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Warning Flags Were Raised in MF Global TransfersSome MF Global employees were aware of a shortfall in the firm's customer accounts days before filing for bankruptcy on Oct. 31, according to people involved in the case, a revelation that raises questions about why the firm failed to safeguard client money and whether it withheld information from authorities.
One such indication came from an internal document suggesting that the firm was putting customer funds at risk on Oct. 27, an MF Global executive, Christine Serwinski, is expected to tell a Congressional panel on Wednesday. Specifically, the firm had burned through a buffer of its own money and was using the cash of customers who were trading overseas, according to one of the people involved in the case.
Other employees in the firm's back office have also told lawyers that they knew of a potential deficit in customer accounts on Oct. 27, according to the people involved in the case. One employee on Oct. 30 told an outside firm that was reviewing MF Global's books that the brokerage firm was worried about a shortfall earlier in the week, according to one of the people involved in the conversation. Federal authorities are also investigating whether MF Global was improperly using customer money as early as August, one of the people involved in the case said.
Expected Flood of Opportunities in Europe Is Still a TrickleAmerican private equity firms are playing a waiting game in Europe. These firms, the Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital Management among them, have been raising billions of dollars during Europe's sovereign debt crisis to buy loan portfolios, corporate bonds and other holdings from troubled financial institutions on the Continent. The firms are betting that they can snap up cheap assets for as little as 10 cents on the dollar.
But private equity has a problem. The great fire sale in Europe has yet to ignite.
Zuckerberg in China: Business or Pleasure?When spotted walking around Shanghai with his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg said he was just on vacation. But the sighting naturally led to a spike in online speculation about Facebook's aspirations in mainland China.
Mayor Courts Business for New York"I have long believed that talent attracts capital far more effectively and consistently than capital attracts talent," Michael R. Bloomberg writes in a column in The Financial Times. "Economists may not say it this way but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts."
Dodgers Sell for $2.15 BillionA group led by Magic Johnson is buying the baseball club in an all-cash deal largely financed by Guggenheim Partners, the Chicago-based financial services firm, The New York Times reports.
Tyco to Merge Flow Business With PentairTyco International said it would spin off its business that makes valves and other fluid-control equipment, and combine it with Pentair, to create a company with $7.7 billion in annual revenue, Reuters reports.
Samsung Invests in Carbon ProjectSamsung Construction & Trading is getting a 15 percent stake in a $4.8 billion project in Britain owned by 2Co Energy, which aims to capture carbon emissions and use them to recover oil, Reuters reports.
Mobile Game Maker Seen as Potential TargetGlu Mobile, which makes a zombie-themed game for smartphones, is expected to see rapid sales growth over the next two years, and is trading relatively cheaply, Bloomberg News writes.
Goldman to Alter Board StructureGoldman Sachs struck a deal with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to appoint a "lead" director and to prevent shareholders from voting on whether to replace Lloyd C. Blankfein with another chairman, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation.
Goldman Benefits From European DerivativesRevenue from derivatives that clients use to hedge risk was up 142 percent year-to-date in Goldman Sachs's European division, Reuters reports, citing an internal report. More broadly, the firm's European investment bank saw revenue during the first quarter increase by 8 percent from a year earlier, according to Reuters.
NYSE Sweetens Chief's CompensationDuncan Niederauer, head of NYSE Euronext, saw bonuses tied to share performance added into his contract, and also got severance payments restored, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Societe Generale Details Plan to ShrinkThe French bank said on Wednesday it intended to reduce the liquidity needs of its investment bank to about $79.93 billion by selling loans, as it works to comply with new requirements, Reuters reports.
China Inundated With Private Equity"Even when I go to for a haircut, my barber is talking about investing in private equity," Chang Sun, a managing director at Warburg Pincus, said at a conference in Beijing on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The net result is that there's a huge influx of new entrants into the private equity business and they're pushing prices up."
Private Equity's Worrisome HabitDan Primack of Fortune writes that the use of dividend recapitalization is "a noxious financial strategy that perverts the industry's mission and threatens its future ability to raise capital."
