Did some company founders steer IPOs to certain investment banks in return for kickbacks,
hot stock that was put into their personal accounts? I am sure that some executives couldn't resist and took the lucre, just as the House Committee suggested with its release of the "spun" IPO lists from Salomon Smith Barney and now
. I know the implication of the release of the Goldman Sachs IPO clients list is that clients of Goldman picked Goldman for IPO work
they could get kickbacks of other IPOs personally. No doubt, some executives faced with a plethora of bankers decided to select a banker for the lucrative IPO work based on how much they could benefit personally.
But I also am sure that one of the companies mentioned,
, didn't, and it does make me feel the whole inquiry has gotten a bit bizarre, to say the least.
The story of how we picked Goldman Sachs is well-chronicled in
Confessions of a Street Addict
. I insisted, against the wishes of the CEO at the time, that the business be done with Goldman Sachs. The former CEO argued vociferously that the business should be done with
, which also was bidding for our deal. I said that because I had worked at Goldman -- had gotten my start there -- the business deserved to go to Goldman. I had no personal account and was not permitted to accept any hot shares of IPOs, so my choice had nothing to do with "spinning." Oddly, Marty Peretz, the co-founder of TheStreet.com, championed First Boston as the underwriter, asking me to sit down with the people in charge of syndicate there. I did so, but decided that it wasn't for us.
In a heated discussion at the board level, I prevailed, and the business went to Goldman.
Now, I pick up the paper and read a story that implies we went with Goldman because of a personal account Marty had there.
Marty closed his personal account when I left Goldman Sachs in 1987. I ought to know, I closed it. I was his broker. He merged his money with my hedge fund.
I agree with Marty about the House Committee's implications. Marty said to me, "This is all an invention. It is mortifying to be lumped in with those who got IPOs as a reward for doing business with any brokerage house."
Other companies may have steered investment banking business to Goldman to get allocations of IPOs. TheStreet.com did not.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. At the time of publication, Cramer was long TheStreet.com.
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