News That Will Drive You To Drink: Staples Edition

piles of cash


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. & BOCA RATON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) and Office Depot, Inc. (Nasdaq: ODP) today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Staples will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Office Depot. Under the terms of the agreement, Office Depot shareholders will receive, for each Office Depot share, $7.25 in cash and 0.2188 of a share in Staples stock at closing. Based on Staples closing share price on February 2, 2015, the last trading day prior to initial media speculation around a possible transaction, the transaction values Office Depot at $11.00 per share. This represents a premium of 44 percent over the closing price of Office Depot shares as of February 2, 2015, and a premium of 65 percent over the 90-day average closing price of Office Depot shares as of February 2, 2015. The transaction values Office Depot at an equity value of $6.3 billion.

…The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including antitrust regulatory approval and Office Depot shareholder approval, and is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2015. Staples will remain focused on its strategic reinvention plan, and Office Depot will remain focused on its integration of OfficeMax during this period.

Oh, please. The regulators would not raise an objection if the entire Fortune 500 merged into one company called “BiteMeBitches LLC.”

And for those of you who say, “so what, I’ll buy my ink cartridges online” – here’s the ugly twin sister to the word monopoly: monopsony: a market form in which only one buyer interfaces with would-be sellers of a particular product.

In other words, if Staples is the only retailer that 3M realistically can sell its post-it notes to, well, then Staples can dictate for how much. It is essentially what Walmart is and what Amazon wants to be. The implications for this are HUGE, and hugely bad for all of us.

Side note: Staples was controlled by Mitt’s Bain Capitol, and he bragged about how he turned it around while on the campaign trail. So each time you plunk down $50 for an ink cartridge (the Monopoly side of the equation), you can feel really comfortable knowing you didn’t vote for Willard, though now you have the pleasure of sending him your money.

He’s A Credit Risk


…but wouldn’t you think that the bankster sharks would show a little professional courtesy?

The former Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago yesterday, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics Inc. — “just between the two of us” — that “I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so.”

When the audience laughed, Bernanke said, “I’m not making that up.”

Well, It Would Be A Good Start

[Geithner] cheerfully relayed a story that also appears in his book about the time he sought advice from Bill Clinton on how to pursue a more populist strategy: “You could take Lloyd Blankfein into a dark alley,” Clinton said, “and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days. Then the blood lust would rise again.”

Metaphorically speaking.

Today in Banking…

choo-choo train

It’s a small consolation prize, but it looks as if the Feds are going to press charges against two of the blood-sucking leeches Too Big To Fail Banks, but not for their crimes against, well, the world. That said, there are still plenty of reasons for the banksters to be preparing to open their windows, so to speak.

As they said in NYC, Jump Motherf***ers. And we mean that will all insincerity.

The Midday Quote: Get Off The Cross Edition

“You know, it’s interesting, in America there’s only one group you can legally discriminate against in America anymore: rich people.”

–Steve Moore, former Wall St. Journal writer and current Heritage Foundation economist.

So, Who’s Destroying America Today?

The Koch Brothers Left a Confidential Document at Their Last Donor Conference—Read It Here

In the annals of comic-book supervillians, no evil genius is so inept that they leave behind their secret membership roster when they flee their caves, but apparently that lesson was never learned by the super-rich Koch Brothers.

Mother Jones has the list and has done the legwork to itemize who these people are. I would say it is fascinating reading, but it also is stomach turning.

(Mother Jones)

Good one! Target takes this crime seriously.

Target says…

We take this crime seriously. It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores.”

Gee, you mean we guests are invited to spend more money at the security sieve?

[One of the banks interviewed] has issued a grand total of more than 120,000 debit and credit cards to its customers, but my source told me the tiny bank had not yet heard anything from the card associations about specific cards that might have been compromised as a result of the Target breach. My source was anxious to determine how many of the bank’s cards were most at risk of being used for fraud, and how many should be proactively canceled and re-issued to customers.

Let’s see: 40M cards – 120,000 =39,880,000 more cards to go. That’s still more than 10% of the country affected by the security breach and no one is doing anything about it.

The bank wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to re-issue the cards; that process costs around $3 to $5 per card, but more importantly it didn’t want to unnecessarily re-issue cards at a time when many of its customers would be racing around to buy last-minute Christmas gifts and traveling for the holidays.

But more importantly, note that your date security is worth about $3-$5 and the banks don’t want to spend it.

Do you really think that anyone is going to do anything about data security on their own? Not likely. I’d say Congress ought to pass a law, but they did: it protects every corporate entity, but not you. You still have to change all your accounts, PIN numbers, bill paying, etc., at your own cost. Have fun with that, Guests.

(Krebs on Security)

Christmas came early this year

This is the award-winning actor Stacy Keach reading the tweets—verbatim—that JPMorgan Chase received when it inexplicably decided that the best PR move they could make was to let the Twitterverse ask one of their executives for financial advice.

Matt Taibbi reports on what ensued with gusto and relish, and it is a remarkable thing that JPM gave him for Christmas, really quite generous of them to present one of their thieving crooks’ head on a pike for our pleasure. And again, I’m left wondering if anyone has put a mirror under Eric Holder’s nose to see if he is still amongst the breathing.

(Rollingstone via Crooks and Liars)

The Master of the Universe

And this is just one bank:

JP Morgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, has reached a tentative $13 billion deal with the Justice Department in a settlement of a wide-range of issues related to the sale of bad mortgages, according to several media reports.


By comparison, JPMorgan earned about $21.3 billion in 2012.

Now imagine if your little fuck-up took over half of the profit out of your employer’s bottom line, how long do you think you’d be at your desk before security showed up with two cardboard boxes, a cheese sandwich and a roadmap?

JP Morgan Chase is headed by boy wonder Jamie Dimon. After Obama won the 2008 presidential election, many speculated that Dimon would serve in the Obama Administration as Secretary of the Treasury.

Here’s the thing: Jamie Dimon will never suffer any consequences for this spectacular fail, his calls will always be returned, he will always have a roof over his head, unlike the thousands or millions of people his bank stole life savings from.

(USA Today)

Everything you need to know about Mary Jo White as the SEC Commissioner

No’bama’s nomination of Mary Jo White to lead the SEC (head banking regulator) was just approved by the GOP-dominated Senate Banking Committee 20-1; no filibuster, no snide remarks. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was the only member to object. Her nomination now goes to the full senate.

Meanwhile, Richard Cordray’s nomination to continue as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remains in limbo.