Felix Salmon

How the Citi stock offering flopped

The Citigroup secondary offering yesterday, which went much worse than planned, is a prime example of the difference between primary and secondary markets. A lot of investors simply assume without thinking too much about it that a rising stock price is always a good thing for the company in question, and they’re right to do so. But there are two kinds of stock price, and sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference.

Counterparties

ProPublica tries its hand at crowdsourcing a CDO story — ProPublica

Interesting, what the LA Times considers “outwardly unpretentious” — Radosh

Lawless Russia

Just in case you were feeling all happy about the book giveaway, let me bring you down to earth by pointing you to Law and Order in Russia, a website set up by Hermitage Capital Management in memory of their noble Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. Do read his story, it’s horrific, and I hope it shames the Russian government to do more than simply fire major general Anatoly Mikhalkin of the Moscow Interior Ministry (although that’s a good start).

Holiday book giveaway

Many thanks to Abnormal Returns for inspiring me to give away the large pile of books that has slowly been accumulating on my desk over the past year. Some are galleys, some are duplicates, some I’ve started reading but know I’ll never finish; all of them will have much better homes elsewhere. So If you want one of these books, just send an email with your mailing address to salmonbooks@gmail.com and I’ll cross it off the list. Happy holidays!

Guy Hands and Citi’s Chinese walls

Terra Firma has filed a slightly batshit lawsuit against Citigroup, in which the poor sheeplike Guy Hands claims he only bid for EMI because Citi’s David Wormsley told him he ought to.

Ben Bernanke, Person of the Year

Reading Michael Grunwald’s homage to Ben Bernanke, the 2009 Person of the Year, what’s striking is the list of defenders and opponents. At the top of the piece, Grunwald talks about how he has been assailed by “criticism from all directions”, but doesn’t really name names, relying instead on generalities such as “bleeding-heart liberals and tea-party reactionaries alike”. The list of named detrators is: Ron Paul, on the right, and Paul Krugman, on the left.

Counterparties

Tyler Cowen on whether we should read great thinkers or their distillers. I agree, but: Kripke on Wittgenstein — MR

The rise of India’s moneylenders

Ketaki Gokhale has a fascinating article on the way in which traditional high-interest moneylending has grown in India alongside microfinance, rather than being marginalized by it:

Why decline $80,000 for doing nothing?

This Elizabeth Wurtzel piece has been gnawing at me all day:

The class of associates that just joined Cravath was asked to defer their arrival for a year in exchange for a sweet deal: They would receive $80,000 to not work, plus they would get benefits and student-loan payments. This offer was optional…