Acquiring some bad habits and celebrating an anniversary…

images5.jpegEarlier this month, the Argonaut Group (old ticker: AGII) announced that it had completed its acquisition of PXRE Group (old ticker: PXT). But it wasn’t just the Bermuda-based PXRE’s assets that were acquired. Judging by this employment agreement filed by the new company, Argo Group International Holdings (AGIID for now, but the D will drop in early September) has acquired some of PXRE’s extravagance too.

How else to explain the $30,000 a month housing allowance that the company is offering CEO Mark Watson? Or the additional $3,333 a month for a “home leave allowance”? There’s also a $1.5 million relocation allowance and another $1.4 million in the blandly named “additional payment.” Compare those to the disclosures in the proxy that Argonaut filed back on April 3 where the grand total for Watson’s “other compensation” added up to $53K for the entire year. In that proxy, the company, which had been based in San Antonio, said, “Named Executive Officers may be provided with limited perquisites as part of the compensation program. Perquisites provided to one or more Named Executive Officers include: club membership, personal use of a pool car, company car allowance, data services, physical exams, and financial planning assistance”. Needless to say, $30,000K a month for an apartment wasn’t part of the list.

On a totally unrelated matter, turned four on Saturday. Here’s a glimpse at that very first post which poked at Apple (AAPL) for its option-exchange program (if only those $40 options were still available). For the past four years, the site has looked pretty much the same, but in a few weeks will launch a major redesign. There’s a preview here. If your company is interested in sponsoring the new site, please send a note here.