Bloomberg exposes Hank Paulson

It's refreshing to see that Bloomberg, despite having the banking industry as its main source of revenue, is capable of suing the Fed, and also exposing the corruption at the Federal level in the US by exposing what Paulson is doing (emphasis mine).

Paulson should be judged for treason against the Nation and sentensed to remain in a 3m2 cell for the rest of his pathetic life of destruction and robery.

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- [...]

The Treasury secretary has made 174 purchases of banks’ preferred shares that include certificates to buy stock at a later date. He invested $10 billion in Goldman Sachs in October, twice as much as Buffett did the month before, yet gained warrants worth one-fourth as much as the billionaire, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Goldman Sachs terms were repeated in most of the other bank bailouts.
The transactions are “just egregious,” said Johnson, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “You want to do it the way Warren does it.”
Giving Money Away

“Paulson said he had to make it attractive to banks, which is code for ‘I’m going to give money away,’” said Joseph Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Prize in 2001 for his work on the economic value of information.

“The worst aspect of this is that they were designed not to do what they were supposed to do,” he said in a telephone interview from Paris Jan. 7. “In many ways, it’s not only a giveaway, but a giveaway that was designed not to work.”

The Treasury would have held warrants for 116 million shares of Goldman Sachs under Buffett’s terms, which would be equivalent to a 21 percent stake when added to those currently outstanding. Instead, the dilution is 2.7 percent under the Treasury plan. Blankfein is the company’s biggest individual investor, with 2.08 million shares worth about $178 million today, according to Bloomberg data. His 0.47 percent interest would have declined to 0.36 percent under Buffett’s terms and would be 0.44 percent if the Treasury’s warrants were exercised.
Stiglitz said finance professionals at Treasury possessed expertise on warrant pricing that members of Congress didn’t. As a result, Paulson gave lip service to the lawmakers’ intent on TARP without gaining much value for taxpayers, said Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor who described the pricing mechanism as “a gimmick to make sure that they were giving away something worth nothing.”

“If Paulson was still an employee of Goldman Sachs and he’d done this deal, he would have been fired,” he said.
A $5 billion U.S. loan last week to GMAC LLC, the Detroit- based finance affiliate of General Motors Corp., was made under the Treasury program and was part of $6 billion advanced to keep the automaker afloat.

In advancing the $5 billion, Paulson accepted warrants that reward taxpayers with an additional $250 million, or 5 percent of the stake. That compares with 15 percent on the 174 completed bank rescues as well as the 100 percent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Buffett obtained on an investment in Goldman Sachs in September, Bloomberg data show. A warrant is a company-issued certificate that represents an option to buy a certain number of shares at a specific price by a predetermined date.
The government has received warrants valued at $13.8 billion in the 25 biggest capital injections from TARP, according to Bloomberg data. Under the terms Buffett negotiated for his $5 billion stake in Goldman Sachs, the TARP certificates would have been worth $130.8 billion.

Buffett received 43.5 million Goldman Sachs warrants valued at $82.18 apiece on the date of the transaction, or $3.6 billion, Bloomberg analytics show. Paulson, who served as the New York- based bank’s chief executive officer until 2006, injected twice as much taxpayer money into Goldman Sachs a month later and got 12.2 million warrants worth $72.33 each, or $882 million.

No Confidence

If the Treasury had received the same terms as Buffett, taxpayers would have become the biggest investors in most of the bailed-out banks and existing stakes would have been diluted, Bloomberg data show.

Congress left it to Paulson and his staff to decide how warrants would be priced and how many the U.S. would receive under the TARP, according to Caleb Weaver, a spokesman for the program’s oversight board. Treasury imposed identical terms for 140 capital injections. Thirty-four closely held lenders issued certificates to the government for preferred stock instead of common shares and one community development institution wasn’t required to issue warrants, according to the Jan. 6 Treasury report on TARP.
Paulson left money on the table in three ways, according to economist Johnson: accepting fewer warrants than Buffett did; setting the certificates’ price trigger, or strike, above market values; and receiving an annual yield on the preferred shares that is half of what Buffett will get for the first five years.

The government will forgo almost $48 billion over the next five years in preferred stock dividend payments from the 25 biggest TARP infusions, as compared with Buffett, according to the terms of the deals.

The taxpayers’ certificates were set at the 20-day trailing average of the share price, which for Goldman Sachs was $122.90 on Oct. 28, when the company closed almost $30 cheaper at $93.57. The trailing average ensured a higher strike price, and lower value for the warrants, because bank stocks were plummeting.

By contrast, Buffett received an 8 percent discount to the market price at $115 a share on Sept. 23, when the stock closed at $125.05.

Taxpayers also acquired preferred shares as part of the bailout. These securities, which can’t vote unless the issue at hand is the creation of a more senior preferred stake, carry an interest payment of 5 percent that increases to 9 percent in five years. Buffett’s preferred shares in Goldman Sachs pay a 10 percent yield.

If Goldman Sachs rises to its five-year average price of $147, Buffett will be able to profit by $1.4 billion from exercising his warrants. The government warrants will be in the money for $294 million, or about a fifth as much for twice the investment.
Under Buffett’s terms, the Treasury’s investment in Citigroup would also have brought greater potential for profit to taxpayers. The two cash infusions totaling $45 billion would have resulted in warrants for about 5.6 billion shares, which would more than double the 5.4 billion of existing shares. The Treasury’s warrants call for 464 million shares, or 8 percent of the number under Buffett’s terms.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Pittman in New York at mpittman@bloomberg.net .

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