Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack grapples with plummeting profits and a rogue trader, a summer associate messes with the wrong guy at the company picnic, and Rachael Ray buys in the Hamptons, in our daily roundup of finance, law, media, and real-estate news.
The Lehmann Brothers CEO says he's "disappointed" by losses as rumors of the firm's demise intensify, 'Bazaar' editor Glenda Bailey becomes a dame, and Britney's NYC apartment goes on the market in today's roundup of news from the realms of finance, media, real estate, and law.
After this weekend's deal to sell collapsing investment bank Bear Stearns to JPMorgan, market watchers were frantically scanning the horizon to see which financial firm might be next. The name on everybody's lips turned out to be Lehman Brothers. The bank, whose profile is similar to that of Bear Stearns, was a major player in the subprime-mortgage market as of last summer, and its shares have tumbled from $82 then to $31.75 last night. It's also the smallest of the most important Wall Street power firms. But Lehman CEO Richard Fuld aggressively made it clear yesterday that if there is in fact a domino effect among the firms, it won't be his company that will be tumbled first. Why?
• Because Lehman learned a ton from a similar crisis in 1998, after a panic over Russian debt, and returned stronger.
• As a result, they have a much higher level of liquidity this time around. Like, $35 billion in cash and liquid assets, on top of $160 billion in "unencumbered" assets, so it can borrow more.
How humiliating is it to be dropped off Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires? Just ask Jimmy Cayne and Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld. Cayne, who stepped down from Bear Stearns earlier this year, and Fuld, who it was just announced raked in a paltry $40 million in 2007, were notably absent from this year's list, which was released yesterday. Does this mean they will be turned away from Steve Schwarzman's next birthday party? Will it be like, I'm sorry, sirs. Only billionaires are allowed here? If that's the case, it's going to be a pretty small crowd, unless Schwarzie plans to hold his fiesta in Moscow. This year, the Russian capital eclipsed New York in the amount of billionaires per capita: We have only 71, with an average net worth of $3.3 billion each, whereas in Russia, 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion each, are whooping it up with the caviar blini. So other than deadbeats Fuld and Cayne, who else is keeping us down?
Hey, did you hear? Steve Schwarzman was in a fight with Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan and Richard Fuld, the CEO of Lehmann Brothers, after the banks refused to help Blackstone purchase-mortgage lender and vehicle fleet manager PHH, after they'd promised to. What really got Schwarzman's goat was the fact that they did help finance Sam Zell's purchase of the Tribune because, according to the Post, Zell is a "nice guy." So actually it's kind of like that part in Mean Girls, when Gretchen and Karen tell Regina she can't sit with them at lunch because she's wearing sweatpants, but really it's because she's a bitch. Anyway, Schwarzman must have realized that the rest of his high school Wall Street career would be hell if he didn't make up with Dimon and Fuld, so he went to see them and apologized in person, not even just over e-mail. Now everything is okay. "It seems we are friends again," a source told the Post. "It was in nobody's interest to carry on this p***ing contest and Stephen graciously recognized that." Yeah, but wait till the pages of his burn book get leaked.
Steve's Sorry [NYP]
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a regulatory filing, Lehman CEO and chairman Richard Fuld, possessor of what is probably the most villainous face on Wall Street, received a nice little present this year: a stock grant valued at $35 million. This is way up from the $10 mil he made last year, basically because Lehman's losses from underwriting of mortgage-backed bonds were not as bad as analysts expected. You'd think he'd at least smile.
Lehman CEO Recieves Stock Grant of $35 Million [WSJ]