March 19, 2021

Greensill Didn’t Just Finance Bluestone’s Supply Chain

Matt Levine is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. He was an editor of Dealbreaker,…

Blue vs. Green

I feel like I don’t yet entirely understand what went wrong at Greensill Capital. Greensill, the story goes, was a leader in the business of supply-chain finance, in which it would insert itself between buyers and sellers of products, paying the sellers a bit early (but at a discount) and collecting the full payment later from the buyers. This is safe, short-term financing, which Greensill would package into notes, some of which were insured by credit insurers. Then it would sell them to funds (particularly those run by Credit Suisse Group AG) that wanted slightly higher than money-market returns. Then it all went wrong in suggestive but still murky ways: The notes lost their insurance coverage, Greensill’s lending was concentrated on a few clients, there were various potential conflicts of interest, and it turned out that a lot of the lending was risky longer-term lending against “future receivables” rather than simple supply-chain finance. 

On Monday, coal company Bluestone Resources Inc. sued Greensill for lending Bluestone a bunch of money and then blowing up. Here is the complaint, which is wild, and which gives the clearest picture I’ve yet seen of how Greensill operated. 

Bluestone digs up metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, and sells it to steel producers. There is a simple supply-chain-finance story to tell here: The steel producers pay for the coal sometime after Bluestone delivers it; Bluestone would like to be paid earlier, so it borrows the money from Greensill by selling Greensill the steel-company receivables. Bluestone gets its money faster, but at a discount, and Greensill ultimately collects the money from the steel companies when they get around to paying. Fine. In 2018, Bluestone and Greensill signed a Receivables Purchase Agreement providing for that sort of financing; by 2021 the maximum size of the facility—the most money that Greensill could advance to Bluestone at a time—was $785 million. (There was also a smaller “supply-chain financing program”; Bluestone’s total borrowing under the two programs reached $850 million.)

But the money did not all go to financing receivables. Much of it went to financing “prospective receivables” from “prospective buyers.” That is, there would be some steel company that did not buy coal from Bluestone, and Bluestone and Greensill would agree that probably it should and some day it would, and they would figure that, well, if it did buy coal from Bluestone, it would probably buy like $15 million worth, and so Greensill would lend Bluestone that $15 million. And then Greensill would eventually collect the $15 million from the steel producer, if and when it did buy coal from Bluestone. This sounds a little like I’m kidding but I’m absolutely not:

The RPA Program contemplates the purchase by Greensill Capital from Bluestone of “prospective receivables” – receivables that have not yet been generated by Bluestone – from a list of “prospective buyers” – a list that included both existing customers of Bluestone and other entities that were not and might not ever become customers of Bluestone (the “Prospective Receivables”). This structure is expressly contemplated by the language of the RPA Program Documentation from its creation in 2018: the defined term “Receivables” includes so-called “prospective receivables” and the RPA identifies “prospective buyers” as “Account Debtors.” This list of Account Debtors was created by Defendants by providing Bluestone with a list of potential buyers and asking Plaintiffs to identify those buyers Plaintiffs believed could potentially be buyers of Bluestone’s met coal in the future. Defendants also determined in their discretion (i) the amount of each Prospective Receivables purchase and the credit amount of each Account Debtor, (ii) the “maturity date” of each Prospective Receivable (i.e., the nominal date that Bluestone would have to “repay,” or roll over the obligation to Greensill Capital), and (iii) additional terms relating to each Prospective Receivable purchase under the RPA. By structuring the RPA Program to be based predominantly on Prospective Receivables within the defined term “Receivables,” Greensill Capital – from the start – agreed to finance Bluestone based not on the existence and collectability of Bluestone’s then-existing receivables, but rather based on Bluestone’s long-term business prospects. 

They used the term “Account Debtors” to refer to steel companies that didn’t owe Bluestone or Greensill anything, were not Bluestone customers, and possibly had never heard of Bluestone or Greensill. It’s pretty bold! “Greensill Capital understood that most of the Account Debtors were not existing customers of Bluestone,” says the complaint.

