5. Greifeld Loses Face
Good grief Greifeld! Get a grip man!
Nasdaq OMX Group
CEO Robert Greifeld told a group of reporters Sunday that overall, the first day of trading in
was "successful" despite the IPO being opened 25 minutes late on Friday due to technical glitches, as well as mass confusion over order confirmations. Shares of the social networking giant, which priced at $38 a share, closed Thursday at $33.03, 13% below the offer price.
Be real Bob. "Successful"? Not since
have we seen such an awful opening. Not since North Korea lobbed a rocket into the Pacific have we witnessed a launch that bad. Not since the failed
IPO in March have we seen an exchange exhibit such incompetence.
Wait a second! On second thought, you probably missed that BATS IPO, because if you had witnessed that catastrophe then you surely would have been better prepared for Facebook's public debut, which was only the biggest tech IPO ever after all.
Of course it's understandable that Greifeld would try and find a pony somewhere in the massive pile of manure that was his exchange's performance. Seriously, what else can the guy say after a debacle like that? All the spin doctors in Washington D.C. couldn't put a positive twist on that spectacular flop.
Not that he didn't try.
Greifeld threw himself on the mercy of the press, confessing he was "humbly embarrassed" by the technical problems that fouled up what should have been not only Facebook's big day, but Nasdaq's as well considering the exchange battled ferociously to snatch the listing from the now-gloating
He explained that an unexpected swarm of order cancellations interfered with the process and that system tests ahead of the admittedly massive 400 million share offering failed to detect potential problems.
Greifeld also groveled to reporters that "this was not our finest hour" and "we're not happy with our performance" in addition to a host of other platitudes that won't mean squat when the lawsuits hit. And trust us, they are going to start hitting in a big way.
But in the end, all his excuses and apologies won't make up for the fact that Nasdaq crashed Facebook's coming-out party. And as a result it's going to be a long time before it gets friended by Wall Street wannabes again.
4. Chesapeake's Bungling Board
Way to take one for the team all you
board members. We know it's been hard for you folks considering all the craziness surrounding CEO Aubrey McClendon's latest get rich scheme -- or should we say, 'get even richer scheme' -- but still, you have truly proven that when the going gets tough, the tough take cuts in their private jet flying time.
Yes, our dear friends at Chesapeake, you continue to inspire us all.
Chesapeake Energy, which has seen its shares get drilled 35% this year, announced Monday its plan to cut directors' pay and perks in order to save the company up to $1.65 million a year. Chesapeake directors now will pocket only $100,000 in cash and $250,000 in stock, according to a company filing, but will no longer be allowed 40 hours of personal jet travel on the company's tab.
Nevertheless, those concerned with how Chesapeake's overseers will subsist after these corporate austerity measures need not fear. These guys won't be receiving food stamps anytime soon.
report says that even after reducing their own pay by 20%, directors will continue to be well rewarded for their hard work (Hey, give credit where it's due. It is hard work keeping all of Aubrey's secret dealings a secret!). The company's new plan will pay directors 34% more than the average $260,752 in total compensation received last year by board members at 15 other exploration and production companies on the
, with only board members at
raking in more.
Bloomberg also highlights a slew of legal but highly inappropriate business ties between Chesapeake and its outside directors, including hiring one director's relatives and donating millions to another's alma mater. But what would you expect from the gang that bought their buddy Aubrey's antique maps for millions when he was going bust and then flip-flopped when confronted with questions over his personal oil well investment plan.
"Each of Chesapeake's directors has built a superb reputation based on impeccable credentials, independent judgment and unwavering integrity. We take great pride in our board," said a company spokesman.
Um, excuse us for asking, but what exactly are you taking "great pride" in?
3. Express Stores Inanity
Pity the brass at
stores. They were in such a rush to sell high-priced clothing that they ended up with a low-priced stock instead.
Shares of the specialty retailer sold off in a hurry on Tuesday, sinking more than 25% after it missed first quarter Wall Street earnings estimates by 2 cents and drastically lowered its full-year guidance as a result of a poorly thought-out pricing strategy.
"We reduced our styles of opening price point knit tops, and in hindsight, we did not follow some of our own guiding principles when planning this department this spring," said CEO Michael Weiss said on a conference call, adding "We did not take a balanced approach to this category."
