Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

Jimmy Cayne joins the lumpenproletariat (just kidding)

Posted by alifinmath on March 28, 2008

In the FT:

Jimmy Cayne, a one-time travelling salesman who became a paper billionaire last year as chief executive of Bear Stearns, has sold his entire stake in the investment bank for a little more than $61m.

Bear shares hit an all-time high of $171.51 in January last year, making Mr Cayne’s stake worth nearly $1bn and placing him near the top of the list of Wall Street wealthiest chief executives.

Going down from $1bn to $61m is a big descent. At the higher level it means penury. He can no longer hold up his head in polite society. He has to think twice before chartering a jet. Some of the swankier 5th Avenue apartments in NYC are going for $20m; some of the posh mansions in London’s Belgravia and Mayfair are going for more. The Indian steel tycoon Mittal spent $60m on his daughter’s wedding. Don’t get me wrong: $61m is serious change; it’s just not real wealth anymore.


2 Responses to “Jimmy Cayne joins the lumpenproletariat (just kidding)”

  1. Chris Prouty said

    How the hell do you spend $60MM on a wedding?? I’m literally asking how it is done…please refer me to a link with details.

  2. alifinmath said

    I did a google search, typing in “Mittal daughter wedding.”
    One result (among many):

    QUOTE The cost of the wedding is expected to exceed £30 million ($78 million), including extravagant gifts for family and friends. This would eclipse the £10 million spent by the Indian diamond dealer Vijay Shah transforming Antwerp, Belgium, into a Bollywood fantasy for the double wedding of his daughter and son in 2002.

    In May, Mittal reportedly paid £70 million for a 12-bedroom mansion in Kensington, London, but he appears to have chosen France for the Hindu wedding of Vanisha and Amit Bhatia.

    Mittal and his wife, Usha, had promised their daughter her wedding would be “truly spectacular” and they are keeping their promise. An estimated 1200 guests, including family members, close friends and business figures from across the world, have been told to clear certain dates.

    For India’s mega rich, 10,000 guests is the norm for a wedding but Mittal is determined that Vanisha’s marriage will be tasteful, exclusive and different. A bill of more than £30 million seems inevitable once the diamond and gold jewellery, designer clothes for the families of the bride and groom, transport and hotels, hire of venues in France, deployment of the best chefs (the Mittals are vegetarian) and “goody bags” are taken into account.

    And the Indian glitterati across the world are dividing into those who have been invited and the distraught thousands who haven’t.

    The marriage of Mittal’s son, Aditya, in Kolkata four years ago was a similarly ostentatious affair. The Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was paid £300,000 to dance at the reception. Khan is expected to attend Vanisha’s wedding but there is as yet no confirmation from Aishwarya Rai, the “Queen of Bollywood”, that she will be present.UNQUOTE

    And you can find a short video here:

    It’s something out of a Bollywood film. Incidentally, if you want to see how crass and vulgar the Indians can be, rent yourself one or two Bollywood films. I see the Minneapolis Central Library has some on its shelves so you can even get them for free. I can’t stand them myself but then again, I stopped being an Indian (or indeed a South Asian) a long time ago.

    For the Indians as for the Russian nouveau riche, conspicuous consumption seems to be the name of the game: if you don’t show it, you haven’t got it. Something in the culture. They might profit by reading Getty’s “How to Be Rich.” My memory is a bit hazy (it’s been about 30 years), but as I recall, Getty assumes you already have a pile (hence the title isn’t “How to Get Rich”), and want to know how to live elegantly and tastefully.

    By the way, ask yourself how you can spend $1bn on a 28-storey residence (as another Indian billionaire is now planning).

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