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Moody's, Buffett, and the Devil

An article on the front of the business section in today's Times runs under the headline, "Suit Charges Three Credit Ratings Agencies With Fraud in Bear Stearns Case."

It reports:

"We sold our soul to the devil for revenue," a Moody's employee said in an internal document.

Oddly, the Times article does not make any mention of the fact that Moody's largest shareholder, according to Yahoo! Finance, is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, with, as of June 30, 2013, a stake of roughly 11.5% worth roughly $1.5 billion. Mr. Buffett recently boasted to CNBC about his return on the investment: "We're selling Moody's at six times what we paid."



A Times article about an action by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen reports that earlier this year, Mr. Cohen increased the size of his firm's "compliance department by 25 percent, to about 40 employees. In 2008, by contrast, the firm had just 10 people in its compliance department."


IndyMac's Collapse

An article on Michael Dell's business empire outside his computer company includes this:

Perhaps MSD's most prominent deal came in 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis, when it joined a consortium that acquired the assets of the collapsed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank from the federal government for about $13.9 billion and renamed it OneWest Bank.

The OneWest purchase has been wildly successful. Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman executive who led the OneWest deal, has said that the bank is expected to consider an initial public offering this year. An I.P.O. would generate big profits for Mr. Dell and his co-investors, according to people briefed on the deal.


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Peter Lattman


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