Rumours hit the Here Is The City news desk this morning that Citi was likely to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy imminently, after Middle-Eastern investors, specifically the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, had allegedly pulled its $7.5bn investment in the company.
Reuters reports that Citi is said to have received bids for Nikko Cordial's global merchant banking business (excluding the principal investments unit). Nothing is thought likely to happen in the next couple of weeks, however, as executives have been mired in year-end and busy announcing asset write-downs.
Reuters reports that shares in French bank Societe Generale fell some 8.2% Friday, following rumors that the bank will need to take some more subprime-related write-downs in its fourth quarter.
Despite that huge 2007 loss, after massive asset write-downs, the mood over at Merrill Lynch is anything but miserable. With bonuses generally up and many business units enjoying record years, staff are confident that profits will return this year and that Merrill Lynch is going in the right direct. And that's down to new CEO John Thain.
There's a huge uproar over the fact that some of Wall Street's finest firms had a torrid time in 2007, saw their shares take a battering and yet staff still walked off with record bonus payouts.
The Financial Times reports that UBS is to 'shake up' its investment bank by halving the number of staff who work in the unit's real estate and securitization businesses. The firm is also said to be pulling out of fixed-income prop trading in the US and combining its global debt and equity operations too.
There's been a bit of a stink over at Bank of America's Tokyo office overnight. Panic ensued when a dead fish failed to surface in a tank in one of the top fixed income knob's offices. The clean-up brigade swung into action, but a bad odour remained even after the expired fishie was flushed down the loo. Five hours later someone noticed another dead fish. Was it sabotage ?
The Wall Street Journal reports that the rumours circulating the markets Thursday that UniCredit was poised to make an audacious bid for sticken Merrill Lynch have been kicked into touch. UniCredit has come out and 'categorically' denied the reports.
Here's one league table WestLB will be happy to be bottom of - the Top 15 firms in terms of published 2007 write-downs (note that this might not end up being the final table as several firms haven't reported their full 2007 earnings yet).
Ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) has claimed the lawsuit filed against it by the US Justice Department was 'retaliation' against its decision to downgrade the US's credit rating.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
A former Goldman Sachs trader who pleaded guilty in a criminal case earlier this year to fabricating huge positions to protect his bonus agreed on Friday to pay a $500,000 fine in a related civil matter.