If you are an influential user of a Bloomberg terminal—the $24,000-per-year glorified computers that the company sells to Wall Street trading firms, politicians, and banks—there's a chance the company's news division has a file on you that's chock full of personal information about your family, your predilections, and your 24-hour contact information. And it's accessible to all 2,400 journalists at Bloomberg News.
A high-ranking newsroom official for Bloomberg News was ordered last year to cut off reporters' access to information about how clients used the company's information terminals, according to a former Bloomberg reporter, but the spying continued anyway. The order followed complaints from JPMorgan Chase that Bloomberg reporters had used JPMorgan's terminal-use records to break stories about the "London Whale” trading debacle, which led to more than $6 billion in losses for the company.
What if the privacy breach that exposes the inner workings of Wall Street didn't come from hackers or careless inside traders, but rather from the machines that undergird the finance sector's entire operation? The New York Post reports that Goldman Sachs is up in arms with Bloomberg LP after it found Bloomberg reporters using Bloomberg terminals to track employee activity at the investment firm.
Even after our heartfelt appeal for someone, anyone to stop the pimped-out madness that has overtaken Ed McMahon's life, the 85-year-old was featured in an interview this morning of Fox Business, shilling once again for his latest benefactors. But when the chat turned from McMahon's evidently in-demand personal finance tips to his reported bailout by the archangel Donald Trump, the pitchman and ex-Carson sidekick shrugged. "Everything that seems like its wonderful becomes unclear," he said, noting that he still had some Trump-work to do upon returning to Beverly Hills from his East Coast sojourn. "That has not resolved itself yet." No way! Ed explains more after the jump, and while we know the popular warning in investing is that past results are no guarantee of future performance, this really might be just the deal for the short seller in you. [YouTube]
An Intuit tipster tells us that management gathered up the peons for a "a rah rah speech about making us the most admired company that everyone wants to work for," yesterday. Then they unveiled the new logo, pictured. "Needless to say no one in the Valley seemed to pay attention." Sure, we're watching Intuit! Just the other day we reported that instead of keeping cash or investing in a more liquid instrument, Intuit owns about $328 million in auction-rate securities — you know, the kind no one's willing to buy.
Instead of holding onto cash, tech firms such as Monster, Palm, Intuit, EarthLink and MetroPCS in recent years bought something called auction-rate securities. Basically — very basically — that means these companies loaned out around $856 million because banks told them they'd earn more than they would just holding on to the cash. Only thing is now, with the credit markets being what they are — crappy — no one else wants to buy the rights to collect on those loans. So all that cash is sewn up in paper. That could soon hurt because the companies are going to need that cash eventually, an exec at one Wall Street trading firm told the WSJ. And when they do, he said, they should expect "a steep loss."
The sale of 666 Fifth Avenue, the building purchased by the Kushner Companies just back in January for $1.8 billion dollars, is now being held up as an example of the bygone crazy financing of yesterday. (Remember early 2007? Wasn't it nuts?) The Kushner family got an interest-only mortgage for $1.215 billion—that's the kind of mortgage the poor people get too! But the mortgage was based on potential projected rental income rates, not the insanely cheap leases that currently exist—and the retail space is locked in for another seven years. So the building's shortfall between its mortgage and its income is just $5 million a month. (This will really add up as the years go by.) So to keep the building, the company is using its own cash to pay back things like $200 million bridge loans! [NYT]