In traditional receivables finance, Bluestone would sell $15 million of coal to Steel Company X, and would have a $15 million account receivable from Steel Company X, and would sell it to Greensill for like $14.9 million, and then Greensill would collect the $15 million from Steel Company X in a month or whatever.

In prospective receivables finance, though, you can’t do that: If Greensill advances Bluestone $14.9 million against $15 million of coal purchases by Steel Company Y, because Bluestone has idly contemplated maybe one day trying to set up a meeting with Steel Company Y and talking it into buying some coal, Greensill can’t go collect the $15 million from Steel Company Y. Steel Company Y hasn’t bought any coal and doesn’t owe anyone anything. As far as the Receivables Purchase Agreement is concerned, sure, yes, Steel Company Y is an “Account Debtor,” and Greensill has purchased $15 million of (prospective) receivables from Steel Company Y, but everyone is aware that this is just a fiction.

 But the Receivables Purchase Agreement contemplates short-term financing of receivables. It’s not like Greensill loaned Bluestone the money for five years and said “hey if you do land a customer you can pay us back”; it’s more like Greensill loaned Bluestone the money as if Steel Company Y was already a customer and had already bought $15 million of coal.

Greensill basically gave Bluestone a payday loan for a job Bluestone hadn’t yet applied for. The result, of course, is that Bluestone had to keep rolling over the short-term loans:

From the inception of the RPA Program, as amounts purportedly came “due” under the RPA Program Documentation, Greensill Capital would “roll” amounts owed by Bluestone. The “rolling” of such amounts was part and parcel of the RPA Program from the beginning, offered by Defendants and affirmed throughout the parties’ relationship by consistent correspondence. By way of example, on January 4th, 2019, $15 million of Prospective Receivables were scheduled to “mature” or be rolled over. On that day, Greensill Capital was to “purchase” new Prospective Receivables in the amount of $15 million from Bluestone by wiring to Bluestone a discounted amount of $14,543,186 (with the “discount” corresponding to the interest to be paid from the date of the new purchase until the next roll date). Bluestone then wired to Greensill Capital the $14,543,186 just received from Greensill Capital plus the difference between such amount and the $15 million to be repaid ($456,814 in this instance) back to Greensill Capital. The net result of that exchange was Bluestone’s payment to Greensill Capital of only the $456,814 in interest.

They had to keep doing this. Every few months or whatever,

 Greensill would come to Bluestone and say “hey did Steel Company Y pay you for that coal yet,” and Bluestone would say “nope, also we still haven’t sold them any coal, also we still haven’t ever met them and they still don’t know who we are,” and Greensill would lend Bluestone another $15 million so Bluestone could pay back the previous $15 million. (Eventually they agreed to do a “cashless roll,” where Bluestone just paid the interest instead of constantly exchanging the $15 million.)

Bluestone’s complaint here is essentially that these were supposed to be long-term loans, as you can tell from (1) the overall context of the relationship and (2) how much money Greensill collected from Bluestone. “Greensill Capital – from the start – agreed to finance Bluestone based not on the existence and collectability of Bluestone’s then-existing receivables, but rather based on Bluestone’s long-term business prospects,” says Bluestone, and: 

Taking the total value received by Greensill Capital ($108 million fees, warrants with a value of at least $100 million and approximately $89 million interest) into account, the return to Greensill Capital is consistent with a long-term financing commitment to a business like Bluestone, not a short-term liquidity facility.

