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There’s an awesome piece in the New York Times Dining section that talks about the codes New York City restaurant staffers use to identify customers and personalise their experience (h/t @Dutch_Book).And while we find it fascinating that waiters at fine establishments all over the city are making note of your love of bread ends or marking customers as ‘HWC’ (handle with care), we really only got excited about one tidbit — what happens when Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn show up at the same restaurant.
If you don’t remember: Ackman and Icahn feuded back in in 2004 over a quick deal they made when Ackman’s firm was being investigated by the SEC in 2003. Ackman cold called Icahn and asked him to buy shares of Hallwood Realty, a real estate company trading for about $60, but Ackman said was worth $140. Ichan agreed, but when Halwood merged with another company for $137 a share, Icahn wouldn’t give Ackman a cut.
So, as is common on Wall Street, there was a lawsuit. As is less common, Ackman called “shakedown artist” whose word was “useless” and also convinced another investor to refuse Icahn’s money.
Ackman won ultimately, and Icahn paid him $9 million.
Now, thanks to the New York Times, we know that this whole affair is probably not all water under the bridge (from the NYT):
At Marea, Michael White’s Italian restaurant on Central Park South, for instance, the hedge fund manager William A. Ackman is a regular and one of many customers who rates an NR, never refuse. What the computer does not say (but the general manager, Rocky Cirino, knows) is that servers can never seat Mr. Ackman next to Carl C. Icahn, another big Wall Street name. The two have sued each other.
That’s really specific, but the rest of Wall Street shouldn’t feel left out.
Mr. Cirino reads the business press and watches CNBC in an effort to know his clients better. “If a chief executive comes in and that day he announced a bad quarter, I want to know,” he said. “It changes the tone of the conversation.”
It also probably changes the speed with which they’re handed their first drink.
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