM

• Lily Safra is making a move at 820 Fifth Avenue. The billionaire widow of Edmond Safra and longtime resident of the tony co-op building has sold her 12th-floor apartment for $40 million to Ken Griffin, the CEO of Chicago-based Citadel Investment Group. She won't be moving far. Property records indicate Safra paid $33 million to buy developer Ara Hovnanian's apartment on the 4th-floor, so she'll only be moving downstairs. [Real Deal]
• Stephen Rotella, the former president and chief operating officer of Washington Mutual, may be preparing to move back east. Earlier this year, Rotella sold his mansion in Seattle for $4.7 million; now he's paid a similar amount for an apartment in New York. Rotella and his wife, Esther, put down $4.1 million for a two-bedroom co-op at 101 Central Park West. The 2,200-square-foot apartment was first listed last year for $5.95 million. [Cityfile]
• Josh Grotstein, the CEO of the video sharing site Motionbox and a co-founder of the venture capital firm SAS Investors, is moving. He and his wife Leslie sold their apartment at 300 East 77th Street for $2.75 million. [Cityfile]

Jann Wenner Buys in Montauk; Whitney Lists in Jersey

cityfile · 10/22/09 07:56AM

Jann Wenner and his partner, Matt Nye, will soon be moving into new digs in Montauk. The founder of Rolling Stone and publisher of Us Weekly and Men's Journal is paying $11.9 million for a 6,300-square-foot home on Old Montauk Highway. The waterfront property had been been originally listed for $14.9 million. [NYP, Corcoran]
• Whitney Houston has put her New Jersey home on the market. The 12,561-square-foot manse in Mendham Township is listed for $2.5 million; her guest cottage next door is no longer available, however. [Real Estalker, CB]
• Real estate developer Ara Hovnanian may have found a buyer for his fourth-floor apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue. Five months after the co-op's board rejected Jeff Blau's $31 million offer, the board has reportedly given the go-ahead to Ken Griffin, the CEO of Chicago-based Citadel Investment Group. The hedge fund billionaire is expected to pay "just under" $35 million. [NYP]
• It looks like Katie Lee is getting the West Village townhouse as part of her split from Billy Joel. The cookbook author is paying Joel $3 million for his share of the the Perry Street home, which the couple purchased in 2005 for $5.9 million. [NYO]

The Biggest Losers

cityfile · 03/25/09 02:04PM

You heard about the 25 men—and they are always men—who were ranked the top-earning hedge fund managers of the year, walking away with a collective $11.6 billion during 2008. What about the biggest losers? Alpha magazine will publish that list tomorrow, but Dealbreaker has the deets on the top three people on the list: In first place is Ken Griffin, who watched $2 billion vanish, while Eddie Lampert came in second, having witnessed $1 billion evaporate into thin air. Right behind him is Steve Cohen, who was mercifully spared a 10-digit loss but still ended up down $750 million on the year. That doesn't account for the unrealized losses related to Cohen's massive art collection, naturally, but you can't really expect Alpha to tackle that. We're counting on you, Artforum! [Dealbreaker]

Merrill's Money Men

cityfile · 03/04/09 06:31AM

• Merrill Lynch's top 10 earners in 2008—a list that Andrew Cuomo will be interested to take a look at—is out. Each made more than $10 million in cash and stock in 2008 as the bank racked up losses of $27.6 billion. [WSJ]
• The private sector lost nearly 700,000 jobs in February. [CNN]
• A UBS exec will address the Swiss bank scandal on Capitol Hill today. [NYT]
• Ben Bernanke yesterday: "If there is a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can't think of one other than AIG." [BN]
• Bill Ackman's hedge fund dropped in February, Ken Griffin gained. [BN, NYP]
• More than 8.3 million mortgages are underwater, according to a report. [BN]
• Bernie Madoff has agreed to give up rights to his investment firm and company art collection. A hearing scheduled for today to look into conflicts of interest on the part of his lawyer, Ira Sorkin, has been postponed. [AP]

The List of Victims Gets Longer

cityfile · 01/07/09 07:21AM

• It wasn't just overly tanned Jews in Palm Beach who were ripped off by Bernie Madoff. London's Evening Standard says Italian fashion designer Valentino may have been a victim as well. [ES]
• Ten days before his arrest, Bernie Madoff convinced elderly Palm Beach entrepreneur and philanthropist Carl Shapiro into giving him an additional $250 million. [WSJ]
• Bank Medici founder Sonja Kohn, who raised $2.1 billion for Madoff from rich Europeans and Russians, is now missing. [NYT]
• Disgraced Madoff pal Ezra Merkin will step down as chair of GMAC. [FT]
• German billionaire Adolf Merckle, who committed suicide earlier this week, was in debt to the tune of $6.7 billion. [BN]
• American companies shed 693,000 jobs in December. [MW]
• Bank of America's Ken Lewis will not be getting a bonus. [BN]
• Ken Griffin's main hedge fund dropped 53 percent in 2008. [CNN]

Auto Bailout Imminent, GMAC in Trouble

cityfile · 12/10/08 06:26AM

♦ Congressional Democrats and the Bush administration are in the final stages of negotiating an auto bailout package. A vote in the House is expected as soon as Wednesday afternoon. [NYT]
♦ Bad news for GMAC: The auto and consumer lender failed to secure additional financial and will not be able to transition to a bank holding company. [CNNMoney]
♦ Yahoo! is expected to hand out 1,500 pink slips today. [CNN]

