Weil on Finance: Dell’s Haunted House

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
Read More.
a | A

Greetings, View fans. On with today's morning links.

The deal to take Dell private

Bloomberg News has a good tick-tock of how the deal to take Dell Inc. private went down, including on-the-record interviews with the major players. Here's how Jimmy Lee, the longtime investment-banking chief at JPMorgan Chase, described Michael Dell's experience: "This is a guy from Austin who founded his own technology company and now he is on Wall Street trying to buy it out and he is entering an unknown world. It's like going into a haunted house," he said, "and every time you go around a corner some ghost pops up, and then a witch flies down on a broom, and then you go into another room and some devil tries to stab you with a pitchfork."

Why would anyone give money to crowdfunders ?

Don't expect a return on investment. Ohio State law professor Steven Davidoff has this to say about the Securities and Exchange Commission's new rule proposal: "With crowdfunding, even if a company is successful, there is probably no way to exit or even control the company. As the SEC acknowledged in its release last week, these companies are extremely unlikely to go public. It all means that you will have better odds at the casino than investing in crowdfunded companies." The phenomenon is going global. The South China Morning Post has a story today about crowdfunding coming to Hong Kong.

A plea deal for SAC Capital?

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people, reports that "SAC Capital Advisors LP will plead guilty to securities fraud as part of a landmark criminal insider-trading settlement with federal prosecutors set to be announced by next week." The newspaper said Steven Cohen's firm would agree to stop managing outside money and to pay $1.2 billion of fines. Then again, the whole thing could fall apart. So, who knows what to make of this?

Sears is still an utter mess

From Justin Lahart of the Wall Street Journal: "Sears explained that the moves to split its businesses -- a shareholder spinoff for Lands' End, an as-yet unspecified transaction for the auto business -- would let the two divisions `pursue their own strategic opportunities, optimize their capital structures, attract talent, and allocate capital in a more focused manner.'" Eddie Lampert, the hedge-fund manager and Sears chief executive officer, "has had years to convincingly turn Sears around, and hasn't done so. The latest maneuver looks more like a reshuffling of the deck than dealing the business a new hand."

A noteworthy Bill Gross tweet

From the Pimco bond manager's Twitter feed: "All risk asset prices artificially high. When won't they be? When they don't produce growth in real economy. Is 2% GDP enough?"

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net