I mean, yes, hundreds of millions of dollars of payments for $850 million of short-term loans seems quite high! But technically all the money Bluestone got from Greensill was in the form of short-term receivables financing. Now that Greensill is, uh, financially stretched, it has asked for its money back, and Bluestone doesn’t have it: It borrowed against its business prospects, and those prospects haven’t yet panned out. It wants Greensill to keep extending the loans until it finds customers to pay them off; it argues that that was, implicitly, the deal. For instance:

In September 2020, JCJ III met with Mr. Hartley-Urquhart at his home in Westhampton, New York to discuss the ongoing, long-term partnership between Greensill Capital and Bluestone. During that meeting, Mr. Hartley-Urquhart assured JCJ III that Greensill Capital would continue to fund Bluestone throughout the turbulent COVID-19 pandemic and work with Bluestone to improve production and sales. Mr. Hartley-Urquhart assured JCJ III that Greensill Capital would continue to “roll” and extend maturities until Bluestone was well-positioned to begin a gradual repayment. Consistent with their long-standing partnership, Mr. Hartley-Urquhart promised to not leave Plaintiffs “holding the bag” because he believed in the Bluestone business as an asset and believed in the strength of Bluestone’s management.

“JCJ III” is James C. Justice III, the chief executive officer of Bluestone and the son of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (who is the majority owner of Bluestone). “Mr. Hartley-Urquhart” is Roland Hartley-Urquhart, who was then the vice chairman of Greensill and its main relationship person with Bluestone. The argument here is that the short-term loans that Greensill made to Bluestone were really long-term loans, because Hartley-Urquhart promised to extend them until Bluestone could pay.

I don’t find that argument particularly compelling — a lot of companies do a lot of short-term borrowing that they roll repeatedly; that doesn’t make it long-term financing! — but that’s not the point here. The point is that you can learn a lot about Greensill from Bluestone’s complaints about it.

Prospective receivables financing, for one thing. But also the Gupta relationship. One aspect of Greensill’s business that gets a lot of attention is its relationship with metals magnate Sanjeev Gupta and his collection of companies, called GFG Alliance. Gupta and GFG are in the steel business, Bluestone is in the business of selling coal to steel companies, they were both Greensill customers, so there was a natural business opportunity here. And in fact, says Bluestone:

In January 2020, Defendants [Greensill] introduced Plaintiffs [Bluestone] to GFG Alliance (“GFG”). GFG is a collection of global businesses and investments, owned by Sanjeev Gupta and his family. … At the time, Bluestone was not familiar with GFG, but from Greensill Capital came to understand that GFG was also an important client of Greensill Capital’s, though Bluestone had no knowledge as to the extent or pervasive nature of the relationship between GFG and the Defendants.

After Defendants introduced Plaintiffs to GFG, Plaintiffs were emphatically encouraged by the Defendants into a customer relationship with GFG, delivering met coal to the Defendants’ recommended business partner. Bluestone sold their first delivery of met coal to GFG in June 2020 and for which GFG was granted an extended payment period to December 2020, for which GFG still was late in payment. Bluestone sold a second round of cargo in December 2020, to ship in January 2021—Bluestone ultimately withheld the shipment due to concerns regarding the credit risk of GFG. Following GFG’s failure to make payment to Bluestone when due in December 2020, Defendant Mr. Hartley-Urquhart at first vouched for GFG and urged Plaintiffs to continue to do business with GFG despite the late-payment, but later agreed that if he were in Bluestone’s shoes, he would not ship to GFG.

So one point there is that, according to Bluestone, Greensill’s vice chairman allegedly thought that GFG, one of Greensill’s biggest borrowers, was not a good credit risk: “If he were in Bluestone’s shoes, he would not ship to GFG.” Another point is that GFG missed its payment deadlines to Blueston, suggesting that in fact it was not a good credit risk. (And in fact it is trying to delay payments to Greensill now.)

