The 5 dumbest things on Wall Street

AIG's IPO is 'an utter debacle,' Sony hackers go on a global rampage and Arianna Huffington oversells AOL in this week's round-up of business buffoonery.

By TheStreet Staff May 27, 2011 12:31PM

Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.

 

5. AIG: The anti-LinkedIn IPO

 

Apparently, the words AIG and IPO don't get investors beating down the doors to get a piece of the action. Gee whiz, I wonder why?

 

This week's secondary offering of American International Group (AIG) shares was anything but a success for the U.S. Treasury and those unfortunate enough to have bought in. 

"The share sale was an utter debacle. This was tremendously, poorly done, badly placed and poorly priced," said Scott Sweet of IPO Boutique. "The pricing of the secondary at $29 really had to work for future investors in order to take stock in future tranches. I have never heard clients so mad. They are furious at the underwriters, AIG and the government." Read more

 

4. Sony sets buffet for global hackers

 

Go ahead and brave the untamed wilds of Sony's (SNE) online offerings, gamers. It's not as if Sony's basically paying hackers to take your information while you're playing L.A. Noire or anything.

 

After letting hackers help themselves to the personal and financial information of 77 million PlayStation Online users last month and later admitting that the online assets of another 25 million gamers were compromised when the same hackers targeted Sony's PlayStation Online Entertainment division, Sony was just bringing everything back up to speed when suddenly more holes appeared in their parchment-and-kerosene firewalls this week.

 

First Lebanese hackers got into Sony Ericsson's Canadian eShop and made off with thousands of e-mail addresses, passwords and user names. Then breaches at a Greek music division, in Thailand, and in Indonesia turned 8,500 user accounts into one big hacker peepshow. Finally, because Sony apparently doesn't get it until someone hurts them where they live, hackers hit Sony Music's Japanese site and posted Sony's database information to a Twitter account. Read more

 

3. Disney drops dopey trademark bid

 

Apparently, when Osama Bin Laden was finally dispatched by American forces, there was no one happier than someone who is truly American: Mickey Mouse.

 

Only two days after the event, some mouse-ear wearing legal genius at Disney (DIS) rushed out to get the trademark for Seal Team 6, the name of the special forces team that carried out the raid on Bin Laden's compound.

 

The trademark applications were discovered by FishbowlNY, and showed Disney was looking to slap the Seal Team 6 brand on "entertainment and educational services, toys, games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles; hand-held units for playing electronic games; Christmas stockings; Christmas tree ornaments and decorations; snow globes; clothing, footwear and headwear".

 

Naturally, the move seemed crass to say the least, as if the company that brought us Snow White and Pluto had turned into blood thirsty opportunists looking to get kids excited about death, justice and retribution.  Read more

 

2. Arianna on AOL: Buy, buy, buy!

 

Arianna Huffington did her darndest to be AOL's (AOL) biggest cheerleader on Monday during an appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Instead, with the help one of her own employees, she managed to show that she hasn't yet fully grasped what it means to be a part of a publicly traded company. As an added bonus, she argued -- to a room full of tech savvy people attending a conference devoted to leading edge technology -- that an AOL tech product that has long left consumers' mind space was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 

Who can blame her, right? AOL just ponied up a cool $315 million to acquire Huffington Post, and 25% of what she received in the sale was converted into AOL shares. So when asked whether the acquisition by AOL would turn out to be a good move, there was only one thing to say. Read more

 

1. Best Buy price matches customers out the door

 

At least one Best Buy (BBY) store has had enough of silly customers assuming that Best Buy prices in stores should match the prices seen on BestBuy.com. Really, the gall of people looking to spend money at your establishment.

A reader of The Consumerist decided it was worth taking a picture of the sign on the front door of his local Best Buy explaining the company's pricing position.

 

"If prices are lower online, we will be happy to help you place your order with BestBuy.com," reads the sign. Translation: Even if we have the item you're looking for here at the store, if it's cheaper on our online store, take a hike and go order it online. Read more

 

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