Nor a very smart one Michael, but clearly the masses alerted you to that fact by avoiding your stores and unloading your stock.
Of course, had you recognized how important the masses were to your business beforehand then perhaps you could have avoided all these troubles. In your attempt to push your once faithful customers into a higher price point, you starved them of low-end options. As a result, the very same folks that feed your business each day are now taking a bite out of your bottom line.
Nevertheless, even while Weiss realized his foolishness, the brain surgeons on Wall Street failed to see the light. Despite the stock getting clocked,
analyst Neely Tamminga kept her overweight rating on Express, saying the retailer's move to sell higher-priced tops would eventually pan out.
"Longer-term, we believe Express' deliberate shift away from basic knit tops and into opening price point fashion tops will enhance margins and make it more of a destination for its customer," wrote Tamminga in a note.
Oh Neely. That's just so nearsighted. Even the CEO has finally grasped that before Express becomes a "destination", it needs its customers to come home first. So why don't you?
2. Morgan Stanley's Facebook Fiasco
Don't feel alone Nasdaq employees. You aren't the only ones losing face over the failed Facebook IPO. You have plenty of friends over at
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's
chairman said Tuesday that he plans to review charges made in a
report that lead underwriter Morgan Stanley shared negative news about Facebook with its big-hitting institutional clients and not the general public prior to the company's more than $16 billion offering. According to the report, Morgan Stanley's consumer Internet analyst Scott Devitt took the highly unusual step of reducing his revenue forecasts for the company during the company's closed-door road show.
"The allegations, if true, are a matter of regulatory concern," FINRA chief Rick Ketchum told Reuters.
Not to be outdone, Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin issued a subpoena to Morgan Stanley in connection with its analyst's discussions with investors about Facebook and
Securities and Exchange Commission
Chairman Mary Schapiro said she too will be on the case.
Oh man. We thought Morgan Stanley was only going to take heat for spiking the number of shares by 25% at the last minute to a humongous 421 million. Now they have to explain to a smattering of hyped-up pols why they simultaneously jacked up the price to $38 when their very own analyst was lowering his numbers.
Heck, now that the law is involved, maybe shoving too many overpriced shares down the gullible gullets of their
brokerage clients is the least of their worries.
For the record, Morgan Stanley was not the only one secretly slashing earnings estimates ahead of the company's May 18 offering. Fellow underwriters
JP Morgan Chase
also cut their outlooks after Facebook filed an amended prospectus on May 9 saying revenue growth was a risk as more users shifted to mobile devices.
Yep, you heard us correctly. We said Goldman Sachs.
Just when you thought the
was out. They pull it back in.
1. Jamie's Pulp Friction
Chill the Volcker out all you
shareholders. Jamie Dimon is sending the
Yes, like the
scene when gangster
sends his fixer
to solve a highly time-sensitive and costly problem, JPMorgan's CEO is also calling in a specialist to extricate him from his "egregious" and "self-inflicted" troubles. On Tuesday, the bank reportedly hired former
enforcement chief William McLucas to help respond to regulatory probes of the firm's $2 billion trading loss.
Shoot Jamie. That's all you had to say.
McLucas, a Washington-based partner at law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, led the SEC's enforcement division from 1989 to 1998. No stranger to Wall Street's dirtiest deals, he represented board committees in the collapses of both
Moreover, McLucas won't be a lone wolf when he gets to JPMorgan either. JPMorgan's general counsel and most senior lawyer Stephen Cutler worked with McLucas at Wilmer from 2005 to 2007, before being money-whipped away by JPMorgan. Prior to that, Cutler had McLucas' old job, serving as the SEC's head of enforcement from 2001 until 2005.
Oh man. Talk about the spinning turnstile between Washington and Wall Street. These guys went from chasing the market's bad guys to chasing Dimon's dollars in no time flat.
Jeez Jamie, who needs a whale of a hedge in London to protect you when you have hired guns like these back home?
Current SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro told a congressional hearing Tuesday, "The agencies collectively, including the criminal authorities, are working very hard to untangle what happened at the firm."
Good luck tangling with not one, but two of your predecessors Mary. But don't take it from us if things don't turn out so well, take it from Marsellus Wallace himself: "Pride only hurts, it never helps."
Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.