Levine on Wall Street: Keep Your Friends Close (With Non-Solicit Agreements)

Here we have "Progressive Kristallnacht" and debates over securities law materiality, so something for everyone.

JPMorgan and KKR can't stay mad at each other forever.

Here is a story about Frank Bisignano, a JPMorgan executive who wanted to succeed Jamie Dimon as chief executive officer, but was told that "he wouldn't realize that career ambition at J.P. Morgan and that if he wanted to be CEO he should look elsewhere." So he did, and became chief executive officer of First Data, a payment processor owned by KKR & Co. Then he hired a bunch of his friends from JPMorgan, starting by hiring "two key J.P. Morgan executives -- Guy Chiarello and Christine Larsen -- to be president and chief operations officer. " Often one person does both of those jobs but I guess he wanted lots of familiar faces around. Bisignano had a nonsolicit agreement with JPMorgan but hilariously "KKR argued that it was First Data that hired the newcomers," not Bisignano, which is technically true -- they're not his butler, he's not signing their paychecks personally -- but extremely silly. Eventually they reached a settlement where First Data will cut JPMorgan a check and they'll be friends again. Dimon and Bisignano too: "Mr. Dimon and Mr. Bisignano have spoken recently and are on better terms, said a person familiar with those conversations," which is sweet.

Soon it will be the Doritos Premier League.

Barclays has had some embarrassments, but at least it sponsors a bunch of high-profile sportsy things, so it has that going for it. I am a fan both of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Barclays Premier League in the UK, but apparently some people at Barclays are not:

Barclays is considering ending its £40m-a-year sponsorship of the Premier League after senior figures at the bank said it had "zero value" in the UK.

I have to say that 40 million pounds a year to have what I will blithely assert is the world's most popular sportsy thing named after you seems like a crazy bargain. Though on the other hand no one really calls it the "Barclays Premier League," plus, who is going out and buying structured financial products because of that name? I don't know. Apparently "the Premier League's sponsorship deal was most useful for promoting the bank in Asia and Africa but Barclays could now explore other ways of getting its name recognised in overseas territories." Like manipulating Libor? That's definitely gotten them some attention.

Soon it will be Kleiner Caulfield & Byers.

Tom Perkins is a founder of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, though he's no longer affiliated with them. He is also, irresistibly, a rich guy who once killed a man with his yacht. He seems to have had an odd week last week, judging by the letter to the editor that he published in the Wall Street Journal, which was intended to "call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'" So that was fun.

Materiality and price impact .

Here's a law professor writing about some stuff we've discussed here -- the securities-law concept of materiality and the reasonable investor -- but he seems to have it backwards:

So which is it? Must a fact have price impact to be material? Or is it enough that the fact is important to investors even though it does not affect market price? Although these two definitions of materiality seem to be completely at odds with each other, they can in fact be reconciled. The apparent conflict comes from focusing on an individual reasonable investor in one case and the collective action of many such investors in the other case. To be material, a fact need not be so important that every investor would alter his behavior or change his mind somehow. But a fact cannot be material if it has no perceptible effect on the behavior of any investor.

But what if it has a perceptible effect on investors' behavior, without any of it being reasonable? What if those investors are all algorithms and lack the power of reason?

A lawyer is bankrupt .

"How far does $375,000 a year go in New York City?" is where James Stewart loses me here, but this is an interesting story about how being a lawyer who is very good at "financing and debt structuring in mergers and acquisitions" may not be enough to pay the bills. If the bills are bigger than $375,000 a year, which they are for Gregory M. Owens, a non-equity service partner at White & Case who filed for personal bankruptcy in December.

People blog.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money," and I try not to either, but the internet loves its blockheads, and so there's been a recent spate of meditations on blogging. Here is Will Wilkinson, who blogs about politics for money at The Economist for money, writing (for free) about the value of unpaid personal blogging as a tool of self-definition, as a way to help "the blogger locate and comprehend himself as a node in the social world." Here is The Epicurean Dealmaker, who blogs about finance for free (and pseudonymously) writing about blogging as a tool of character construction, as a way to "create, cultivate, and grow an online character which, thanks to forces completely outside his control, becomes widely known among thousands of strangers and takes on the force of reality for private and public persons alike." And here is Freddie deBoer, who blogs for free, saying that he can "like blogging now because whatever vestigial coolness it once had was gone." That seems right! I mourn for my vestigial coolness.

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

    (Matt Levine writes about Wall Street and the financial world for Bloomberg View.)

    To contact the author on this story:
    Matthew S Levine at mlevine51@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor on this story:
    Toby Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

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