Citi just got a reprieve for its $900 million 'fat-finger' Revlon error after a US appeals court ruled that a group of lenders must give Citi back the money.
Hi. Aaron Weinman here. On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, died at Balmoral Castle aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. You can read more about her life and legacy here.
In finance news, Citi has scored a much-needed legal victory over its embarrassing "fat-finger" mistake. The bank persuaded a federal appeals court to force Revlon creditors to give Citi back $504 million.
In August 2020, Citi accidentally sent Revlon lenders — including Brigade Capital Management, Symphony Asset Management, and HPS Investment Partners — more than $900 million.
It was the ultimate blunder on Wall Street. And while Citi managed to recover nearly half the amount, the accidental payment shone a light on Citi's internal processing systems for transactions, and fostered debate over whether processes like repayments could be automated to mitigate human error.
Chief Executive Jane Fraser called it a "massive unforced error." And internally, Citi bankers did have a laugh about it.
"The first reaction in investment banking was a combination of 'what a f'ing joke' and 'there goes our bonus,'" one senior banker told me.
Thursday's decision is the ideal tonic for Citi in an otherwise turbulent investment-banking environment.
Oh and ICYMI — Revlon filed for bankruptcy in June.
And don't forget, it's time for the Banker of the Week!
Anddddd, I stopped by CBS yesterday to talk Janet Yellen and her speech in Detroit. Check it out here!
1. Citi has won its appeal over its Revlon loan blunder, helping it to recover about $500 million.
The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan said the lenders were not entitled to the repayment and had been told that the wiring was a human error.
A trio of judges overturned US District Judge Jesse Furman's decision, which allowed the lenders to keep the $504 million, ruling that the lenders should not have been expected to know the transfer was a mistake.
Citi argued that the lenders should have been skeptical of receiving such a payment because there was no notice that Revlon's term loan was being paid off. That loan was scheduled to mature in 2023.
Citi was Revlon's agent bank, meaning that it would act as a conduit between lenders that participated in the loan and Revlon as the borrower.
In sending such a large amount, Citi's lawyers argued that those receiving it should have known it was an error. Or at least had the wherewithal to ask why such a sum of money was sent their way well ahead of the loan maturing.
The lenders, however, argued that Judge Furman's decision should stand because those who receive money from reputable third parties like Citi should not question if the payments are legitimate.
For those of you who like to mine through court documents, here is the ruling from the appellate panel.
And for a look back inside Citi's $900 million blunder, check out this piece from Insider's Yoonji Han and Dakin Campbell.
In other news:
2. The venture-capital slump is over. Investors are keen to write checks, but they might have some new conditions for those startups in need of money.
3. JPMorgan is trying to harness the power of quantum-computing. The bank wants to use cutting-edge technology to solve problems at lightning speed, from options pricing to fraud detection.
4. Glasswing Ventures has raised a second $158 million fund. The Boston-based VC shop is doubling down on seed- and early-stage artificial intelligence companies across the cybersecurity, cloudtech, and automation spaces.
5. Student housing is one of the hottest corners of real-estate investing right now. Here is how firms like Blackstone and TPG are playing in a market that just saw a record $6.1 billion of deals.
6. Private-equity firm Bridgepoint is set to make a majority investment in advertising tech firm MiQ. The deal would value MiQ between $900 million and $1 billion.
7. Bankers have embarked on a high-stakes attempt to offload a $15 billion financing package to investors for the buyout of Citrix. It is a significant test of whether investors are willing to lend to leveraged businesses amid a slowing economy, according to this report from the Financial Times.
8. Wells Fargo's head of diversified financials in corporate and investment banking has left the bank, according to Bloomberg. Chris Small will establish a family office for Blue Owl Capital co-founders Doug Ostrover and Marc Lipschultz.
9. Business leaders have reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Tim Cook are among those to respond to the news. Here's what they said.
10. And here's our Friday Banker of the Week. Meet Barrie Bloom, a managing director at Macquarie Capital, who works on debt origination and acquisitions for the Australian bank's real-estate investing team.
Bloom joined Macquarie at the beginning of the pandemic, and in that time she has convinced the bank to invest in its first-ever hotel deal.
Since then, more than $500 million has been deployed toward deals in the real-estate sector.
Check out the full story here.
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