The afternoon deal: Being Goldman

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of Investment Banks" on Capitol Hill in Washington April 27, 2010.     REUTERS/Jason ReedGetting raked over the coals for allegedly shady trading practices does nothing for the public’s trust in a company. But if the bottom line is affected, then it gets real serious.

Goldman’s top brass, along with other executives, are scurrying around the globe to meet with jittery corporate clients. They are holding phone calls with anxious customers and taking hedge fund trading partners out to sushi lunches, all in a bid to prevent business from going to one of its competitors.

For our special report on the impact on Goldman, and the companies response to the SEC’s civil fraud charges, click here. Find a graphic of Goldman’s share price and significant events here, or a look at Goldman’s shrinking U.S. IPO proceeds here.

The afternoon deal: Weak markets + big IPO = ?

Pedestrians walk past the logo of the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) at its branch in Shenyang, Liaoning province June 18, 2010.  REUTERS/Sheng Li Kuwait has confirmed its investment in the China Agbank IPO and others are expected to step forward shortly.

The driving force behind Agbank public offering is Vice President Pan Gongsheng. The IPO is being hammered out in a classroom and attendance is monitored. Find out more of how this deal looks and feels here.

Here are some key facts about the bank and its cornerstone investors.

The IPO, expected to raise $23 billion, has faced serious global headwinds. Specific to the region, the main Shanghai index has fallen 21 percent this year, making it one of the worst performers in the world.

The afternoon deal: Yuan politics

The markets cheered China’s move on the yuan but its not all good news reports Scott Malone. Risks abound.

For the corporate winners and losers here is a quick breakdown. WSJ has graphics on winners and losers here.

Chinese policy is often viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism but on this occasion the distrust is unwarranted, Forbes reports. A firmer yuan is beneficial to China and the new policy sends a signal that the country is confident in it prospects going forward.

The afternoon deal: Regulation overdrive

MOTOR-RACING-NASCAR/A joint Senate-House of Representatives conference committee convened at 2:15 p.m. EDT to begin merging competing bills from each chamber into what will be the biggest overhaul of the financial rules since the 1930s. Columnist John Kemp explains the simple conference process and the not so simple reality of merging the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the financial reform bill. The “base text” for the regulatory bill is here.

Not to be overshadowed by the financial regulation bill, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it plans to boost scrutiny of high-frequency trading, which now accounts for as much as half of all U.S. futures volume, and was fingered for its role in the May 6 stock market “flash crash.” Get the details of the co-location proposal here.

The SEC approved new so-called circuit breakers. The rules will require the exchanges to pause trading in certain stocks across U.S. equities markets if the price moves 10 percent or more in a five-minute period.

The afternoon deal: A Neuberger Berman IPO?

AgBank and its IPO price guessing game coupled with an exclusive interview with Neuberger Berman President Joseph Amato are the highlights of the day.

*  Even as Neuberger Berman celebrates its first year as a private and independent firm, the money manager’s executives are moving toward an initial public offering. Reuters

AgBank is getting closer to nailing down the size of its IPO. See Reuters profile of the bank’s chairman here.  Reuters

The afternoon deal: Regulation overdrive

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo arrives at a news conference in New York, February 24, 2010.     REUTERS/Brendan McDermid It’s been a busy day on the regulatory front. The New York Attorney General’s office is investigating eight banks for possibly misleading ratings agencies on the quality of mortgage securities, a source says. The Fed is conducting a broad criminal investigation into whether major Wall Street financial firms misled investors on mortgage bond deals, another source says.

Adding to the mix:
–the Senate voted to impose tighter regulations on credit-rating agencies.
–Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is concerned about a Senate proposal that could force banks to spin off their swaps business
–the White House and two state attorneys general said they don’t like an amendment to the Wall Steet reform bill that would give the federal government more power than states to regulate banks

From the Web:

Goldman, BofA, Citigroup….Did Prosecutors Leave Anybody Out - WSJ
“It’s Thursday, and one thing is clear from this morning’s headlines: Pretty much all of Wall Street is under investigation.”

The afternoon deal: UAL-Continental ripples

Passengers are reflected in the mirror of the departure terminal as they board an aircraft to fly in the northern part of Cyprus, April 19, 2010. REUTERS/Murad Sezer The UAL-Continental merger will, no doubt, have a big impact on the two companies involved, but will the merger affect the industry, airline share prices or the experience of travelers? That’s up for debate. Here are some facts and opinions on the deal:

Factbox: Continental, United plane orders worth $22 billionReuters

Factbox: The new United AirlinesReuters

Timeline: United/Continental would create largest airlineReuters

Continental Name Change: So Long, Proud BirdWSJ

Then There Were ThreeThe Huffington Post
“Will it help the industry overcome a trail of losses dating back to the Reagan era? I doubt it. Why? Because airline deregulation was based on a flawed premise, and mergers don’t change conditions enough to remove the fallacy.”

What Sealed Continental-United Deal? JealousyWSJ

The Ups and Downs of United-Continental for TravelersWSJ
“What’s really in the United-Continental merger for travelers? Potential short-term pain, and potential long-term gain.”

The afternoon deal: Criminally inclined

A file photo of an inmate inside a prison in Arbil, 190 miles north of Baghdad March 4, 2010.  REUTERS/Azad Lashkari Pay-to-play, pump-and-dump schemes and plain old bribery are on the plate today. Rising above the muck is Quadrangle, which is now looking at starting up a new fund after settling an SEC investigation, a source tells Reuters. Steve Rattner, Quadrangle’s co-founder, is still under scrutiny.

From the Web:

Quadrangle, Cuomo in kickback accord; Rattner eyed (Reuters)
Quadrangle did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. In a joint statement with Cuomo, it said the principals involved in the alleged improper conduct have left the firm.

Quadrangle’s Anti-Love Letter To Steve Rattner (WSJ)
“If there was any doubt that Steven Rattner parted from Quadrangle Group LLC on less than amicable terms, let that doubt now be laid to rest.”

The afternoon deal: Plane and simple?

A passenger aircraft is silhouetted against the setting sun in New Delhi October 12, 2008. REUTERS/B Mathur Their shares are up, so the market is saying a merger between United Airlines and US Airways would be a good thing, right? A tie-up could run into strong headwinds from unhappy pilots and tougher antitrust enforcement, industry experts told Reuters. The feeling on the Web is that a deal is inevitable… but it’s a painful road to be on.

From the Web:

Why the United- US Airways connection might not fly (Time)
“…you can’t fault the logic of a merger that would increase fares, since these guys really need the money. Wait a minute, watch me.”

United Is in Merger Talks With US Airways (NYT)
“But mergers in the airline industry have been difficult to pull off, in part because complex labor contracts can offset the promised cost savings.”

The afternoon deal: Citi spinoff rings up strong debut

CITIGROUP/Another day, another sign of renewal for initial public offerings. Primerica co-CEOs John Addison and Rick Williams capped the day off by ringing the closing bell after the Citigroup life insurance spinoff’s shares soared in their April Fool’s Day debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Appetite for the company’s stock remained strong throughout the day, with shares jumping more than 30 percent above the initial offering price in afternoon trade as investors bet that the life insurer will reap rewards as the economy continues to mend.

Primerica priced at $15 a day earlier, above the $12 to $14 range that was expected. Citigroup sold 21.3 million shares in the offering and raised a total of $320 million in the deal. The bank will retain up to a 43 percent stake in the insurer, with plans to reduce it over time.