Friday, May 18, 2007

Memo to Eddie Lampert: Watch Out On Citicorp!

Eddie Lampert starts to maybe accumulate a significant piece of Citicorp (NYSE:C)and puts approximately $800 million on the table. To the best of my knowledge no one has disassembled and reassembled a large international money center bank to attempt to maximize shareholder wealth with a short term hedge fund orientation. This is not some undervalued real estate or a retailer that lost its connection with the buying public.

Banks are regulated,influenced,beholden to and otherwise within the sway of banking regulators of many nations. In this case I would assume the Fed Reserve will call a lot of shots after some consultation with their counterparts in other countries. These guys worry about a lot of stuff in addition to interest rates.

There are too many very senior board members who will not sit idly by as someone attempts to manipulate their company. The ego's and pocket books are too big. In the not too distant past when Citicorp was temporarily embarrassed with a capital adequacy issue they went to some friendly Arab Investors and fixed it. The geo political and global financial ramifications were huge. Eddie you can not do stuff like that.

Yes things can be better at Citicorp. Your corporate repair toolkit does not have the necessary tools.