Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
On the “Watch List”:
• The Heinz deal probe. The FBI has joined the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into possible insider trading in the $28 billion takeover of the H.J. Heinz Co. by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Somebody parlayed $90,000 worth of “call options” into a $1.7 million payday. The incident is raising eyebrows higher than usual because the folks at Heinz touted how hush-hush and super-secret the lead-up to the deal was. Who's all involved? Stay tuned.
• Squeezing PNC. The Pittsburgh banking giant has made quite the name for itself in conservation circles. But a group of eco-wackos has finagled a bogus resolution into proxy materials being sent to shareholders in advance of PNC's annual meeting on April 23. It asks PNC to say how its lending practices contribute to “climate change.” The group's goal, of course, is to halt commerce and industry as we know it and bully those such as PNC who might have the audacity to help underwrite such dastardly things as jobs and growth. PNC shareholders should reject this nonsense — overwhelmingly.
• Pittsburgh & the 2024 Olympics. The erstwhile Steel City is one of 35 American cities to receive a letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee attempting to gauge interest in making a bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Says Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, “It's definitely something we should take a look at.” Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says the idea should not be dismissed outright. But given the multigazillion-dollar shellacking taxpayers would take, we have one question for both: Are you guys nuts?