Yves Saint Laurent Has Closed!

Let’s not get melodramatic. They have only closed their Madison Avenue New York location and will continue to trade from their 2003 opened Manhattan flagship at 3 East 57th Street. However, sadly the Madison Avenue had welcomed the ends of other fashion stores of Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Miu Miu and Juicy Couture stores two years ago.

How many more will bite the proverbial dust, we wonder?

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Executive Chief of Google Blames America For Economic Downturn


Eric Schmidt and Google Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Google’s Eric Schmidt had a few words to share on what or WHOM he thought caused the financial crisis and surprise he blames America! But honestly, we knew this. Information concerning overpaid Wallstreeters created no wonder for us common as inevitably financial resources were exhausted so much so that the market was unable to keep up.

Schmidt says that in May 2008 he noticed a decline in the “metrics” that are used to measure advertising revenue from each click on a Google advert. All was not well in the land of Google.

“We couldn’t figure out why. Was it that people weren’t buying? We initially thought it was our error. Was it possible to make a mistake? Through the summer it was obvious that something had changed. It started in Britain in late May and I remember sitting there thinking what the hell is going on? Is this a trend, is this something unique to Britain? We now understand that it was a shift in consumer behaviour that was an early indication of what was to happen in banking.”

But Schmidt is certain of America’s culpability and wants to be clear “that the blame, to the degree that there was, is largely in the United States, not in Europe, not in Britain, and it was fundamentally because a low-interest policy created too much money. It was an easy-money policy and eventually an easy-money policy catches up with you. Remember what happened. Through a series of events in the mid-1990s, Congress increased the supply of credit for home mortgages, through the institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They were essentially given too much money for political reasons. And then that was followed in New York by the repeal of Glass-Steagall which then allowed banks to use investment equity vehicles to create liquidity which creates very large amounts of money. So the banks are busy creating money and making a lot of money on that creation of money and the regulators were either, depending on your point of view, asleep at the wheel or did not have the tools to understand what was going on.”

Though Google stock itself is thriving in its third quarter even without their release of their revolutionary Nexus One last week, Schmidt does think about the million people who have lost jobs, or livelihoods or businesses and angrily recommends that bankers should stop lamenting about loss since ”the number of people who were hurt by the activities of the financial industry is so large [that] it is very hard to have a lot of sympathy with that industry given the high-flying nature of its behaviour, remember, many of these institutions privatized the gains and socialized the losses. [You could say] that the banking industry should not be regulated but it should also be able to fail — that’s called capitalism. It is very easy to understand. You’re a banker, you make a loan, and if you screw up you lose your job and the firm is liquidated. But if you pick any one of the financial companies [involved in the crisis] that is not what happened. What happened was the regulators decided that the pounding of the financial industry would have paralysed the world because of the inter-linking. I think that argument is correct. If your assumption is that there is a greater and greater concentration of large financial institutions that are too big to fail, well, they need to be more regulated. You cannot have a situation where you only win and do not lose in capitalism. At Google, if I lost $10bn in one day I would like to lose my jacket.”

We like the way you talk Mister, then again think of this. Schmidt admitted last year that the economy was taking a toll on Google and look where it is now! “”To fight that you have to actively manage the company. You have to take an aggressive position on investment, invention and innovation. And there are companies that have done this very well, for example Apple, which had a near-death experience and has come back with a tremendous performance, so it is possible to do it.

Agreed!

As one of most powerful CEOS in the world and co-chairman of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Schmidt will be leading talks with Peter Sands, the CEO of Standard Chartered concerning 2010 themes of how ready we are to resuscitate the economy. He will also be heard by the likes of ”Bill and Melinda Gates, Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs, a sprinkling of royalty, a whole cadre of economists and academics and a fair few politicians including David Cameron and Tony Blair”, a powerful if not influential audience.

He says that ”it is easier for America to adopt permanent immense spending — the deficit that you can see — because of the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”

Also as a firm supporter of Obama, he commends him for the work he’s done despite the challenges he has faced in his first year as President.

Smart Smart Smart.

Darth Vader and His Band of Merry Men Open Wall Street

Darth Vader and a number of Storm Troopers as representatives of Lucasfilm Ltd were invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. They, along with R2-D2 were happy to oblige.

We knew something fishy was going on. Now we know, wallstreeters are on the dark side!

British Bank Bonus Tax

British banks will not be happy about this!!

As the UK was also affected by the Economic Depression of last year which lasted well into this year, it is not surprisingly that a new British Bank Bonus Tax is soon to be imposed on British banks. After having doled out 1.3 Trillion dollars, the British government has decided that they would like it back. The Secretary of the Treasury announced the new bank tax on persons receiving bonuses more than 40000$ as a result.

And it would seem European leaders agree with stopping fat bonuses being sent out to bailed-out bankers.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says, “the debate in the international community will move forward, a one-off tax in relation to bonuses should be considered a priority.”

The British PM, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker along with most EU nations were in favour of some kind of tax limit for bank bonuses.

Banks have responded threatening to go elsewhere, like Singapore where income is only taxed at a mere 15%!!

If the financial meltdown resulted in taxpayer-funded bailouts in cases and it was the banks who put everyone at risk, we think that the tax should be enforced, especially if it is only for a while.

Yves Saint-Laurent Auction Earning Serious Money


The Christie’s Yves Saint Laurent auction which ends tomorrow has brought has amassed a considerable amount of money, skyrocketing past and outperforming estimated price predictions. Items from the sale have already made about 4 million euros. That is 6 million dollars. This is already 3 million more than Christie’s predictions for the sale as of yesterday.

The art works belonging to late French couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his companion and business partner Pierre Berge are currently being sold at Marigny theater in Paris.

The first art sale which occurred in February featured masterpieces by Picasso, Ingres and Mondrian and raised more than 370 million euros ($555.2 million). The second sale, which began on November 17th will run until tomorrow and includes almost 1,200 works housed in the couple’s Chateau Gabriel, a 19th-century Normandy country house as well as their two Paris residences

We have to say, THIS is insane! ”A five-piece set of furniture in antler worth 6,000 to 8,000 euros went for 169,000 euros! To top it off the couple’s pots and pans, which the AFP have described as ”banal” which were predicted to sell for 700 to 1,000 euros, sold for 15,000 euros. That’s $22,294.50.”

hmm having spent that much money on the pots and pans, would they even want to use them?

The great thing about this sale though is that all proceeds will be going towards the fight against AIDS.

We wonder what how much more the auction will make!

Disney to acquire Marvel Entertainment

Walt Disney Co has agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment Inc for 4 billion dollars in a cash and stock transaction.

The boards of directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories,” said Disney CEO Robert Iger.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire the portfolio of more than 5000 characters