Tag Archives: NASDAQ

Shake Shack IPO filing comes amid a hunger for premium burgers

According to Reuter, Shake Shack Inc’s filing this week for an initial public offering underscores a question for investors and foodies alike: How hungry are U.S. consumers for another burger chain?

A key part of Shake Shack’s growth strategy involves expanding its locations beyond its New York base, and investors and analysts are bullish on its prospects.

Passersby walk in front of the Shake Shack restaurant in the Manhattan borough of New York, December 29, 2014. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

They say there is room for more “fast casual” restaurants that offer higher quality burgers, a variety of toppings and in some cases, beer and wine. Shake Shack’s burgers are described in its preliminary prospectus as all-natural and hormone- and antibiotic-free.

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Merger Creates Huge US Ethanol Maker

Late Wednesday afternoon, Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) announced that it had entered a definitive merger agreement with a Midwest-based producer of ethanol, Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings, in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $190 million. The combination will more than double Pacific Ethanol’s production capacity and create the fifth-largest ethanol maker in the United States.

Aventine, like Pacific Ethanol, was a high-flying, NYSE-traded alternative energy company in the middle of the last decade. In 2009, Aventine filed for bankruptcy protection and began trading in the over-the-counter market. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2010.

Thin margins due to the falling price of crude have stressed ethanol makers in the second half of 2014, which is probably what made this deal attractive to both parties. Pacific Ethanol got a good price and Aventine survived.

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The Baltic M&A and private equity forum gathered the leading market players in Vilnius

The fifth Baltic M&A and Private Equity Forum took place on 6-7 November in Vilnius, branding itself as the “must-attend” annual event for M&A and private equity market players in the region.

Attended by more than 230 participants, the Forum once more proved to be a valuable venue for sharing the latest market trends, networking and discussing business opportunities. One CEE private equity fund manager mentioned to organisers that he meets as many as seven potential targets during these two days!

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Penny Pricing for U.S. Stocks Said to Get Scrutinized for Harm

According to Bloomberg,

Securities executives are trying to determine if the 12-year-old decision to narrow the price increments for American stock trading has harmed investors, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Representatives from exchanges, brokers, mutual funds and regulatory agencies held two conference calls today to discuss concerns about market structure, said the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions were private. One topic was the U.S. mandate in 2001 to trade equities in pennies rather than eighths or sixteenths of a dollar, they said.

Compressing what traders call tick sizes reduced profits for human market makers and helped drive the ascent of high-frequency traders, which now account for about half of U.S. volume, according to data compiled by Tabb Group LLC. Widening price increments for smaller companies to a five or ten cents could spur trading and prompt more initial public offerings, according to U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, who has sponsored legislation to test such a shift.

“There are a couple of groups that are really driving this and want it to happen, and it seems like everybody else may not be convinced it’ll make a huge difference but feels it should be tried because it probably won’t hurt anything,” said Justin Schack, partner and managing director for market structure analysis at Rosenblatt Securities Inc. He declined to comment on the ICI meetings.

Third Meeting

Today’s talks were the third hosted in 2013 by the Investment Company Institute, a trade group whose members manage $16 trillion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. This year’s participants have included senior officials from the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market, mutual fund companies Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price Group Inc., broker-dealer Morgan Stanley, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others, according to one of the people.

Representatives of those firms declined to comment on the meetings.

Supporters of larger price increments for some stocks argue that it would encourage more volume for small companies by making trades more profitable for market makers.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, signed into law last year, instructed the SEC to study the impact of penny pricing and mandate a new minimum increment of less than 10 cents for “emerging growth companies” if the regulator found that was warranted.

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BOOK REVIEW: Trading firms would do well to heed lessons in testing and crisis management from Knightmare on Wall Street

Trading firms would do well to heed lessons in testing and crisis management

Trading firms would do well to heed lessons in testing and crisis management

What a book! Who knew that a trading error at a Jersey City firm could end up being so interesting? One year ago, the mother of all electronic trading debacles scared Wall Street, when sophisticated trading outfit Knight Capital erroneously launched thousands of orders that led it to accumulate an impossible $7 billion position.

After catastrophic incidents like the Flash Crash, the failed Facebook IPO led by Nasdaq OMX, and BATS, the IPO that just couldn’t get off the ground despite all the brainpower behind, this time was supposed to be different. Yet, as author Edgar Perez details, hubris and failed crisis management procedures made this incident particularly painful to shareholders and employees, who didn’t know if the company could survive.

It is interesting to read about the true reasons for top executives not to take decisive action when their CEOs are not present. It was less and less about investors and shareholders, and more about fear, egos, fees and prestige. Nasdaq? Knight? Next?

If the reader is not intensely interested in financial markets, he or she will likely not make it through this book. If the reader skips CNBC or FOX Business Network or Bloomberg TV when flipping through the channels, then this book probably isn’t for him or her. It would be very interesting, but the reader probably won’t make it to the juicy chapters.

Perez makes a compelling case about the need for trading firms to rethink their technology management. Does anyone on Wall Street will ever really learn anything from this debacle? While all eyes are focused on SEC’s new regulations that force companies to show the impossible, the next trading debacle is probably lurking around, ready to storm Wall Street at a time when nobody will expect it.

The book goes into great detail when it analyses the backstories of the main characters involved in the company starting with founders Ken Pasternak and Walter Raquet, CEO Tom Joyce (known as T.J. since his Harvard days) and vulture bidders Daniel Coleman from GETCO and Vincent Viola from Virtu. While other books lose many people early, Perez whets readers’ appetites early by hitting the ground running in chapter one focusing on the chaos that ensued Knight’s infamous trades at the opening.

Perez does a tremendous job in making the histories of all of the people and companies involved as easy to digest as possible; peg orders are arguably not an easy concept to explain. Again – excellent book, but readers have to invest some time slogging through the first 25% of the book to get back to the action. As soon as Joyce comes back to the office after surgery and realizes the extent of the challenges ahead, all hell breaks loose and things start to get very exciting again.

Still Wanted: SEC Trading and Markets Chief

Still Wanted: SEC Trading and Markets Chief

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White is having difficulty finding an industry veteran or seasoned attorney to fill a top post overseeing trading firms and stock exchanges—a critical role for the agency given growing concerns about the speed and complexity of trading.

Ms. White has approached—and been turned down by—more than half a dozen senior industry officials and attorneys about possibly heading the agency’s trading and markets division, according to people familiar with the matter. The individuals she has approached include Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s NDAQ +0.12%Eric Noll and former Financial Industry Regulatory Authorityexecutive Stephen Luparello, who is now at a law firm.

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Breaking News: Reuters Reports Facebook, Banks Sued Over Pre-IPO Analyst Calls

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc and Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter of social networking company’s IPO, were sued by shareholders who claimed the defendants hid Facebook’s weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16 billion initial public offering.

Reuters/Thomas Hodel

The lawsuit, which also targeted underwriters JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs among others, comes as Facebook and the banks that took it public face many questions about the IPO process, which culminated in a May 18 stock market debut plagued by technical glitches.

Facebook shares fell 18.4 percent from their $38 IPO price in the first three trading days. In early afternoon trade on Wednesday, Facebook shares were up 2.5 percent at $31.78.

To read the full article from Reuters please click here.