Duke Energy Didn’t Want Progress or its CEO; Cooperator in Rajaratnam, Gupta Trials Goes Free: Roundup

Finally, sense: As you may recall, Bill Johnson was slated to assume Duke Energy’s chief executive office per the terms of a merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy. (Mr. Johnson had run Progress Energy before the merger.) Well, Mr. Johnson did assume the office, but on the next day he left the company, scooping up $1.5 million in walking paper in the deal. The scuttlebutt about a Progress nuclear plant, difficulties integrating the two companies, etc., etc. Mr. Johnson testified before North Carolina regulators yesterday and offered an explanation that finally passed the sniff test: Duke Energy was stuck in a merger it no longer wanted,  and if the utility was stuck with the deal, it wasn’t going to suffer his leadership.

Picking up the pace: The Treasury and the Fed are speeding efforts to offload assets acquired during the 2008 bailout of the country’s banking system. The government is expected to sell or be repaid on $29 billion in securities in the months to come.

Set free: Anil Kuman, the cooperating witness you helped the government secure insider-trading convictions against Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta, was rewarded yesterday, receiving two years probation and no jail time for his involvement in the insider-trading scheme run by Mr. Rajaratnam.

Stiffer penalties: Japanese lawmakers are seeking to rewrite securities law to provide for criminal prosecution of brokerages and bankers that leak inside information. No underwriters have been charged for giving investors early word on new stock offerings in Japan’s ongoing insider trading probe.

Movers: Robert Wolf, the top UBS banker whose close ties to President Barack Obama seeming to some like less an asset and more a liability, leaving the bank to open his own shop, called 32 Advisors. Credit Suisse hired Morgan Stanley banker David Hammond to lead its metal and mining advisory. Don Mullen, one of the architects of Goldman Sachs’ big subprime trade, is aiming to raise a $500 million fund to buy foreclosed homes as rental properties.

Splits: Whitney Tilson plans to keep a lower profile after separating from T2 partner Glenn Tongue. “I will dramatically reduce my television appearances, interviews with the media, blogging/writing, and public speaking, both in the investment and philanthropic realms,” he said in a letter obtained by Dealbreaker.

Student protection: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommended Congress rewrite a 2005 law to allow student debtors to seek bankruptcy protection on private loans.

IPO off: Guitar maker Fender is not going public after all, citing market conditions in cancelling its initial public offering.