Today the debt-funded M&A scramble continued, when moments ago software giant Oracle announced it would acquire the "very first cloud company" NetSuite, a deal that some analysts thought was inevitable while panned by others. The transaction price of $109 represents a nearly 20% premium to yesterday's closing print, and is expected to be immediately accretive to Oracle.
There are just two drivers setting the pace for today's risk mood: the OPEC meeting in Vienna which started a few hours ago, and the ECB's announcement as well as Mario Draghi's press statement due out just one hour from now. Both are expected to not reveal any major surprises, with OPEC almost certainly unable to implement a production freeze while the ECB is expected to remain on hold and provide some more details on its corporate bond buying program, although there is some modest risk of upside surprise in either case.
With markets happy to put February in the history books because it marked the fourth consecutive monthly decline in global stocks, we move on to March 1st, which doubles down as 'Super Tuesday' in the US when Trump's presidential candidacy will almost certainly be sealed and a day in which stocks decided to join the super fun by super surging overnight on nothing but bad global macro and economic which however was promptly ignored and instead the focus was on ongoing central bank intervention and even more jawboning.
Deustche Bank stock is ripping 10% higher after confirming old news that it will undertake a modest debt buyback of $2 billion and €3 billion (not including the CoCos). Have no fear though as Wolfgang Schaeuble proclaimed Deutsche Bank is a "strong bank" that ios "resilient" and "well positioned."
While algos patiently await the only thing that matters for US stocks today which is Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress. expected to be released at 8:30 am (and previewed here), the rest of the world this morning is a hot mess of schizophrenic highs and lows.
In his rejection of an SEC settlement with Citigroup, Judge Jed Rakoff vowed to "see that the truth emerges." After presiding over the most high-profile insider trading cases since the crisis -- including Raj Rajaratnam and Rajit Gupta -- Judge Rakoff has come to symbolize the mantra that "nobody is above the law." In determining that Valeant and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman must face insider trading charges for their failed takeover of Allergan, U.S. District Judge David Carter may be the "new Rakoff."
Corporate executives offer three main reasons for share repurchases: 1. Buybacks are investments in our undervalued shares signaling our confidence in the company’s future; 2. Buybacks allow the company to offset the dilution of EPS when employee stock options are exercised or stock is granted to employees; or 3. The company is mature and has limited investment opportunities, therefore we are obligated to return unneeded cash to shareholders. The logic behind each of these explanations is in the vast majority of cases is flawed, to be kind, and deceptive to be blunt.
Since yesterday's fake AVP tender offer was nothing but a targeted attempt to force a short squeeze in one of the market's most shorted stocks, the best way to be positioned for future such criminal activity is to go long precisely the most shorted stocks, the names which in any other universe would be the first to crash, burn and file bankruptcy, but in this parallel centrally-planned universe may just be the biggest winners.
How do you make what had been a very good couple of years for tens of thousands of Avon Products shorts into an absolute nightmare of a day? By doing what PTG Partners just did when moments ago it announced that, out of the blue, it would like to purchase AVP for a price of $18.75 or nearly three times higher than the Avon stock price moments before the announcement. Because why pay double when triple would do.
The last time AOL was involved in a mega merger was January 2000, when AOL acquired Time Warner for $182 billion in what was the mega deal of the last tech bubble, creating a $350 billion behemoth. Fast forward 15 years and here is AOL again in yet another period-defining if far, far smaller transaction once again, when moments ago Verizon announced that it would acquire AOL for $50/share, a deal value of $4 .4billion. And with that the golden age of digital (and in many cases robotic) content, has now been top-ticked.