But a third and stranger point is that … Greensill apparently wasn’t financing these payments? Like, Bluestone was shipping coal to GFG and then demanding payment, and GFG was delaying payment, and Bluestone was waiting on the money and worrying about GFG’s credit risk for subsequent shipments, and all of this was Bluestone’s problem, not Greensill’s? But, look, Greensill was in the business of (1) financing Bluestone’s receivables and (2) financing GFG’s payables. Greensill presumably had a deal with GFG saying “if you buy coal from a coal producer, we’ll give the coal producer money up front and you can pay us later, so the coal producer doesn’t have to worry about getting paid.” And Greensill definitely had a deal with Bluestone saying “if you sell coal to a steel producer, we’ll buy the receivable from you, so you can get money up front and not worry about the steel producer paying you.” In fact, under that deal, Greensill bought imaginary receivables from Bluestone based on imaginary customer relationships.

But when it came to Bluestone’s actual sales to GFG, Greensill — which financed both companies — was like “oh yeah, huh, weird that they haven’t paid you, maybe send them another bill?” I don’t get it! Greensill, a supply-chain finance company, introduced these companies to each other; you would think that the introduction would involve a promise to finance their supply chain. If it didn’t, that’s a little odd.

Or there are those Credit Suisse funds, to which Greensill sold a lot of its loans. Apparently Bluestone didn’t know that?

Around February 9, 2021, Plaintiffs learned for the first time of Greensill Capital’s purported obligations to funds managed by the Swiss bank group Credit Suisse relating to Bluestone’s supply chain financing or receivables. A few days after Bluestone paid Greensill Capital interest in connection with a “cashless roll,” Defendant Mr. Hartley-Urquhart urgently demanded Bluestone make an additional payment – this time to funds managed by Credit Suisse. Mr. Hartley-Urquhart explained to JCJ III that Greensill Capital itself had failed to make its own required payment to such Credit Suisse funds and attempted to pressure Bluestone into covering such unpaid Greensill Capital obligation. JCJ III refused, stating that he had no idea of Credit Suisse’s involvement or how any transaction between Bluestone and Greensill Capital implicated Credit Suisse. 

I don’t know what that has to do with the lawsuit, exactly, but I guess it would be weird to find out that what you thought was a long-term loan to finance growing your business was actually owned by a Credit Suisse money market fund.

And that seems to have been Greensill’s essential arbitrage. The classic business of banking is “borrow short to lend long”: A bank takes in demand deposits that can be redeemed at any time, and uses them to fund long-term loans that don’t get paid back for years. This is lucrative (the short-term deposits carry a much lower interest rate than the long-term loans) but obviously risky (if the depositors want their money back, the bank doesn’t have it), and over the centuries a huge regulatory apparatus has grown up to keep it safe. Various sorts of shadow banking have also grown up over the years, to try to get around that regulatory apparatus while running similar sorts of businesses. Financing long-term loans with short-term funding is a popular way to make money; it is also a well-known risky way to make money. 

One way around the problem is to tell the people providing the funding that they are financing short-term loans, while telling the people getting the loans that they are getting long-term loans. Here Greensill had a reputation — in the press, and apparently at Credit Suisse — for providing safe, short-term loans backed by receivables; the story on Greensill was always that it was an innovator in supply-chain finance, the boring business of lending companies money to cover the time between when they buy or sell a product and when the payment is due.

But when it talked to borrowers like Bluestone, Greensill allegedly assured them that it was investing in them for the long term, that it was giving them long-term loans based on their future business prospects, that they wouldn’t have to pay off the loans until those prospects materialized, that it would not leave them “holding the bag.” Sure sure sure the actual Receivables Purchase Agreement provided for short-term loans against receivables — you know, like supply-chain finance — but Greensill and Bluestone knew that wasn’t meant seriously. Or so Bluestone thought. Of course the Credit Suisse funds financing Greensill did think it was meant seriously. Who knows what Greensill thought. It seems to be taking it seriously now, though; at least, it wants its money back.

If you tell the people putting up money that they’re funding short-term loans, and you tell the people getting the money that they’re getting long-term loans, then everyone is happy for a while: As long as the money flows in and nothing goes wrong, it’s easy to roll the loans and everyone thinks they’re getting what they want. But if it does go wrong, nobody is happy. The people providing the funding are surprised and displeased that they can’t get their money back: “We thought this was short-term financing,” they say, and sue. The people getting the loans are surprised and displeased that they have to pay them back: “We thought this was a long-term loan,” they say, and also sue.

