Round 1 of Lewis vs. HFT debate goes to CNBC

The TXU buyout went poorly.

"KKR & Co., TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the firms that acquired Energy Future Holdings Corp. in the biggest-ever leveraged buyout, would be all but wiped out in a reorganization plan being discussed," ending up with something like 1 percent of the post-bankruptcy equity. You could have a model where the biggest-ever leveraged buyout is destined to go poorly: As long as the boom continues, buyouts will keep getting bigger, so the biggest one is naturally the last one before the music stops. That's not a good place to be.

JPMorgan is going to war with Russia.

JPMorgan "blocked a transfer by Russia’s embassy in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to Sogaz, an insurance company part- owned by Bank Rossiya, one of the targets of US sanctions announced on March 20," and Russia is retaliating against U.S. diplomatic missions. Against the diplomatic missions, mind you, not against JPMorgan, which I guess is too-big-to-retaliate- against-in-international-diplomatic-disputes. Apparently "the blocked payment that triggered the fresh international incident was for less than $5,000."

How should we change the rules on activist investing?

Here is Dealpolitiker Ronald Barusch, who is probably less pro-activist than I am, with some ideas on how to fix some perceived problems with activist investing. The main problem he sees is, "why wouldn't we favor full disclosure over helping an activist acquire stock at a low price?" He asks that rhetorically but I guess you could apply it to any investor. Say Warren Buffett: Make him disclose his plans to buy any shares before he buys them. See what happens. See if he complains. Investors like to own their private information. Remember how much they complain about high frequency trading?

Things happen.

"I was supposed to build an email thing," says the guy who built an email thing. Investors keep being nervous about Pimco. Employees keep being nervous about SAC, or, sorry, Point72. Honestly it was always a little odd to have a leading business school named "Thunderbird."

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