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New York City investor revives El Dorado Bar in Troy

It took just one weekend of enjoying Troy for the bar owner to decide to invest......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsAug 14th, 2022

Trump calls the NY attorney general "Letitia "Peekaboo" James" and revives claims that she"s "racist" after she sued him for fraud

"Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James," Trump wrote on Truth Social shortly after James filed the lawsuit. Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.AP Photo/Mary Altaffer Donald Trump lashed out at NY AG Letitia James on Truth Social after she filed a lawsuit against him. The lawsuit alleges fraud and names Trump, his business and his three eldest children. Trump nicknamed her "Peekaboo" and accused her — again — of being "racist." Former President Donald Trump claimed — yet again — that New York Attorney General Letitia James is "racist," blasted her crime-fighting abilities, and called her "Peekaboo" in an angry rant on Truth Social after she filed a fraud lawsuit against him, his business and his three eldest children."Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who failed in her run for Governor, getting almost zero support from the public, and now is doing poorly against Law & Order A.G. candidate, highly respected Michael Henry," he wrote. Dubbing her "Attorney General Letitia 'Peekaboo' James," Trump said she is "a total crime fighting disaster" who is spending time "fighting for very powerful and well represented banks and insurance companies, who were fully paid, made a lot of money, and never had a complaint about me..."James' office said "Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to further enrich himself and cheat the system."James said the conduct detailed in her suit may violate state and criminal law, including "issuing false statements to financial institutions and bank fraud." She said state investigations would refer these allegations to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York and the IRS. Trump blasted James' "lack of talent in the fight against crime" and called her "a fraud who campaigned on a 'get Trump' platform, despite the fact that the city is one of the crime and murder disasters of the world under her watch!"Trump has repeatedly called James "racist" in his long-running battle with her. Others have noted that he has a pattern of attacking Black women with insults, including calling Vice President Kamala Harris a "monster" — a term he had previously reserved for terrorists and murders, according to NPR. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2022

Transcript: Albert Wenger

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in… Read More The post Transcript: Albert Wenger appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, what can I say, I have yet another extra special guest, Albert Wenger, managing partner at Union Square Ventures. He has a fascinating background in technology and software, and is interested in all sorts of interesting things, ranging from climate change to humanism, to the huge transitions that humans have gone through as a species and what it means to society, investing, scarcity and just the quality of life that we will enjoy as a species. I found this conversation to be really intriguing. If you’re interested in venture capital, in technology, in how to think about early stage investing, well, strap yourself in, this is a great one. With no further ado, my conversation with Union Square Ventures’ Albert Wenger. You have quite a fascinating history. Let’s delve into that, starting with your background. You won a national German competition in computer science in high school. Tell us about that and where that led you. ALBERT WENGER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNION SQUARE VENTURES: Well, I fell in love with computers very early on when I was a young teenager. And my parents were super indulgent of this at a time when that was very unusual, and they bought me an early Apple II computer, one of the earliest Apple IIs to be sold in Europe, actually. And I’ve stuck with that, my entire life. I’ve studied computer science as an undergrad and as a graduate student. And I’ve been investing in a lot of computer companies over the years. So it’s been a central to what I do and who I am. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about the timing of school. You graduate Harvard in 1990, with an Economics and Computer Science degree, perfect for the explosion of the Internet; a PhD from MIT and Information Technology in ‘96. So when you were leaving school, were you interested in the Internet, or was it more hardware and software? WENGER: No. The web was really exploding while I was at MIT. And I actually finished my PhD in ’99, but I started a company in late ‘96, early ‘97. And I was kind of doing the company and the thesis at the same time, which wasn’t great for either, and also wasn’t great for our marriage. We kind of managed to get through that. But I was really fascinated with the web from when I first discovered it, which was in a computer lab at MIT where I’m trying to do my stats homework. So — RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about some of the other companies you either founded or run, the most famous is probably del.icio.us, which ended up getting picked up by Yahoo. Tell us a little bit about — WENGER: It was an early Web 2.0 darling, Joshua Schachter had started. He