Elon Markets Hypothesis

“The way finance works now,” I wrote last month, “is that things are valuable not based on their cash flows but on their proximity to Elon Musk.” What if that’s true, ugh:

Volkswagen AG has swiftly gone from corporate dinosaur status to stock market darling, and its chief executive officer’s imitation of Elon Musk has a lot to do with it.

Herbert Diess has taken a page out of the Tesla CEO’s script for captivating investors big and small, taking a hands-on role in getting VW’s message out on social media and staging splashy events big on ambition. It’s paying off — the carmaker’s common shares are now up almost 70% this year while the more liquid preference shares are up more than 40%. …

VW’s stock started its ascent when UBS Group AG analysts issued a bullish set of reports on its findings from tearing apart VW’s first mass-market model built off a dedicated EV platform, the ID.3 hatchback. The car is “the most credible EV effort by any legacy auto company so far,” wrote Patrick Hummel, who raised his price target on the shares.

Much like Musk tries to dominate the news cycle, VW has made rapid-fire announcements in the weeks since then. It took the wraps off a more spacious version of the Porsche Taycan, doubled the VW brand’s EV sales share target for Europe and announced through Diess’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts that it would host an event similar to Tesla’s “Battery Day” in September.

Of course you could tell a version of this story that is like “Volkswagen worked hard to build good electric cars, and the market sensibly concluded that the future belongs to electric cars and that Volkswagen makes good ones, so the stock went up on expectations of higher future cash flows.” You don’t have to bring Elon Musk, or CEO tweeting, into it at all. 

And in fact Diess’s imitation of Musk is … I mean, that article quotes a tweet saying “E-Mobility has won the race! Therefore battery and charging has become core business of @VWGroup. On our #VWPowerDay we presented our roadmap till 2030.” That is the most boring, normal, CEO-like, un-Musk-like tweet I can imagine. The other day Elon Musk tweeted “I’m selling this song about NFTs as an NFT,” then changed his mind. Over the weekend, he tweeted “Origin of Doge Day Afternoon: The ancient Romans sacrificed a Dogecoin at the beginning of the Doge Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.” Ooh, Volkswagen’s CEO tweeted a corporate presentation with a hashtag! Come on.

Still. There are two broad schools of thought about public-company management. One is like: Build good products, spend all your time thinking about how to delight your customers, and enduring shareholder value will follow naturally. The other is like: Your job is to maximize shareholder value, so you should spend all your time thinking about that, rather than focusing on things like products and customer service, which make you feel good about yourself but distract from your real mission. Nobody exactly endorses that second school of thought, but it clearly has some influence in boardrooms. Stereotypically, there are lots of companies in mature industries whose businesses — building products, serving customers — sort of run on autopilot while their CEOs focus on financial engineering, stock buybacks, accretive acquisitions and other shareholder-focused stuff.

But that is old-school thinking; it assumes that the source of shareholder value is increasing earnings per share. What if the actual source of shareholder value, in 2021, is good tweets? Elon Musk built Tesla Inc. into a $600-plus-billion-dollar company partly, sure, by making a big bet on electric cars and then building good ones, but also by tweeting all the time, becoming a weird folk hero/villain and amassing an enormous following of retail investors who enthusiastically bid up the stock and finance Tesla’s projects. “Unchecked tweeting by Musk has made it easier for Tesla to secure financing than pretty much any company in history,” I wrote on Monday; it has also made his shareholders a lot of money. When people want to buy your stock, the stock goes up, creating shareholder value. When people want to buy your stock because you are funny and obnoxious on Twitter and they feel personally connected to you, the stock goes up, creating shareholder value, same as if they want to buy your stock because of expectations about future cash flows. Shareholder value is shareholder value.