John Thain's Bonus, Monday Morning Rally

cityfile · 12/08/08 06:19AM

♦ Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is tangling with the bank's board over a $10 million annual bonus he says he deserves for "saving" the firm and selling it to Bank of America. [Reuters]
♦ Ken Griffin's Citadel is closing up shop in Tokyo. [Bloomberg]
♦ UBS may be planning to shed another 4,500 jobs. [DB]
♦ Sam Zell's Tribune Co. has retained Lazard to assist the company with a possible bankruptcy filing. [WSJ]
♦ The outlook is increasingly grim for Wesley Edens' Fortress Investment Group: Shares have gone down more than 90 percent this year. [NYP]
♦ Plenty of problems also face Leon Black and his Apollo Management. [NYT]
♦ But it's been a good year for hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, despite the whole Ashley Dupre thing. [NYM]
♦ Stocks are expected to gain big today with the news of an auto bailout. [CNN]

November: Worst Month in 34 Years

cityfile · 12/05/08 06:29AM

♦ A bruising day in the markets is expected to follow the scary job news this morning: Employers slashed 533,000 jobs last month, making it the most jobs lost in a single month since December of 1974. [CNN]
♦ Merrill Lynch shareholders will vote on the bank's merger with Bank of America today. [DB]
♦ Things are getting worse for hedge fund king Ken Griffin: His Citadel Investment Group was down another 13% in November. [WSJ]
♦ Neel Kashkari says the TARP is working; he and Hank Paulson may be the only ones. [Bloomberg]
♦ Citi has closed on the sale of its German subsidiary to Credit Mutuel-CIC for $6.6 billion. [MW]

Dick Parsons, Steve Rattner, and Hedgies to Capitol Hill

cityfile · 11/13/08 06:27AM

Dick Parsons is the frontrunner to replace Sir Win Bischoff as chairman of Citigroup. [Reuters]
Steve Rattner is shutting down the Quadrangle Group's hedge fund amid weak performance and investor redemptions. [WSJ]
Phil Falcone, Ken Griffin, John Paulson, Jim Simons and George Soros will appear in front of a House panel today. [DB]
♦ Hank Paulson is taking a beating following the news that the Treasury will now focus on struggling consumers, instead of financial institutions. Paulson has become "a reduced figure, damaged by the financial-market meltdown that happened on his watch and by the government's struggles to respond to it." [WSJ, DB, Bloomberg]

Layoffs, Losses and Grim Employment Numbers

cityfile · 11/07/08 06:14AM

♦ Employers cut 240,000 jobs in October, bringing the year's total job losses to nearly 1.2 million. The unemployment rate is now 6.5%, up from from 6.1% in September. [CNNMoney]
♦ Why has the market been falling sharply in recent days? One reason is that hedge funds have been selling billions of their holdings to meet demands for cash from their investors and their lenders. [WSJ]
♦ Citigroup is reportedly planning another round of layoffs. [DB]
♦ Ken Griffin's Citadel says his fund lost about 22 percent last month. [NYP]
♦ The evidence is largely anecdotal, but it appears there's been an increase in suicides related to the financial crisis. [NYT]

The Worst Month Ever Comes to an End

cityfile · 10/31/08 05:25AM

♦ October will go down as one of the gloomiest months in history. [CNN]
♦ Barclays plans to raise $11.8 billion by selling shares to Abu Dhabi and Qatar in order to meet Britain's new capital requirements. [NYT, WSJ]
♦ The banks benefiting from the bailout also owe $40 billion in compensation to employees, just in case you were wondering where your tax dollars were going. [WSJ]
♦ Meanwhile, banking CEOs may be in talks to cap compensation. Or they may just be paying the idea lip service in this sensitive political climate. [WSJ]

Another Week of Worry

cityfile · 10/27/08 05:03AM

♦ Another bad day ahead? U.S. futures are down sharply after losses in Asia and Europe. [Marketwatch]
♦ The Fed starts making loans to American companies today. [WSJ]
♦ Turns out there were some pretty dark days at Goldman last month: Lloyd Blankfein called Citi chief Vikram Pandit to discuss a merger just after Lehman went bankrupt. [FT, WSJ]
♦ Citadel's Ken Griffin remains in the hot seat after rumors of steep losses led him to hold a rare conference call on Friday evening. [NYP, NYT]

Another Bad Day Ahead

cityfile · 10/24/08 04:50AM

♦ This could get messy: Asian and European markets were mauled on Friday, pointing to another monumental beating for the U.S. market today. [MW]
♦ A recap of Alan Greenspan's humiliating day in front of members of a congressional panel yesterday. [NYT, NYP]
♦ One of the very few people who is having an exceptional year: John Paulson, whose three funds are up between 15 and 25 percent. [WSJ]

Street Talk: Another Day of Anxiety

cityfile · 10/16/08 05:09AM

♦ The Dow's huge drop yesterday led to an massive sell-off overnight in Asia. What will happen today is anybody's guess. [Marketwatch]
♦ Citigroup reported a $2.8 billion loss for the third quarter. [WSJ]
♦ Merrill Lynch did even worse, reporting $5.2 billion in losses for the quarter. [Bloomberg]

Street Talk: Fed Takes More Action

cityfile · 10/07/08 05:14AM

♦ Invoking emergency powers, the Fed will create a special fund to buy up commercial paper—short-term debt that companies typically use for such things as payroll—in an effort to ease up the credit markets. [Bloomberg]
♦ Wachovia and its sparring suitors, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, have agreed to a two-day truce as negotiators try to work out a resolution. [WSJ, DB]
♦ Did you miss Lehman CEO Dick Fuld's testimony before the House yesterday? A recap. [WSJ, FT, NYT]
♦ Bank of America reports that profits plunged 68% in the third quarter. [CNNMoney]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/26/08 05:10AM
  • The merger market is experiencing its slowest August in 16 years. [Reuters]