was working at Morgan Stanley actually full time. He had started this as a side project. And it was kind of this idea that you would share your bookmarks with others, because bookmarks were kind of an indication of something that was actually interesting on the Internet. And Joshua added tags to that, and so you could browse things by tags. And at that time, Union Square Ventures’ Fred and Brad had started the firm, they had just raised the first fund. I had just finished another project I was been working on. And they were like, “Hey, we’re talking to this guy, Joshua, what do you think?” So I met up with Joshua, and they wound up investing, and I wound up to become the president. RITHOLTZ: So you’re president of del.icio.us, you see it through in order to be acquired by Yahoo in the early 2000s. Tell us a little bit about that experience. WENGER: The del.icio.us team was tiny. It was sub 10 people, basically. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WENGER: And it was a very rapidly growing service. I made myself sufficiently unpopular during the acquisition because I insisted on certain things, I’m like, “We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this.” At they at the end, they were like, “We want all of you except for this Wenger guy. We don’t want him,” which was perfect for me, mind you, because I didn’t want to relocate out to the West Coast. So I got to just take my marbles and start making angel investments. RITHOLTZ: So is that what led you to Etsy and Tumblr was the del.icio.us acquisition? WENGER: Yeah, exactly. I had a little bit of money and I met Rob Kalin, the founder of Etsy. He had just come back from the West Coast. He had tried to raise money on the West Coast, was unsuccessful with that. And so I wrote an angel check here, and then I brought Union Square Ventures in as the first Series A investor. RITHOLTZ: Is that what led to your transition from entrepreneur to venture capital? WENGER: Well, I was basically hanging out at the USV offices after the sale of del.icio.us and — RITHOLTZ: Just because you had no place else to go. WENGER: Because I knew both Brad and Fred really well, and so it was kind of a natural thing to do. I did these angel investments. I led the Union Square Ventures investment in Etsy, I became a venture partner for that, and then became a GP in the 2008 fund. RITHOLTZ: So Etsy, also Tumblr was another one. And if memory serves, were they acquired by Yahoo? WENGER: They were also acquired by Yahoo. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Okay. So you’re working at a contact list. What was that experience like now not as a president, but as an outside investor? WENGER: It was a very, very lucky landing for Tumblr, because Yahoo really was the only bidder and they were bidding against themselves, but they didn’t really know that. RITHOLTZ: So what eventually led you to say, “You know, I think I could do this venture stuff full time. Let me hang my hat at Union Square Ventures and focus solely on something else.” WENGER: Yeah, that had really been my goal since my own first startup in ’96, ‘97, which was a company called W3Health that ultimately failed. From that experience, I realized that I really loved startups, but then I was never going to be good operator, but I thought I could maybe be a decent investor. RITHOLTZ: Let me make a digression here, and since you’re in front of me, I have to ask this question. So I deal with traders, investors, fund managers, economists down the list, there is no group of people that seem to be prouder of their failures than venture capitalists. Why is that? WENGER: Because it’s an integral part of the business. And if you can’t deal with failure, you can’t be a VOICE, because many of the startups you invest in fail. RITHOLTZ: Statistically, that’s your expectation? WENGER: Yes, absolutely. RITHOLTZ: So it just seems like the healthiest way to think about what is unavoidable, yet so many people within the world of finance, kind of dance around it, try not to deal with it. There’s a little bit of denial. It’s almost like an object of pride, “Look, here are all the companies we invested in that didn’t make it. Look, here are all the great companies we passed on.” It’s almost like a point of pride, this sort of self-awareness. WENGER: Well, it’s also important too, how the venture capital model works overall, right? So the most you can ever lose in venture capital is the amount of equity you’ve put in. RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: But the upside is nearly limitless. I mean, it’s what Nassim Taleb calls convex tinkering, right? It’s the perfect example of that. You take many small, relatively small positions, and any one of them can become very, very large. But you also learn a lot from the things that don’t work. You know, sometimes you learn a lot more from that than you learn from the ones that do succeed. RITHOLTZ: Sure. You tend to learn more from losers than winners usually. And then I have to ask the same question, so Union Square Ventures, by definition Union Square is here in New York City. What’s it like being a venture investor on this side of the country, as opposed to what seems to be, you know, the gravitational black hole of venture out in Silicon Valley in California? WENGER: Well, first of all, it’s no longer that. So you know, Sequoia just opened a New York City office. Andreessen Horowitz has people on the ground here. So New York City is now, today, one of the epicenters. When we started, that wasn’t