Levine on Wall Street: Market Closings

Do you want your M&A adviser to be not just your banker, but also your friend? And have a brother, just in case? Also classicists are the best law students, which may be relevant only to me.

Goldman might close its dark pool.

Or it might not. If you doubt Goldman's public-relations genius, consider that it is a hero of "Flash Boys" for sending its orders to IEX for 51 minutes, and then stopping. I bet the algorithm includes the line "IF Michael Lewis is currently sitting in the offices of a trading venue writing a laudatory book about its founders, THEN send orders there until he leaves." And bank dark pools are Bad for the time being, so Goldman is considering shutting down Sigma X, its dark pool, for the time being. "No decision is imminent, and Goldman could keep the business." Meanwhile, Teza Technologies may take outside money, and if you can guess "The ONE Revelation About HFT Programs That Truly Scares Bankers," you win an ounce of paper gold.

The IPO window is closing .

The S&P was down more than 1 percent on Monday, and La Quinta Holdings's initial public offering priced below the range yesterday evening, so this is not really shaping up to be good timing for the week "expected to be the busiest for initial public offerings in more than seven years." There are plausible supply and demand reasons that a bunch of deals coming all at once would limit investor appetite for any individual deal. "I'm not gonna pay up for La Quinta," you might say, "I've got Zoe's Kitchen coming in a couple of days." I guess those are pretty different businesses but an IPO is an IPO, right?

The CME was closed for a bit.

"CME Group Inc., the world's largest futures market, said 'technical issues' prompted it to halt trading of about two dozen contracts on its Globex futures and options markets." From the quotes here, you'd get the impression that the biggest problem with electronic trading is that, when it goes wrong, you have to go back to old-fashioned floor trading, and that is terrible:

The trading halt "created a big mess," said Dennis Smith, a senior account executive at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, who was trying to sell corn contracts when the system went down. He said he called down to the pit to get his orders executed. "It was a real headache. It just created a whole bunch of confusion," he said.

Two brothers are 15 percent of the European M&A league tables.

This is a good case study in how to talk about your boutique mergers and acquisitions advisory business. Former bank M&A stars Yoel (Goldman) and Michael (Morgan Stanley) Zaoui advertise a small elite staff, senior-level attention, 24/7 responsiveness, and also their personal friendship:

"Because our model is based on our personal intense involvement, we do not want to, neither need to, focus on a large number of clients," said Michael Zaoui, 56, who led Morgan Stanley's M&A team to the top of European league tables for several years.
"It is like very good friends ... how many can you really have? On the other side, we are immediately available to clients 24/7 and they really value that."

Slick. It appears to be working.

Multilevel marketers are good at lobbying .

In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a "Business Opportunity Rule" to require people selling business opportunities to "to hand potential customers a one-page document revealing some seemingly simple facts about what they were up to," including information about refund policies and documentation of income claims. The multilevel marketing industry lobbied to be exempted from the rule, and mostly was. As this Verge article points out, that's pretty weird, since multilevel marketers are a pretty big source of paid-for business opportunities with overpromised income claims. Herbalife and its friends spend a lot more lobbying money than Bill Ackman, is the major takeaway here, and have gotten more for their money. Meanwhile, stay out of the virtual concierge business, I can't really understand what it is but there is a video. Basically if you think you've found a business opportunity on YouTube, you'll be better off just lighting all your money on fire, filming it, putting it on YouTube, and sending the SEC a link.

Would you like to read a debate about the SEC's blockholder disclosure rules?

If so, click that link; if not, not. That's how it works around here. Here are my most recent thoughts on blockholder disclosure, but this debate features a partner at Pershing Square and a bunch of Columbia Law School professors.

Things happen .

Warren Buffett wants to protect his cubs. Font war!, and here is a very pretty article about bond-market liquidity. "A country club in Midtown Manhattan that doubles as a golf-focused gym," sure. Advertisement for movie about bloggers includes the words "with stunning cinematography." Classics majors make the best law students. r > g. "You need to know, for example, whether the police commissioner is really dealing drugs." (Via.)

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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