Felix Salmon

The “FDIC lotto” reason banks aren’t lending

“A California Banker” writes to Mish, giving yet another reason why banks aren’t lending:

Acquiring companies with stock

John Gapper and Nadav Manham have both picked up on Warren Buffett’s explanation of how he thinks about M&A, especially when a company is paying with stock:

Against the optimists

One of the more annoying aspects of the Davos echo-chamber is the way in which people are constantly asking each other what “the mood” is this year; the result is an inchoate consensus that since the crisis is over, markets are up, and countries are growing again, there must be grounds for optimism and the kind of yes-we-can thinking in which the World Economic Form has always specialized.

Howard Davies, man of the people

Howard Davies has taken an early lead in the Great Davos Narcissism Stakes, with this classic parenthetical:

Security at Davos

As the World Economic Forum kicks off in earnest, the only real cause of buzz so far has been the apparent suicide of its long-time security chief, Markus Reinhardt. Reinhardt was an aggressive man: he took the decision to fire water cannons at demonstrators in sub-freezing temperatures in 2001; he was also acquitted of murder in 2002 after ordering the lethal shooting of a man.

Why it’s safe to ignore Davos

Lawrence Delevingne has got Davos completely wrong: his list of “The Only 12 Davos Panels Worth Paying Attention To” is in fact a list of the 12 panels which can be safely ignored by just about all the delegates here. Larry Summers is more likely to turn up with only one chin than he is to commit anything approaching news in his Saturday discussion with Charlie Rose. People looking for interesting investment ideas would probably be better served by something like the “What is Life?” panel on Wednesday — and they’ll certainly find it much more interesting.

Ordering expensive wine by mistake

If you order a $2,000 bottle of wine by mistake — or even a $6,000 bottle, for that matter — you have no one to blame but yourself: getting angry at the restaurant is silly, even if it’s psychologically understandable. But I think there’s something missing from the commentary about these cases: part of the reason for the anger is that the drinkers in question didn’t get anything like full value out of the wines.

Looking for contrition in Davos

So I’ve arrived in snowy Davos, where with typical modesty the miscellaneous moguls will attempt to “Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild”. (Seriously, that’s the official slogan this year.) The official “purpose” page is full of claptrap of the highest order — a “Network of Global Agenda Councils” “driving the rethink” over here; “an unprecedented multistakeholder dialogue ” over there; and on top of it all, naturally, “a collaborative platform that integrates Web 2.0 technology”.

Counterparties

Dan Primack has a bone to pick with PRs: PE Hub

I wonder whether the Times-Picayune will lose money on increasing and reprinting its press run after the Saints win — Nola