The more you poke into gas giant Chesapeake CEO, the more foul odor emerges. There’s a sad inevitability to the news that a lifeline to foundering law firm Dewey & LeBouef was withdrawn. It’s a good day for Carlyle’s founders, even if they didn’t get their price and an Obama donor offers a revealing anecdote about how the rich see themselves. Read about it in our morning Wall Street roundup.
Bad gas: From 2004 to 2008, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon ran a private hedge fund that traded the same commodities that Chesapeake produced, according to Reuters. The $200 million fund listed Chesapeake’s Oklahoma City HQ as its mailing address, and employed an accountant who was also on staff at the natural gas powerhouse. Marketing the fund, we expect, was a breeze.
McClendon addressed media for the first time since he was stripped of his chairmanship, but wouldn’t discuss reported conflicts of interest: “Your mother told you not to believe everything you read or hear for good reason,” he said.
Phoenix falls: Merger discussions between New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf and SNR Denton fell through yesterday, raising the chances that Dewey will collapse under the weight of its debt burden and partner exodus. Chances for a deal, which SNR Denton brass nicknamed “A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes,” diminished after Dewey announced that the Manhattan’s district attorney had opened a criminal investigation into the firm, according to the Journal.
Priced to sell: Carlyle Group closed its IPO at $22 a share, valuing the company at $6.7 billion, after the private equity firm lowered its asking price from the $23 to $25 range it had sought. The lower price reflects skittishness after previous private equity IPOs lost value, but founders Bill Conway, Daniel D’Aniello and David Rubenstein will make out fine: Each retains about 15 percent ownership in the company.
The D.C.-based firm will trade on Nasdaq under the CG ticker.
Class warfare: At a meeting with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina last fall, a wealthy donor asked whether there was anything the president could do to stop attacks on the rich, Nicholas Confessore reports in the forthcoming Times Sunday Magazine:
The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich?
It’s a brilliant anecdote, and a not not alarming bit of self-pity and conflated identification. But there’s something about the nakedness of the appeal that disarms: Isn’t it our right, the donor seemed to be asking, to be rich?
(H/T Greg Sargent.)
Off again, on again: So much for the hope (in some quarters) that the Volcker rule would be scrapped. Jamie Dimon led a cadre of bank chieftains into a meeting with Fed governor Daniel Tarullo yesterday, presumably to criticize the rule. Nonetheless, the Dealbook reports that regulators are hammering out the final language, and think they’re back on track to meet the July deadline set forth in Dodd-Frank.
North rises: Canadian banks have gone on a buying spree as U.S. and European banks shed assets in the wake of impending doom, with the six largest banks from the Great White North dropping a cool $38 billion on acquisitions since 2008. The upshot: Canada is home to four of the world’s top 10 strongest banks, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports. (JPMorgan is the strongest U.S. bank, according to Markets, clocking in at 13th worldwide.)
P&Ls: For those who have already gotten over the disturbing story linking the influx of casino cash to dead horses at New York State racetracks, the Journal figured out which Kentucky Derby entrants have been the best investments.
Somebody Screamed: Sotheby’s sold Edvard Munch’s The Scream for a record $119.9 million last night, smashing the mark for art-at-auction, set at Christie’s in 2010. Gallerist has the action.
If you’re into that kind of thing: The blogger who brought you the Anonymous Finance Guy Who Pays for Sex is back, this time with the Anonymous Wall Street Escort Who Wants to Tell Clients They’re Bad in Bed.
[Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images]