DealBook: Wall Street in the White House

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

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President Trump said he no longer wanted to label China a currency manipulator.
President Trump said he no longer wanted to label China a currency manipulator. Associated Press
By Amie Tsang
President Trump described the Chinese as the “world champions” of currency manipulation.
He said that Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, should be ashamed of her political bias.
But Mr. Trump has changed his tone and backtracked on pledges and policies he supported days earlier. The shift suggests that the moderate financiers of Wall Street brought to the White House are eclipsing the populists led by Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief political strategist.
Mr. Trump no longer wants to label China a currency manipulator or to eliminate the Export-Import Bank. He might also consider reappointing Ms. Yellen when her term ends next year.
His approach to issues like taxes and health care appears more muddled, but there is some suggestion that he is edging toward a mainstream economic approach.
Where Have the Prosecutors Gone?
To Debevoise & Plimpton, apparently.
In the past year, the law firm has hired the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the director of the agency’s enforcement unit, and a prominent federal judge.
It is expected to announce on Thursday the hiring of Winston Paes, a federal prosecutor who specializes in financial fraud, giving it yet another hire from the government ranks.
An exodus of Obama administration officials has helped. Debevoise’s compensation system, which pays partners according to seniority rather than revenue generated, will also be attractive to some former government workers.
Critics will point to the perception of coziness between the defense bar and the prosecutors they face, but the firm views it as a selling point: Debevoise boasts that it is the only law firm with two former attorneys general.
Rainmaker to Leave Brunswick
Steve Lipin has advised on some of the world’s biggest takeovers and generated big fees at Brunswick Group. Now, like the bankers that leave for boutique lenders, Mr. Lipin is quitting the public relations firm to set up his own financial communications advisory business, Bloomberg and The Financial Times reported.
Mr. Lipin, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, joined Brunswick in 2001 during an expansion of its mergers and acquisition advisory business. It is now one of the leading public relations advisers in the United States.
He will take with him strong ties to some of the most influential deal makers in the United States, but it is not clear whether he will also take some of Brunswick’s biggest clients.
Another Headache for Toshiba
Western Digital has warned Toshiba that the company’s plans to sell its chip unit violate a joint venture contract, and it pressed for exclusive negotiating rights, according to Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.
Toshiba is already in crisis: The losses it suffered from the collapse of Westinghouse Electric, its American nuclear power subsidiary, may have crippled its business beyond repair. It is trying to sell a portion of its coveted microchip business to raise cash and stave off disaster.
Western Digital made an offer for the chip business, but bids from Broadcom and Foxconn were higher, Reuters said, citing a person briefed on the matter.
Western Digital’s warning that it can block any sale by Toshiba raises even more questions about the company’s survival plan. 
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Mergers and Acquisitions
Amazon Is Said to Have Considered Whole Foods Bid


The e-commerce giant looked into whether a takeover of the organic grocery chain would help invigorate its push into groceries, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

What to Look for in U.S. Bank Earnings


The first-quarter reports due to be published over the next few days will give executives a chance to show that they are benefiting from a friendlier environment for lenders, even if lighter regulation and lower taxes have yet to materialize.

HSBC Says Companies Are Already Leaving Britain


The bank said that some of its largest clients had asked for their business to be routed through Continental Europe, long before Britain settles the terms of its withdrawal from the European Union.

Hedge Funds
David Einhorn Ratchets Up Pressure on G.M.


Greenlight Capital, Mr. Einhorn’s hedge fund, said in a filing that General Motors had not given its proposal a fair vetting and had tried to undermine it by misleading rating firms, which have warned that a dual-class structure would hurt the carmaker’s credit rating.

Legal and Regulatory

Judge on New York’s Top Court Is Found Dead


Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to serve on the State Court of Appeals, was pulled from the Hudson River by the police.

KPMG Fires 6 Over Ethics Breach on Audit Warnings


The accounting firm said it had fired the employees after it learned they were receiving information about planned inspections from regulators.

Chadbourne Partner Seeks to Block Vote to Oust Her


Three women suing Chadbourne and Parke over gender discrimination allegations asked a Manhattan federal judge to block a vote to expel the lead plaintiff, Kerrie Campbell, from the firm’s partnership.

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A Secret Tracking Program, Dubbed ‘Hell’


The software let the ride-hailing company track not only how many Lyft drivers were available and where they were, but also how many were also working for Uber, according to a person involved in the program and a person briefed on it.

Uber’s Interest in Driverless-Car Start-up Was Immediate, Lawyers Say


Waymo lawyers said at a hearing on Wednesday that two days after Anthony Levandowski resigned from Google, Uber attorneys emailed one another about defending him and Uber from any potential lawsuit over a purchase of his start-up, Ottomotto, which had been incorporated two weeks earlier.


The Murdochs Assess the O’Reilly Damage


Bill O’Reilly has left Fox News for a vacation while his employers decide whether they should force him from the network over sexual harassment accusations.

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Wounded by ‘Fearless Girl,’ Creator of ‘Charging Bull’ Wants Her to Move
Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who created
Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who created “Charging Bull” nearly 30 years ago, says “Fearless Girl” miscasts the meaning of his statue and violates his copyright. Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
The sculptor Arturo Di Modica said that Wall Street’s bronze girl, meant to symbolize female empowerment, distorts the meaning of his work.
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