William D. Cohan
William D. Cohan
Husband. Father. Best-selling author of six books. Seventh: November 2022. Founding partner, @Pucknews. Air Mail writer-at-large. Occasional NYT Op-Ed Writer.Source
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Why Buffett Put the Screws to Goldman

Why Buffett Put the Screws to Goldman

A couple of weeks ago, in correspondence with me, Warren Buffett wrote that he would answer my question about why he had decided to offer the odd number of $848.02 a share, in cash, for Alleghany, the big insurance company he just bought for $11.6 billion. Buffett, being Buffett, was obviously up to something. As it turned out, he didn’t want to pay Goldman Sachs’ $27 million investment-banking fee for advising Alleghany on the sale to Berkshire Hathaway. This was quite a turn of events, given that Goldman Sachs has long been Buffett’s preferred Wall Street investment bank. He invested $5...

May 4
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Elon’s Church Plate & Cathie Wood’s Downfall

Elon’s Church Plate & Cathie Wood’s Downfall

A motley group of coinvestors could help Musk to reduce the risk he is putting on Tesla, but will require him to find even more equity to close his deal for Twitter. Plus: What Liz Warren gets right and where Cathie Wood went wrong. Elon Musk is slowly but surely filling his $21 billion hole. It’s actually pretty impressive, when you think about it, especially when you take into account the pie-in-the-sky projections he’s been peddling. There aren’t many among us who could personally buy a company that struggles to make money, for $44 billion, and then pay for it by mortgaging the company...

May 8
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Elon’s Gamble: Imagining Tesla Stock Judgment Day

Elon’s Gamble: Imagining Tesla Stock Judgment Day

Since about midday on Monday, much of the media, along with the extremes of our political spectrum, have been losing their collective lunch over what Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will mean for Twitter, for open debate, for “free speech,” for Trump and Alex Jones and other disinformation artists, for Bezos and Gates, and so forth and so on. Sure, these are all valid questions pertaining to Musk’s decision to take Twitter private for $44 billion and to becoming its sole owner, at least until he can find some equity partners. But one key constituency has thus far been ignored, and, on...

Apr 27
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Elon Sharpens His Vampire Teeth

Elon Sharpens His Vampire Teeth

Elon’s consummation, Zaz’s looming target, Ackman’s about-face, and other pressing questions sliding into Wall Street’s DMs. Now that Elon Musk has told the world, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that he has obtained up to $46.5 billion of financing commitments for his $54.20-a-share offer for Twitter, the next step for the Twitter board will be to formally reject his offer. The two sides are reportedly meeting today to re-examine Musk’s bid, the prelude, perhaps to a more aggressive negotiation. The offer is inadequate, the board will lament. Expect that response...

Apr 24
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Bullying, Booze, and Choke Holds: With Goldman Sachs’s Culture Under the Microscope, a Former Intern’s Abuse Suit Moves Forward

Bullying, Booze, and Choke Holds: With Goldman Sachs’s Culture Under the Microscope, a Former Intern’s Abuse Suit Moves Forward

Last month, a number of clever young bankers at Goldman Sachs managed to get Wall Street’s attention by putting together an official-looking PowerPoint presentation that , including their absurdly long hours and their lack of sleep. According to 13 first-year analysts—typically recent college graduates occupying the lowest rung on Goldman’s investment-banking ladder—who responded to the survey, for the week ending on February 13, they had worked a “mean” of 105 hours a week, hitting the hay on average at 3 a.m. “Being unemployed is less frightening to me than what my body might succumb to...

April 13, 2021
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Inside the Greatest Trade of All Time—and What Bill Ackman Is Investing in Now

Inside the Greatest Trade of All Time—and What Bill Ackman Is Investing in Now

Next:ShareThis copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers visit http://www.djreprints.com.https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-greatest-trade-of-all-timeand-what-bill-ackman-is-investing-in-now-51600457809There are many worthwhile candidates on Wall Street for the Greatest Trade of All Time. There’s Jesse Livermore’s bet that the stock market would fall in 1929. He pocketed something like $100 million in profit, akin to $1.5 billion today. There is George Soros’ 1992 bet that the British...

September 18, 2020
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“They’re Saying, ‘We’d Like to See Biden Crush Trump’”: For Some on Wall Street Beating Trump Is More Important Than Money

“They’re Saying, ‘We’d Like to See Biden Crush Trump’”: For Some on Wall Street Beating Trump Is More Important Than Money

Most of Wall Street, it seems, is happily preparing for a Joe Biden victory in November. “The majority of my friends on Wall Street would like to see Trump lose to Biden,” one very senior investment banker tells me. “They’re saying, ‘We’d like to see Biden crush Trump.’” And that is without knowing exactly what Biden and the 117th Congress—to be elected on November 3—will do about such important economic topics such as the corporate tax rate, the capital gains tax rate, or taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The consensus on Wall Street seems to be that a Biden presidency will mean an...

July 9, 2020
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Related’s Stephen Ross, Trump Crony, Has a Giant Coronavirus Hypocrisy Problem

Related’s Stephen Ross, Trump Crony, Has a Giant Coronavirus Hypocrisy Problem

On April 6, Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, the behemoth real estate developer, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box with Andrew Ross Sorkin to discuss the challenges Related’s retail tenants had in early April making their rent payments because of the coronavirus lockdowns.Related, one of Manhattan’s largest real estate developers, once as “the Harvard of real estate,” owns the swanky new $25 billion Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s West Side and the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Related is also one of the of affordable housing in the United States. In sum, according to...

April 20, 2020
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The Federal Reserve Has Pumped Money Into the Capital Markets. Guess Who’s Gotten It.

The Federal Reserve Has Pumped Money Into the Capital Markets. Guess Who’s Gotten It.

When the extraordinary history of the last six weeks in the financial markets gets written, it will have to record any number of minor miracles. And credit for them should go to the Federal Reserve, which on March 23 and again on April 9, essentially declared that it will do almost anything “for now”—a phrase it’s been using a lot lately—to backstop the capital markets to insure money continues to flow, at a price, to the creditworthy.Take, for instance, Boeing’s incredible journey through the markets in recent weeks. Boeing’s problems have been legion for more than a year, ever since two...

May 7, 2020
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“People Will Die. People Do Die.” Wall Street Has Had Enough of the Lockdown

“People Will Die. People Do Die.” Wall Street Has Had Enough of the Lockdown

When and how to reopen the American economy is not only plaguing Donald Trump, who all-caps in March that, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” Seven weeks later, with an unemployment rate at , and counting, with manufacturing output down a record in April, and retail spending collapsing a record , Trump likely has concluded that his only chance for reelection is if the economy—somehow—starts to improve. As more than people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, the question of opening or not is also preoccupying governors of the 50 states; of the states, for the...

May 15, 2020
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