Merrill shareholders must be spitting fire
Merrill Lynch (MER:NYSE) has been drawing some unwanted attention of late.
Their investment banking market share seems to be waning in Canada. In the U.S., a US$8 billion loan book & subprime writedown arrived this past week. And then the CEO, Stan O’Neal, got into trouble with his board for approaching Wachovia about a merger – without his board knowing about it first. Not smart! And with Dan Mida on Merrill’s Canadian staff, the best M&A advisory fellow in North America, isn’t not like Mr. O’Neal is lacking for talented advisors to keep him out of obvious trouble. Alas.
But it’s the latest piece of news might just be the icing on the cake…pushing his career off the high jump. Although CNBC reported on Friday that the Merrill board has largely been stacked with Mr. O’Neal’s cronies, this Seeking Alpha post could be the back-breaking straw:
According to data publicly available online from the United States Golf Association (via www.ghin.com), Mr. O’Neal was able to get his golf handicap down from 10.2 in July to 7.7 in early September. Isn’t that around the time that the credit markets imploded and his firm lost US$8 billion? By the end of September, a few 89s and 90s pushed him back up over 10, undermining the 76 and 82 rounds from just a few weeks earlier.
In September alone, Mr. O’Neal was able to squeeze in nine official rounds for his handicap. And here I was pleased to get 18 scores into the computer over the entire 6 month golf season. The clock is definitely ticking on this guy, even if six of his nine scores in September were on holidays and weekends (guess his family suffers along with the shareholders).
Punch through to the post. You will not stop laughing at the chart (unless, of course, you are a member of the Thundering Herd or own MER shares).