This is not in the textbooks yet, but it will be. Never mind Diess; surely other CEOs will learn from Musk, no?

 Surely others have?

 Surely some CEO is going to sit down to think about her strategic plan, and she will consider three options:

  1. Work hard on perfecting the product and delighting customers in order to maximize the long-term economic value of the company.
  2. Optimize the capital structure with financial engineering in order to maximize shareholder value given a fixed level of fundamental economic production.
  3. Do good tweets to get a lot of fans on the internet, who will buy the stock for the lols and maximize the stock price.

Which will she pick? I don’t know what the right answer is! It’s possible that her big institutional investors would choose No. 3! “Look, don’t worry about the cars; if you can get a bunch of people on Twitter and Reddit to buy the stock at stupid prices that’s a home run for us,” Blackstone and Fidelity might tell her, why not.

 There will be academic papers and Harvard Business School case studies about how CEOs who tweet a lot of nonsense maximize shareholder value; it will become a conventional part of the business school curriculum; a generation of CEOs will grow up just assuming that being weird edgelords online is not just fun but also their legal and moral obligation as fiduciaries for their shareholders.

Apollo

A few years back, there were a lot of stories about how the big investment banks were becoming nicer places to work. “Take the weekend off,” a lot of banks told their junior employees, “or at least, like, 36 contiguous hours off most weekends, from Friday night until Sunday morning, unless of course you are on a live deal.” As a humanitarian and a lazy former investment banker, I thought these initiatives were nice, but they troubled me a bit. They do not fit the stereotype of how high finance works. The trade-off is supposed to be (1) you work all the time but (2) you get rich and become a master of the universe.

Of course it was possible — quite reasonable, really — that today’s young people do not want that trade-off, and would prefer to have a more normal work-life balance while making a bit less money and mastering a bit less of the universe. But it was also possible that the real driving force behind the change was that the banks could no longer offer that trade. Banks were still hung over from the financial crisis, regulation was crimping their ability to make a lot of money (and pay a lot of it to their people), and the tech industry was booming and seemed more lucrative and appealing to ambitious young people. The financial industry might have been constrained by outside circumstances to change its pitch to “come to investment banking, you won’t make a lot of money but at least you’ll get 36 hours off many weekends.” I don’t know that that’s a very good pitch!

You don’t read so many stories like that anymore. Instead, we talked the other day about how Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon wants his bankers to spend more time in the office and stop going out for lunch. Rough for them, but honestly kind of a good sign? There are deals to be done! There is money to be made! Get back in there and make it! The old trade-offs are back; finance is once again where the action is, and if you want to be part of that action the only choice is to take way, way too much of it.

It’s not an investment bank, but this Insider story about private-equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc., whose “hard-driving culture is extreme even by Wall Street standards,” hits some of the same notes. It sounds terrible! 

Associates are often handed assignments by executives late in the day, with the expectation that they are to forgo a night’s sleep to prepare materials for early the next morning. Associates assigned to support a deal could expect to live without a full night of rest for weeks on end. One source who recently left Apollo said they often felt drunk because of sleep deprivation. 

One executive made it known that he hadn’t taken a personal trip until he was promoted to principal — a point that associates took to mean that they shouldn’t either, according to one Apollo associate who heard the remarks firsthand.

This person, and an employee who left the firm recently said that associates have coped with the work stresses by relying on a dark sense of humor to get them through the day, joking about everything from the perceived incompetence of superiors to more extreme statements, like saying they would rather kill themselves than keep working.  

Apollo also has a part-of-the-weekend off rule — no calls or meetings between Friday evening and Saturday evening, “unless it is urgent or related to a live deal” — but it doesn’t seem to have done much good:

Associates told Insider that partners at the firm simply compensated for the communications hiatus by piling on extra work on Saturday night. Within a month, it seemed as though the mandated break had disappeared, said two associates, one of whom has since left.

