Citigroup’s Pandit Should Drop Wells Fargo Lawsuit, Seek Anger Management
After one week of back and forth dickering and legal wrangling, Citigroup (C) issued a press release after 5:00 PM yesterday announcing it has ended its negotiation with Wells Fargo (WFC) for Wachovia (WB). However, Citigroup made it clear that it “continues to seek compensatory and punitive damages for bad faith breach of contract and tortious interference.” According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Wachovia and Wells Fargo didn’t find out that Citigroup had dropped out of negotiations until Citi’s press release hit the wires. Citigroup had faxed the press release to the New York State Supreme Court, New York State Appellate Court, and Federal judges involved in Citi’s lawsuits against Wachovia and Wells.
The Wachovia/Citi/Wells triangle is a classic case of how communications and new endeavors begun during Mercury retrograde can take unexpected turns. From September 24 through October 15, 2008, Mercury is retrograde in Libra, the sign of agreements and partnerships.
In “Raising FDIC Deposit Insurance to Bail Out the $700B Bailout Bill,” I wrote that the September 25 demise of Washington Mutual put pressure on Wachovia to sell itself. The FDIC became impatient with negotiations between Wachovia and Wells Fargo, and brokered a deal for Citigroup to buy Wachovia with government assistance.
According to an Affidavit (see page 5, 16.) of Wachovia CEO Robert Steel, he said he received a call at 7:15 PM on October 2 from FDIC Chairwoman Bair to ask him if he had received a call from Wells Fargo about a deal. Steel told her he had not. Bair told Steel that Wells CEO Kovacevich would be calling him with a superior deal to Citi’s and “encouraged me to give serious consideration to that offer” because it offered Wachovia shareholders $7 a share in Wells stock and did not require government assistance.
Since I wrote about the Wachovia/Wells deal announced October 3, the FDIC along with Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, has been “negotiating” with Citi and Wells over Wachovia after Citi began legal action. (The government told Wachovia to stay out of the negotiations.) For some strange reason, the government has allowed this soap opera saga to continue and the case to bounce from judge to judge. All the infamous Mercury retrograde confusion and delays were exacerbated by the fact that the Wachovia/Wells agreement came together when the Moon was Void-of-Course in Scorpio. The Moon is our emotional barometer, and Void periods create a lack of direction. What is begun during these times is prone to take unexpected turns and subject to hassles and delays.
Emotions can become very intense when the Moon is in Scorpio; people who feel slighted are more prone to become vindictive. And vengeance is what seems to have overcome Citigroup’s CEO Vikram Pandit. Mercury retrograde adversely aspected Pandit’s challenging natal alignment between the Sun in Capricorn and Mars in Aries. When a transiting planet changes direction* on a person or entities’ planetary positions, it increases the potential that events occurring during that period will have impact (depending on the planetary energies impacted in the horoscope by the transiting planet). Mercury turning retrograde challenging Pandit’s Sun/Mars alignment raised the potential that he would face challenges with any arrangements/contracts he entered into with others during this time because his mind (Mercury) was not thinking as clearly. Pandit’s natal Sun (and natal Mercury in Capricorn) challenging Mars can tend to make him act impulsively and try to forcefully achieve want he wants. It describes an ambitious person who climbed to the top of the corporate mountain (Capricorn) to head a major bank. Capricorn energy is very concerned about status and professional recognition, and I’m sure Pandit considers the Wachovia deal falling through as a personal affront to his reputation. He had a sweetheart deal with the FDIC to cheaply acquire the best of Wachovia while leaving the government with the worst of it. Our biggest challenges in life provide our greatest lessons. Pandit needs to think and act more diplomatically and imagine himself in his opponent’s position (Mercury retrograde in Libra). I’m sure if he was in Robert Steel’s shoes he would have accepted Wells’ offer over Citi’s. Yesterday transiting Mars in Scorpio conjointed Pandit's natal Neptune, prompting him to end negotiations.
Corporate executives and their Boards have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of their shareholders. Subject to shareholder approval, Wachovia has done this by accepting Wells Fargo’s offer. Unfortunately, Vikram Pandit has allowed his personal feelings to overtake the best interests of Citigroup’s shareholders by not making a graceful exit at the time the Wells/Wachovia deal was announced. He is wasting Citigroup’s precious capital on legal fees instead of preserving it for the opportunity to make a better deal down the road. Pandit revived the 1970s slogan “the Citi never sleeps.” Pandit needs to get a good night’s sleep so he can wake up and seek help resolving his anger management issues.
If the government was truly “protecting the taxpayers,” they would have approved the Wachovia/Wells deal one week ago, and would tell Pandit to “cease and desist” with his $60 billion lawsuit. The last thing financial markets need is more anxiety and uncertainty.
*Planets do not really move backwards, but appear to from Earth’s vantage point.
Vikram S. Pandit: January 14, 1957 time unknown Nagpur, India.
Posted 10/10/2008 12:55:00 PM