Welcome to Snippets, Blawgconomics' semi-regular attempt at covering a lot of topics in a little time. Some would call this lazy; economists prefer the term 'efficient.'
- Starting things off on the sordid side, Hugh Hefner has made an offer to take his Playboy empire private. He has offered $185 million to do so, which he believes is a good enough offer to purchase the approximately 30% of outstanding A-shares which he does not own. Not so, according to Penthouse CEO Marc Bell, whose company made a rival bid.. The Financial Times helpfully points out that Mr. Bell also owns an interest in the largest Christian dating service in the world...
- Apparently some investors believe that chocolate is the new oil. While many hedge funds will trade futures in an attempt to gain exposure to certain assets, and hopefully short-term profits, hedge fund Amajaro has held a number of July cocoa contracts to expiration and has taken delivery of the commodities themselves. London-based Amajaro now controls about 7% of global cocoa production, the result of a move many see as incredibly bullish on the commodity.
- Though celebrations may still be in progress in Spain, the World Cup is already a fading memory for many, particularly those fans whose nations crashed out early. There are a few others who would like to put the World Cup behind them, but for much different reasons. One such group would be the up to 5,000 people that were just arrested for illegal World Cup gambling operations.
- The Obama administration's Department of Justice took advantage of the powers of a three-year old inter-agency task force to take down nearly 100 individuals across five states guilty of over $250 million in Medicare fraud. There are many things that remain unclear about health care reform. However, if a renewed commitment to combating incredibly costly fraud is one of the fruits of that epic battle, there may be some hope for the system yet.
- Even Steve Jobs has a bad day once in a while. The Apple chief was forced to make a public appearance to address issues with dropped calls for the latest version of the iPhone. Despite problems however, my first-adopter friends have nothing to fear. Apparently a special case, which the company is providing gratis, is all you need to make sure the contraption is able to do what its name implies; be a phone.
- Goldman Sachs will look ahead at repairing its image after reaching a $550 million settlement with the SEC over allegations of impropriety in its mortgage-backed securities business. You know things are relatively good when analysts report on your $550 million SEC settlement by pointing out that it wasn't the billion dollar settlement that the company anticipated it might have to handle.
- Finally, some good news for the Gulf as BP's latest fix appears successful in early times. Here's hoping that the latest cap holds...