Goldman Fund Stumbles Out of SeattleA Goldman Sachs real estate fund is planning to exit a $1 billion investment in Seattle office buildings, and is in talks with a junior lender to cede control of the properties in a "friendly foreclosure," The Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
In Asia, Danny Yong Tops the IndustryMr. Yong's Dymon Asia Capital, based in Singapore, has expanded to oversee $2.85 billion after starting in 2008 with $100 million from the Tudor Investment Corporation, Bloomberg News reports.
Two London Managers See a Strong Start to the YearMichael Hintze, of CQS Management, oversaw returns of almost 14 percent in the first eight weeks of the year, and Paul Ruddock of Lansdowne Partners posted 9.6 percent returns, The Telegraph reports, citing figures from HSBC.
Funds Bet on Saudi ArabiaJohn Burbank, founder of the hedge fund Passport Capital, and Mark Mobius, who oversees Franklin Templeton's emerging markets group, are among the investors betting on stocks in Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg News reports.
Bertelsmann Weighs I.P.O. to Finance ExpansionThe move to consider an initial public stock offering is an about-face for Europe's largest media company, whose controlling family has long resisted going public.
Facebook Acknowledges Risks of Patent DisputeThe company said in a filing that if it loses its patent fight with Yahoo, the effect "could be material to our business, financial condition or results of operations," Bloomberg News reports.
Zuckerberg's Style Rankles Some on Wall St.The Facebook chief's absence from an analyst meeting has raised some concern. "Investors are crazy to want to get in bed with a company where the guy who controls it doesn't even pretend to care about the rest of the shareholders," Greg Taxin, of the activist investment firm Spotlight Advisors, told Reuters.
Brazilian I.P.O. May Lead to MoreWhen Banco BTG Pactual goes public in Brazil, it could help encourage other companies waiting in the wings, which together are worth an estimated $28 billion, Bloomberg News writes.
JOBS Bill Awaits President's SignatureThe legislation that would exempt some companies from certain disclosure and governance requirements, with the intention of making it easier for them to raise money, got final approval by the House, The New York Times reports.
Entrepreneurs Get the Upper HandAt a presentation by start-ups from the incubator Y Combinator, more than 400 investors crowded into the auditorium, compared with 66 young companies, Bloomberg News reports.
An Old Factory Is Home to Start-UpsAcumen Capital Partners, a real estate firm, has begun leasing out space in a former factory in Brooklyn to small food companies, The New York Times reports. "What Acumen is doing is functioning like an incubator," said Michael F. Rochford, the executive director of St. Nicks Alliance, a neighborhood development group.
Programming Goes MainstreamThe ability to understand computer code is increasingly seen as a necessary skill for workers, and not just for those who dream of starting the next Facebook, The New York Times writes.
Foreclosure Settlement Credits Banks for Routine PracticesSome of the activities that banks do all the time but which don't stop foreclosures - things like demolishing abandoned homes or helping families move out - can be counted toward the $25 billion settlement, The New York Times reports.
Dewey Overhauls Leadership Amid Financial DifficultiesDewey's chairman, Steven H. Davis, has been stripped of his title and will relocate to London to work with five co-equal members representing the heads of the firm's most profitable practice areas.
MF Global Witness Said to Negotiate DealEdith O'Brien, an MF Global assistant treasurer who is appearing before the House on Wednesday, is said to be involved in negotiations with the government over a deal that could grant her immunity from prosecution, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
More Charges Sought in Olympus InvestigationRegulators in Japan have filed new criminal complaints against Olympus and five individuals who were suspected of participating in the accounting scandal, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Judge Orders S.E.C. to Turn Over Notes in Gupta CaseUnder a pretrial ruling in Rajat K. Gupta's criminal case, federal prosecutors must review the Securities and Exchange Commission's notes about 44 interviews of witnesses during its investigation.
Mexico's Telcel Faces New RegulationThe Federal Competition Commission of Mexico voted to uphold a ruling that Telcel, the mobile phone company controlled by Carlos Slim Helú, dominates its market, The Wall Street Journal reports.