Finally got around to watching this video. Kudos to Gerry Levin for taking responsibility for the worst merger in history. His comments about banks being malls instead of supermarkets is very true, but it’s not his, it’s Chris Whalen’s, who provided a helpful counterpoint in NYT’s non-mea-culpa from Sandy Weill. Their point is that the synergy Sandy Weill claimed for Citigroup — combining insurance with commercial banking with investing banking with retail brokerage, etc. — was bogus from the start.
(Reader note: as part of the new Reuters BreakingViews team, my beat now includes covering stocks, investments and corporate finance. It’s a bit of a change of pace from the macro, Fed, banking stuff I normally write about, but have no fear: I will keep opining on those topics in blogs and the occasional column. In the meantime, excited to be tackling some new topics.)
In a regulatory filing this evening (see page 54), Time Warner announced that it bought back Google’s stake in AOL, for a 97% discount to what it paid in January 2000. If AOL stock gets floated at a similar valuation, it might be a good value play.