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About Commoner

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  1. This is a real disappointment. If you think about the end of the 20th century and the first few years of the 21st century, that's when this city's leadership approached opportunities like this with a refusal to lose, and fought with an underdog mentality, taking absolutely nothing for granted. That leadership (business, civic and social) took nothing for granted and absolutely would have connected something like this to Charlotte's future economic growth. Barings fell in our lap. This was a must-have, if you understand that the high paying jobs that used to exist at true banks have left the banking system (for a decade now) and are moving into alternative asset management. Trillions of dollars over the course of this generation's watch are moving into the hands of professional asset management firms like AB. Charlotte happens to have a unique, opportunistic ecosystem to nurture this industry. We already punch way above our weight in this growing, extraordinarily visible (to the rest of the world) and lucrative industry. The end of this decade should {have been}{be} a "big bang" of sorts - much like the mid-1990s was. Charlotte will grow and will be successful, and 80% of the city will never have a clue what AB is or does, but you could say the same thing about broker dealer activities or interstate banking in 1989. I'm quite disappointed in the individuals who pursued this opportunity for not bringing to bear every resource and angle that was in play. I am absolutely sure that they did not. The prior leaders wouldn't have let this slip past.
  2. I haven't read it, but in an "institutional" deal as I would imagine this partnership agreement to represent, there is a slate of standard market "minority protections" including but not limited to tag along rights (i.e., you own 10% but the plurality owner is selling, and you want to sell down pro rata with the majority/plurality), drag along rights (i.e., a group of 50% plus of the aggregate ownership wants to sell; the 10% owner can't hold the 50% plus hostage, who want to sell, so the minority gets "dragged" along) and others that don't really apply here ... well, maybe the ROFO and ROFR, i.e., if a member wants to sell, then other members get the right to buy at the price the seller received in his or her offer from the third party (if Jerry gets an offer for $10 for 48%, Hugh has the right to buy the 48% for $10). While nobody does know (and unless someone steps in it and violates a core confidentiality provision of the partnership agreement, we won't know), these are the presumptions that people can/should make, if they're just speculating (as we are).
  3. Artificial turf has gotten to be much higher quality and less costly (to produce and install) over the last decade. It's come a long way from the horrid green sandpaper of the Astrodome. I would argue that it is quite environmentally friendly in certain applications. It lasts 10-15 years with even heavy traffic, it is not susceptible to infestations and it doesn't need to be watered. I would expect to see it gaining acceptance in Charlotte over time, as it becomes more residentially viable and also the next time water scarcity is a concern.
  4. Same here - is the lounge (fireplace, small menu, couches and tables, bar service) that is currently in place, right outside of the BLT entrance, not what they're talking about?
  5. WBTV has been the worst with over-the-top and sensationalist reporting on BAC stories for the past year. Their coverage of the BAC/MER investigation by Cuomo shows zero understanding of the issue or (just as importantly) the procedure. Their coverage of CEO and HQ rumors is nothing but sensational. I never imagined they would cover a local institution so irresponsibly. One reporter comes to mind...
  6. That's a shame. I agree with ATL and you in that Restaurant Week is sometimes a bad time to form a first impression. BLT is above my paygrade for everyday dining as well, but when you feel like you can swing it, it's well worth it. I also like Del Frisco's and Ruth's Chris a lot, but don't care to go during Restaurant Week. As an alternative to Restaurant Week, I like to hit different places that have cocktail menus. McCormick and Schmick sort of pioneered this I guess. But Aria has a great $5 menu at the bar. BLT also happens to have one. I think they might work some kinks out, but I generally spend a lot less and have more fun with bar menus.
  7. Isn't there an empty building at Gateway?
  8. Get out of here. NM Charlotte carries Thomas Pink? I've only walked through the men's section once and didn't notice. @ StevenRocks - They now have a significant GOB markdown. 75%, I believe. It pains me to write this, because I won't be able to go until next week. Don't say I never gave you anything...
  9. Thought I, too, would drop in to pay my respects to Billy Reid (the store - not the designer). They filled a great niche in Charlotte. I always had great help from sales associates. I hate to see the store leave, but I would love to hear more about NM carrying his products. The candies were great (psssst... you can get them at Candy Candy in Founders Hall), but I agree that the bourbon was a hit - especially when you're trying to carry your lunchtime buzz forward.
  10. Oh man. At the risk of being called out for my lack of urbanity, I'd love a Houston's in Charlotte. Perfect location, too.
  11. The gist of the signs was something about breaking promises to employees. I assumed it would be the use of non-union labor, but maybe it's something different.
  12. I guess this means I can come back now ; )
  13. M&A involving institutions that have outstanding TARP securities is really the next great frontier in corporate law. Nobody really knows how it will work. M&A between non-TARP or between TARP institutions would be easy (see BAC-MER or WB-SouthTrust (from back in the day). A TARP acquiring a non-TARP also has precedent (WFC closed on the WB acquisition after it received its initial TARP investment). As for the possibility of a MER-like divestiture, three former MER guys met with Lewis two months ago in Charlotte. BAC said "no thanks" (at least they say they did...). Were it to happen, I think it would go something like this: MER has been absorbed into BAC's balance sheet, from soup to nuts. MER's capital structure has been fully integrated into BAC's capital structure (TARP securuties and all). In order to do anything resembling "selling MER", BAC would do one of three things: (a) asset divestiture of some legacy MER assets (TARP securities remain in BAC capital structure); (b) spin-off of legacy MER assets into a new company partially capitalized by (assumedly) pro rata percentage of TARP securities (resulting in a pro rata reduction in BAC-issued TARP securities); or © a step-down joint venture between BAC and MER (similar to Citi's JV with Morgan Stanley vis a vis Smith Barney) whereby BAC and "New MER" investors form a JV consisting of the legacy MER assets at issue with an option for the New MER investors to buy BAC out of its portion of the JV after some number of years (in this scenario, BAC would likely account for the retention of all of the TARP securities into how it prices the New MER investors' share of the JV, but BAC would retain the TARP securities in its capital structure). In short, though, after looking at the Term Sheet for TARP I a few months ago, I don't recall a method by which the securities could be transferred from one issuer to another. All it would call for is an amendment to the purchase agreement (unless we're talking about the administration's "progressive" ideas about contract law ... I kid...). That being said, I don't know that either the acquirer or target would be interested in sitting down with UST to bang out an amendment to their TARP security deal, short of redeeming them. I do think that BAC would be interested in shedding some of the legacy MER lines that they don't care to deal with (like M&A advice and prop trading) that they haven't already chopped (not that I agree with that course). Hope this isn't too convoluted. If anyone wants anymore color, feel free to PM me if you don't want to ask on the board at-large.
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