DealZone

from Summit Notebook:

Nasdaq president to finance companies: come hither

A fertile planting ground for tech, biotech and even some energy offerings, Nasdaq OMX has historically struggled to lure listings in some other areas, notably financial services.

Now, that could be about to change, Nasdaq OMX President Magnus Bocker said at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit. As Nasdaq looks for ways to attract new listings and end a virtual drought in IPOs, it sees financial services firms as one of the most promising areas.

That Nasdaq would at least be hoping to narrow the gap in financial services listings with NYSE, the traditional ruler of the space, is not as out of left field as it might sound.

The exchange has already made some inroads and can point to some recent conquests like CME Group, which moved from a dual listing on Nasdaq and NYSE to a sole Nasdaq listing. Northern Trust, the fund administrator which has weathered the financial crisis with relative ease compared with some larger rivals, is another bright point.

And looking forward, such longtime NYSE stalwarts as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have both recently been reportedly eyeing spinoffs of high risk units -- like Morgan Stanley's trading desk and Citigroup's Phibro energy unit. And there's even talk that Bank of America could eventually spin off Merrill Lynch.

The pizza guy will miss AIG-FP’s business

98401205_3In Wilton, Connecticut, a bucolic town an hour’s drive from Manhattan, there is nowhere for AIG’s derivatives whiz kids to run, but neither is there a need to hide.

Even as questions of who is benefiting from AIG’s billions of bailout dollars stir resentment on Wall Street, people in Wilton — where AIG Financial Products, the unit that built highly complex trading instruments that eventually gutted the insurer, is based — aren’t throwing any brickbats.

People who live in the area said they have very little interaction with the dozens of businesses based in Connecticut’s dollar-dripping “Gold Coast,” dotted with golf courses and 10,000 square-foot homes.

Allen Stanford: Tales from Mexia

stanfordTrying to report the comprehensive story of Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused of perpetrating an $8 billion fraud, is like trying to reassemble 100 documents after they’ve been through the shredder.

Stanford’s business and sports interests and the subsequent investigations into them stretch across the ocean, through numerous government agencies and courts and into the lives of people in places big and small.

As usual, there was too much to fit into any one story.

Last week I flew from New York to Houston and drove about three hours north to Mexia, Texas the small town where Stanford grew up. I wrote about Mexia here, and about Stanford’s complicated personal ties — apparently he charmed women as well as investors and has left an angry trail of both, including an estranged wife, several girlfriends and six children with four women.

AIG says to report ‘earnings’. Really???

American International Group, the once giant insurer which has become best known as a sinkhole for government money, says it will report third-quarter results on Nov. 10.

Most notable was how AIG described what almost certainly was one of the ugliest reporting periods in financial history: “AIG’s earnings release and financial supplement will be available in the investor information section” of its website.

Earnings? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the use of the word “earnings” means money was earned during the quarter, or that the company will report there was money left in the coffer after pay outs. That is unlikely, at least based on analysts’ expectations.

Disk trouble

Sandisk flash memory cardsAnother day, another round of hand-wringing: Do I, or don’t I? That seems to be the mantra of top executives mulling buys in what continues to be a rocky market while those on the receiving end are left wondering will he, or won’t he?

So far, it ain’t looking good — for the sellers, or the buyers.

Late last night, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s top memory chip maker, decided to dump its pursuit of flash memory card maker SanDisk Corp. That unsolicited deal would have been worth $6 billion, but Samsung apparently got cold feet after seeing SanDisk’s wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

“Your surprise announcements of a quarter billion dollar operating loss, a hurried renegotiation of your relationship with Toshiba and major job losses across your organization all point to a considerable increase in your risk profile and a material deterioration in value, both on a stand-alone basis as well as to Samsung,” Samsung CEO Lee Yoon-woo wrote to SanDisk management in a letter disclosed by Samsung on Wednesday.