Pimp Their Jets!You thought you had problems. Try finding someone to install a mother-of-pearl ceiling on your private jet.
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Vikram Pandit Gets a Write-down, Foreign Capital for His BirthdayYesterday was new Citigroup honcho Vikram Pandit’s 51st birthday, and pretty much everyone forgot, since this morning he had to announce the largest quarterly loss in his bank’s history. To be sure, the $18.1 billion subprime-mortgage-related write-down is not as much as the $24 billion that was predicted over the weekend, but it was enough that it led to a fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion. But there was a silver lining: The bank says it has plans to raise upwards of $12.5 billion through a private securities sale, which includes $6.88 billion from Singapore. They also expect the Kuwait Investment Authority, Alwaleed bin Talal, and even former Citigroup CEO Sanford “Sandy” Weill to kick in with investments. That’s “a huge vote of confidence on [Weill’s] part,” one analyst told Reuters. “I’m surprised to see his name there.” We wonder if Pandit is surprised. Maybe today after work, he’ll go outside and Weill will be waiting for him in his red convertible. “Me?” Pandit will say. “Yeah, you,” Weill will say, and later that night they’ll share kisses over birthday cake while the Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here” plays softly in the background.
Citigroup raising $14.5 billion [Reuters]
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Two Princes “The patience of shareholders is getting thin I’m patient, but enough is enough,” Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Citigroup’s largest single and occasionally, fabulously critical shareholder said back in 2006, when the bank reported lower than expected earnings. It came as a surprise today, then, after CEO Chuck Prince’s announcement that he expected profits this quarter to have fallen by 60 percent and the bank’s generally poor performance has had industry-watchers and analysts calling for his head for quite some time now, that Alwaleed did not take this opportunity to lay his smackdown on the CEO but held his arms open for a hug. “I’m backing the management of Citi and Chuck Prince. They have my full support,” he told the Journal this morning, referring to the loss as a “hiccup”. Which totally reminds us of how whenever Lindsay Lohan has to go rehab, her publicist says it’s “exhaustion.”