Unstructured Finance

Moelis climbs M&A ranks; former employer UBS does not

February 29, 2008

080904_kmoelis0.jpgFebruary’s M&A figures predictably stayed on their dismal track, with announced deals down 49 percent to $157 billion from $310 billion during the first two months 2007, according to Dealogic.

Victoria’s leaving the boudoir, back to the manor

February 29, 2008

vic1.jpgAttention men! Victoria’s Secret is toning down its sexy quotient. Let the mourning begin!
    
Sex has been the advertising driver for the lingerie brand in recent years. Its annual televised fashion show features nearly-nude models adorned with satin, sequins and feathers while strutting to Justin Timberlake’s “Put Your Sexy On.”
    
Their stores, meanwhile, evoke the inner sanctum of a very pink boudoir, filled with lace and ruffles on corsets, thongs, panties and bras, with a healthy dose of leopard skin to boot.
    
It’s enough to make you want to check into a convent.  

Retailers’ earnings take a trip in the Wayback machine

February 29, 2008

Higher food and gasoline prices. Costly heating bills. A credit market crunch. The deteriorating housing market. A worsening employment picture.

Check Out Line: Let the good times roll!

February 29, 2008

Check out consumers around the world shrugging off economic worries (or looking to bury them) and treating themselves to a stiff drink – much to the benefit of wine and spirits company Brown Forman.

Daily Briefing: Billionaires Club

February 29, 2008

Wilbur RossBillionaire investor Wilbur Ross has squared off with billionaire investor Warren Buffett with a $1 billion investment in bond insurer Assured Guaranty. Buffett has been actively exploring high-grade opportunities bond insurance, and Ross has been open about his plans to get into the struggling sector. Ross told CNBC he chose Assured over rival bond insurers MBIA Inc and Ambac Financial Group Inc because Assured was in better shape. “This is opportunity capital rather than damage-curing capital,” Ross said, adding that it was pretty clear he and Buffett were now playing in the same sandbox. Ross said he remains in discussions with other bond insurers.

Sprint: needs backbone

February 28, 2008

hesse-thm.jpgSprint Nextel’s earnings may have been weak, but its conviction to keep its long-distance network remains strong.

Hedge funds don’t sign blank checks

February 28, 2008

blank-check.jpgWith more traditional offerings sitting out today’s choppy markets, some of the hottest recent IPOs have been from so-called blank check companies. These special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, float shares to fund acquisitions — a strategy that looks promising as credit woes sideline more leveraged buyers like private equity.

Purgatory Age or Golden Age?

February 28, 2008

fire.jpgWhile Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein has said the private equity sector had fallen into the “purgatory age” to atone for past sins of success, Ripplewood Holdings CEO Tim Collins said on Thursday that the “golden age” was still to come.

Sears’s Lampert compares struggling Kmart to Eli Manning

February 28, 2008

manning.jpgIn his letter to shareholders, Sears Chairman Ed Lampert compared the company’s struggling Kmart chain to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XL II.

Check Out Line: Sears plans conservatively for 2008

February 28, 2008

sears.jpgCheck out Sears Holdings Chairman Ed Lampert pledging in a letter to shareholders to take a more conservative approach to inventory in 2008 after last year’s aggressive posture backfired, wrecking the retailer’s earnings and profit margin.