In Other News: 9/17/2008 – WSJ, The SEC

The Wall Street Journal: Washington Mutual (WM), has instructed its investment bankers to step up their efforts and help the struggling savings and loan raise more capital or potentially sell itself. The Seattle based company, notes WSJ – which has hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser, has received expressions of interest from potential bidders like Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan (JPM) and HSBC. However, a deal is yet to be materialized. If the situation will persist, the government will have no choice but to place the struggling co. into conservatorship, like IndyMac, or find a bridge-bank solution. Another option on the table is to sell pieces of the thrift such as branches. Today, WaMu received a critical financial concession from private-equity firm TPG, that led a $7 billion cash injection into the co. in April, which said that it would waive its right to be compensated if the bank sold more shares (now at about $2) to raise capital. On Wednesday, the shares fell more than 12%, to $2.01 on the NYSE. They have plunged 94% over the last 12 months. [WSJ]

Securities and Exchange Commission: SEC’s Chairman Christopher Cox issued a statements today where he announced plans to require hedge funds and large investors to share more information about their trading activities, thus making it harder for them to improperly short stocks. Mr. Cox said that in order to ensure that market manipulation, or short selling abuses do not drive market behavior and undermine confidence, the Commission will consider, on an emergency basis, a new rule requiring hedge funds and other large investors to fully disclose their short positions. Currently hedge funds and large investors disclose their stock holdings only on a periodic basis. The combination of the trading and disclosure measures are in response to growing concerns that shorters are driving financial stocks lower. The SEC said “The Enforcement Division has been investigating and will continue to investigate any suggestion of manipulative trading”. Manipulative trading may have contributed to the fall of Bear Stearns and possibly Lehman Brothers. [SEC]

WSJ: General Electric (GE) and Google (GOOG) said they will push for the U.S. government to upgrade the nation’s electrical-transmission lines so that the grid can better accommodate more renewable energy. GE is one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers with over 8,400 worldwide wind turbine installations comprising more than 11,300 MW of capacity. The Web search giant on the other hand has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars toward electricity derived from the wind and other renewable sources of energy. GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt and Google CEO Eric Schmidt called on Congress to continue the renewable-energy tax credits. The announcement comes as Congress considers separate legislation for renew federal tax credits on wind and solar energy that are due to expire at the end of fiscal ’08. [WSJ]

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About Ron Haruni 1068 Articles
Ron Haruni is the Co-Founder & Editor in Chief of Wall Street Pit.

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