And you get vacation time, unless you don’t:

Three other current executives said that the firm encourages employees to take two weeks off in August and another two weeks off in December. Two of these executives acknowledged that associates often weren’t actually granted this time in practice if they were pulled into a deal and that breaks, for anyone, had been hard to come by over the past year during the pandemic. 

It is all extremely unpleasant. Also, as a former investment banker, I found it all pretty familiar. It suggests the old trade-off is back: There are deals to be done, money to be made, a lot of action everywhere, so you have to work all the time. 

It’s possible that this is all cyclical: When financial firms are busy, they tell junior employees “sorry we can’t offer you weekends or sleep, but here is a pile of money”; when they are not, they tell junior employees “sorry we can’t offer you as much money as you expected, but here is a Saturday off.”

But you never know. Back when everyone was getting half a weekend off, there was a lot of talk about how today’s young people don’t want the old-school trade-off, that the industry would have to change permanently in order to accommodate the next generation’s demands for meaningful work and a personal life. “Seven of the 30 private-equity associates in Apollo’s New York City office, along with one principal, have left the firm over the past three months.” “Associates at the firm are also granted some of the highest pay packages in the industry,” and yet they’re leaving anyway. Perhaps, having had a glimpse of the weekend, they can’t go back to the old ways.

GameStop

The mania for GameStop Corp. stock over the past few months seems to have been mostly a retail phenomenon, but presumably there were some professionals involved too. Presumably some momentum-focused hedge funds and short sellers and high-frequency traders and consumer-focused mutual funds thought, like, “we should buy some GameStop because it will keep going up,” or “we should short some GameStop because it won’t keep going up.” And presumably some hedge funds who were not ordinarily in the business of momentum investing or short selling or buying shares of mall retailers were like “this is not our area of expertise, but it is so dumb that we have to get into it.” Any of those decisions would have been pretty bold, and I have been interested in hearing accounts of how professionals made those decisions. I have found a few, but not as many as I’d like.

I am not sure Bill Gross counts as a professional investor — he is retired-ish — but he’s at least a former professional investor, and a very famous one, famous enough to go on television whenever he wants even now. Also though he is a former professional bond investor, the “Bond King,” so a little weird for him to get into GameStop stock options. But like I said, I assumed a lot of professionals thought “this is so dumb that I can’t resist,” and apparently he’s one of them:

Bill Gross, the erstwhile bond king and co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., said in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg Television that he made about $10 million betting against the video game retailer’s shares.

But the trade didn’t go off without a hitch.

“I got in too early,” said Gross. “I was in the hole by about $10 million.” But he stuck with it to sell at a profit. …

He’s also short Treasuries, but no one on Reddit is going to get mad about that.

Things happen

Griddy Offers to Cancel Texas Power Bills If Customers Don’t Sue. JPMorgan Bylaws Go Gender Neutral Amid Diversity Pressure. Tidal Wave of ESG Funds Brings Profit to Wall Street. Pipe dreams of turning recurring revenues into an asset class. Greece Tries First 30-Year Debt Sale Since 2008 Financial Crisis. Florida Teen Pleads Guilty in Last Summer’s Twitter Hack. ARKK Copycat Is Beating Cathie Wood’s Original by 10-Fold. A former Goldman Sachs trading exec is the mystery buyer of Jeffrey Epstein’s $51 million NYC mansion after raking in big bitcoin gains. Sotheby’s Enters NFT Digital Art Market, Considers Broader Cryptocurrency Options. “If it feels like you’ve seen this space before it’s because you have in T, Apartment Therapy, on a cheese startup’s blog, on a dog bed startup’s blog, on a laundry detergent startup’s blog, on her Instagram Story, on her Twitter, on her own startup’s blog.” Rapper Ja Rule is selling a physical painting from his Fyre Festival days as crypto art.

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To contact the author of this story:
Matt Levine at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracy Walsh at [email protected]