Friday Morning News (1/20/12): Blackstone Executives Hiding Pay

Every morning the Street of Walls team puts out an update on market levels, valuewalk newstoday’s top stories, and active M&A deals.

Today’s Top Stories:

  • Debt Ceiling Up Again in Nov: the latest $1.2T debt ceiling increase may not last through the Nov elections, meaning another drawn out battle could occur right around the time Americans are heading to polls (Reuters)
  • Bank of America IB Results: BAC IB reported revenue of $1.05 billion, down 33.9% vs. the same quarter last year
  • Al-Qaida operative killed in drone strike: A senior al-Qaida operations planner was among those killed in a recent drone strike in Pakistan, a U.S. official told CNN
  • Homeowner Spending Picking Up: Americans are stepping up spending on home improvements for the first time in years, giving a small lift to the beleaguered construction sector
  • Foreclosure Deal: While the nation’s five biggest mortgage servicers are ready to sign off on a sweeping foreclosure settlement, it’s state and federal officials who are still fine-tuning the deal
  • Akanthose Buying FCSC: Akanthos Capital Management disclosed that it currently owns 2.5% of the outstanding common stock of Fibrocell Science (OTCBB:FCSC)
  • BNP selling Assets: BNP Paribas has been selling assets in order to be compliant with Basel 3 financial regulations by Jan. 1, Paribas North America CEO Everett Schenk told CNBC Thursday
  • Morgan Stanley IB Results: MS reported 4Q investment banking revenue of $883mn, down -41.7% vs. the same period a year ago
  • Blackstone Hiding Fortune: Blackstone is converting part of its 14.1% stake in the company to nonvoting preferred stock to avoid having to make certain disclosures
  • MS Reducing Banker Pay: reducing pay for senior investment bankersand traders by an average of 20 percent to 30 percent for 2011 (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Seeing Withdraws: the industry had net withdrawals of ~$127M in the final three months of ’11.  This was the first net contraction since Q2:09 (WSJ)
  • Worst Earnings: “our strategist yesterday noted that the ratio of negative pre-announcements to positive is at its worst level since 2009” (Barclays)
  • GOOG Results: “GOOG reported 4Q11 results that were short of our expectations, driven by revenue growth of 25%, 5% under our estimate. Margins, however, beat by ~260 bps, resulting in in-line non-GAAP EBIT of $4b. An impairment charge for CLWR, hedging expenses, and higher tax rate accounted for the variance in non-GAAP EPS of $9.50 vs our CS est of $10.16” (Credit Suisse)

M&A Watch:

  • Weekly M&A Trends: M&A volumes increased 44% while equity and debt underwriting rose substantially
Disclosure: I do not have a position in any stocks mentioned in this article, do not have a plan to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.
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