Levine on Wall Street: Grains of Sand and Pictures of Yachts
Mathew Martoma's jury is
thinking it over
People sometimes worry that juries can't follow the intricacies of white-collar criminal cases, but the jury in Mathew Martoma's insider trading case wants to review a neurologist's testimony about whether a press release about Phase 2 clinical trials of bapineuzumab contained the same information as a presentation summarizing those trials' results. That seems reasonably conscientious of them, piling neurological intricacy on top of financial intricacy. It would be kind of amazing if Mathew Martoma gets acquitted: Pretty much alone of all the recent insider trading cases, his has an insider who testified that he gave Martoma illegal inside information. If he's the one person who gets off, a lot of the people convicted on considerably weaker evidence will have some awkward questions for their lawyers.
And his trial doesn't reflect well on Steve Cohen.
Here is Bethany McLean parsing the Martoma trial and comparing it to SAC Capital's white paper from last July that explained why Steve Cohen wasn't failing to supervise all the insider trading that went on at SAC. She is unimpressed: The white paper defended SAC's use of dark pools to hide its controversial Elan and Wyeth trades from the market, but the trial brought out the fact that SAC also used secret internal accounts to hide those trades from everyone else at SAC. Including compliance, apparently, who were never informed that the firm was dumping stock in the week leading up to a big announcement.
Everyone's quitting their
Well, every foreign exchange trader is quitting. Every regulator is launching a probe into foreign exchange practices. Let's meet back here in 2019 to talk about all the terrible instant messages they uncover.
Twitter announced earnings.
You know where you can probably find some analysis of what these earnings mean? On Twitter.
What did they use the gold for?
Some guys on Staten Island were just convicted of fraud over a scheme in which they told investors that they were investing in a lawsuit funding firm. Really it was just a money-stealing firm: "Rather than make investments as promised, Liounis and his coconspirators stole the investors' money to purchase gold for their own use." Seems about right.
Yahoo pays its failures well.
Henrique de Castro, Yahoo's recently ousted chief operating officer, is a bit of a scandal insofar as he made $109 million for his 15 months of pretty poorly-received work. "The decision to pursue Mr. de Castro so aggressively, but to then sever the company's relationship with him so quickly, does not give us confidence that Yahoo's turnaround strategy is progressing as you and we might have hoped," says a Yahoo investor, reasonably enough.
Google pays its executive chairman well.
What would happen if everyone was paid what Gawker writers thought they deserved? Probably terrible things. But, yes, Eric Schmidt is rich.
MicroStrategy's CEO has a lot of free time.
What would happen if everyone was paid what activist hedge funds thought they deserved? I submit there would be an even wider dispersion of outcomes. Anyway Apex Capital, whose chief investment officer says "We are not activist shareholders per se," got pretty fed up with the CEO of one of its investments, MicroStrategy. Apparently he spends a lot of time on or near yachts, and then tweets pictures of said yachts. The yachts are probably fine but the tweeting is right out, inspiring the not-per-se-activists at Apex to send a strongly worded letter.
Get a thousand suits for a dollar.
What would happen if Jerry Seinfeld did M&A analysis? This, basically.
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.)
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