the case. When we started, people were like, “Oh, there’s been no tech company in New York City. There’s been no IPO.” Of course, you know, we were involved with two of the major IPOs. We led the Series A in Etsy. I also led the Series A — we — Union Square Ventures led the Series A in MongoDB, the big New York City-based success story. So it was incredibly healthy, though, because we were never caught up in the “Oh my God FOMO” of we have to have one of these and one of those, and everybody else is investing in the sector. It was always a “Let’s form our own thesis. Let’s figure out what we believe, and then let’s find companies that fit with that.” And we’ve always been extremely competitive in winning deals in the West Coast. In Twilio, I led the Series A, for Union Square Ventures, and there was a, you know, San Francisco-based company. So — RITHOLTZ: Last question on this topic, how different is venture in New York versus California, or is there really no big difference? WENGER: There used to be a noticeable difference between East Coast and West Coast. Today, I think that’s completely erased. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk about the thesis-driven venture capital firm, which is how USV describes itself. Tell us what these theses are and how do they drive your investment? WENGER: Yeah. So there’s been an evolution over time. I would say, you know, what we call Thesis 1.0 was that we invest in large networks of engaged users, differentiated by user experience, and those were investments like Twitter and Tumblr. And then we started to focus on companies that had less obvious network effects, so more data behind the scenes, companies like Sift, for example. And then we added to our thesis sort of infrastructure, and infrastructure investments included Twilio and MongoDB, Cloudflare. Stripe. There’s a whole bunch of infrastructure investments, infrastructures for building digital businesses. Our current iteration, what we call Thesis 3.0 is about broadening access to knowledge, capital and well-being by leveraging existing networks and protocols, and building trusted brands. And each part of that thesis actually means something very concrete. So let me just pick one of them, building trusted brands. For us, a lot today is about is your business model fundamentally aligned with your customer or not? The advertising model, as we have learned is not aligned with customers’ interests, right? If you’re YouTube, you want to serve the most engaging video so that you can show more ads. You don’t want to serve the most appropriate video, right? But if you have a subscription model, let’s say like Netflix, you want to show something that somebody actually really truly deeply is going to relate to, so that they stay as subscriber long term. So each part of this thesis means something and we use the sort of high level thesis to then look for very concrete things. So for example, I said broadening access to capital, so we’ve done a lot in lending, like, how can we do better underwriting, better, cheaper, faster loans, for instance, to small businesses, investment, like a company like Funding Circle, or to individuals, like a company like Upgrade, in a way that actually helps people, so where you’re not dragging them into like a debt hole, but you’re actually helping them build up their credit score while you’re giving them — extending their credit. RITHOLTZ: So 3.0 sounds a lot like World After Capital, I’m hearing some very similar themes. WENGER: Absolutely. There’s a strong relationship between some of the ideas in the book and some of the ideas that inform our investing. RITHOLTZ: We’ll circle back to the book in a little bit. Let’s talk about a couple of companies you invested in because I’m picking up a theme there, Meatable, Terra, Living Carbon, Marvel Fusion, Legendary Food, climate sustainability impact investing. WENGER: Yeah. So those are all personal investments, not Union Square Ventures investments. But I made those investments in the run up to us forming a climate thesis, and now a Climate Fund. So those are all investments that go back a few years, when I sort of became really interested in what kind of opportunities come out of the climate crisis. The climate crisis, if we don’t get on top of it, none of the other stuff will matter. None of the money we’ve made will matter. It’s so big. It’s so much bigger than COVID, for example, in ways that I think people still don’t appreciate. And so I made some personal investments first, and then we started talking to our LPs about it. And then during COVID, we raised the first Climate Fund, $160 million Climate Fund. We’re almost done investing that. And so the climate thesis is very simple. We want to invest in companies that either reduce emissions, draw down existing emissions, or help with adaptation. So I’ll give an example of an adaptation investment. We invested in a company out of Australia called FloodMapp. And what they do is they predict where things are going to flood. They also measure the actual flooding. Floods are one of the biggest problems coming out of the climate crisis, and they’re here today. This is not some future problem. And mega floods in Pakistan, a third of Pakistan is underwater as we speak. I don’t think people understand how horrific the devastation there is. RITHOLTZ: It’s the other side of the droughts that are everywhere. It’s what’s dry gets drier, what’s wet gets wetter. WENGER: Absolutely. Talking about emissions reductions, we’ve made investments, for example, in our first ever investment in Africa, in a company called Shift EV. What Shift EV does is it takes existing delivery vans and retrofits them in a space of a couple of hours, from internal combustion engine to electric. RITHOLTZ: A couple of hours? WENGER: A couple of hours. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Because if you want to take an old 911 and convert it to EV, it will take you about a year, assuming if you can get on the list. It’s that backed up for that shift itself. WENGER: So they have completely industrialized this process. RITHOLTZ: That’s amazing. WENGER: You drive a minivan in and a couple of hours later, drives out as an EV. RITHOLTZ: Wow. What do they do with the internal combustion engine and — WENGER: That’s a great question. I need to ask Ellie what they do with that. I don’t know. RITHOLTZ: I mean, it seems like that’s a lot of hardware to just throw away. WENGER: I don’t know. Great question. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. WENGER: And then I’ll talk about one of the drawdown investments. We’ve invested in a company called Brilliant Planet out of the U.K. What they do is they build ponds in the desert and they pump seawater in, and then they grow algae very, very rapidly, continues algae bloom, and it takes a huge amount of carbon out of the atmosphere. RITHOLTZ: Algae in ponds — WENGER: In the desert. RITHOLTZ: — can move the needle? WENGER: Yes. Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite fascinating. Two questions come out of this, one is structural and one is fund based. Let’s do the fund one first. So John Doerr had a climate fund started about 10 years ago at Kleiner Perkins. Some people have said it kind of lagged other similar era venture funds. Was he just early? How do you look at this in terms of not just having a positive impact on the planet but generating a return on investment? WENGER: Yeah. The early green tech funds, they were too early in one sense. But in another sense, they were actually crucial to our having a shot at overcoming the climate crisis. Because if it hadn’t been for the investments, we wouldn’t have gotten on the cost curve, for instance, for solar PV, right? So the reason we have really cheap PV today, the reason we have really relatively cheap batteries today is because of some of the investments that were made back there. And there’s this pattern in the world where every big technological shift starts with a bubble, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: So when we had ships, we had the South Sea bubble, right? And when we had railroads, we had the railroad bubble. There was an automotive bubble. There was dot-com bubble, multiple bubbles in crypto. There was a green tech bubble. But, now, it’s a decade-plus later and all the things that they were rightly concerned about are all coming true. And we are now reaping some of the benefit, but we’re also now building on — we’re sort of standing on the shoulders of giants, as it were. RITHOLTZ: And to clarify, I believe that fund doubled over 7 or 10 years, not like it was a sinkhole, but compared to what it could have done, had that money been invested elsewhere, it might have seen better returns. But it wasn’t — I don’t want to make it sound like it was total loss. So the second question is, you’re making seed investments, how does that work if you want to bring one of those seeds to your firm, to Union Square Ventures? And from a public market, that sounds like it’s a compliance and conflict nightmare. You guys approach it differently. WENGER: In our LPA, we can write checks up to $100,000. So we can’t make massive investments in startups. So all of the companies you mentioned have a sub $100,000 investment. And then the only one where I’ve invested more is Marvel Fusion. We can invest more once the fund has passed on something. So if the fund says we’re not doing this, then we can invest. RITHOLTZ: Got it. Interesting. So along those lines, there are some venture firms that don’t really seem to care a lot about valuations and others seem to focus on a little bit. How do you fall in that spectrum? Is valuation significant, or is it, hey, we’re going to make 100 investments and if two or three workout, the valuations are irrelevant? WENGER: No, we’ve definitely always been disciplined on valuation, and we’ve let a number of things go. Sometimes we let them go and they do great, like, “Well, we could have made money if we had invested.” And sometimes you’re very happy at that. Our approach is we’ve always kept our fund sizes small, so we don’t need to be in everything that’s out there. Our latest funds are — our core fund is $250 million. So these aren’t big funds in the scheme of things when you have other firms that raised $3 billion. $8 billion, $15 billion per fund. And as a result, if we think the price is too high, we can just find something else. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about some of those bigger funds, and I guess we’ll hold Softbank off to the side because that was really aberrational. But do you end up when you have lots of $10 billion and $20 billion venture funds, with too much capital chasing to a few good deals? How does this impact the whole ecosystem that’s out there? WENGER: Largely, it’s great for us because we’re early stage investors. So it means there’s lots of money to come in and fund later rounds of the companies we’ve invested in. So we haven’t really spent much of our time worrying about it. And then every once in a while, these firms go. We’re going to go really early and some of them do spread money early. But we find, because we’re thesis-driven and because we are opinionated, on deals that we’re really interested in, we can win those deals. Sometimes they’ll take a small check from somebody else along for the ride, but they know that we work with early stage companies that we roll our sleeves up, that we’re involved, and that we have a thesis. And you know, we take the approach we’d rather disagree with the founder and then not invest than sort of like — be like, “Oh, well, whatever it is you want to do.” Like, we have a thesis as to why we think this is interesting. Let’s talk about this. If it’s aligned, great. And obviously things may change after we’ve invested. We’re not like stubborn, you know. But let’s talk about why we are excited. And if that aligns with you, that’s great. If it doesn’t, let’s go separate ways, right? So we take a kind of — I call it a high alpha approach investing. We’d rather have really upfront conversations about what we like and don’t like than sort of get married as it were. And actually, it’s harder to get rid of VC than it is to get a divorce. So like we think it’s good to have these conversations up front, right? RITHOLTZ: What about follow-up rounds, or some firms that will do a seed round, and then participate in an A or B round? Is that something that Union Square does? WENGER: Well, we reserve a lot of funds for follow-on, and we have a very sort of, I think, sophisticated reserves methodology that we’ve honed over many funds cycles now, where we actually built kind of a Monte Carlo analysis of the portfolio to see how much money we think we need to keep in reserve. But eventually, when the valuations get too high, the rounds get too large, we don’t follow on. We have a separate vehicle called the Opportunity Fund, where we sometimes write bigger checks into late-stage rounds in some of our portfolio companies, but not always. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this book, “The World After Capital,” starting with what is technological nonlinearity? I liked that phrase. WENGER: The basic idea is that every once in a while in humanity’s history, we invent things that radically change what we, as society, have as a binding constraint on us. So let me make that very concrete. For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors were foragers. They were hunter-gatherers. They would go out and find things, and eat berries and kill little squirrels. And then roughly 10,000 years ago, we had a bunch of inventions. We figured out that you could plant seeds, that you could irrigate them, that you could domesticate animals, that you could use the dung from the animals too as a fertilizer. We figured all those things out and we got agriculture. And the constraint shifted from how much food can you find to how much land — arable land do you have. And when that constraint shifted, we changed just about everything, about how humanity lives. Like, we went from being migratory to being sedentary. We went from very flat tribal societies to very hierarchical agrarian societies. We went from being, clearly, like polygamous, polyamorous, whatever you want to call it, to being monogamous-ish. We went from having religions where, you know, everything was a spirit, a tree, a rock, everything had a spirit, and then we went from that to theistic religions where there was some different number of gods. Then fast forward to a couple 100 years ago, we had sort of the enlightenment. With the enlightenment, we had sort of big scientific breakthroughs and we figured out how to dig up stuff out of the ground and burn it and create energy, and make heat and electricity and all those things. And the constraint of it again shifted from, you know, how much land do you have to how much physical capital can you create? How many machines can you build? How many buildings, roads, railroads, et cetera? RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. WENGER: And we changed everything yet again. And so now the point of the book is, guess what? We have to change everything yet again, because capitalism, this is why the book is called “The World After Capital,” capital is no longer the binding constraint. Instead, it’s human attention. RITHOLTZ: Human attention, so that’s the third great shift is. So we went from agricultural scarcity to having enough food. WENGER: We went from forager to agrarian, so from food scarcity to land scarcity, then we went from land scarcity to capital scarcity. And now, we’re going from capital scarcity to attentional scarcity. RITHOLTZ: Capital is no longer scarce. So now attention is the new scarcity, which there’s a line in the book that really caught my eye, attention is time plus intentionality. Explain that. WENGER: Yeah. So speed just tells you how fast you’re going. Velocity tells you how fast you’re going towards something, towards some destination. RITHOLTZ: Speed plus direction. WENGER: Speed plus direction is velocity. And the same is true for attention. Time just tells you how much time has elapsed, you know, two hours. Attention is what was your mind and your body doing during those two hours. Were you, you know, just scrolling Twitter, or were you like working on a solution to the climate crisis? RITHOLTZ: So you say something about these transitions that really jarred me. Previous transitions like agriculture emerged over thousands of years and was incredibly violent. Industrial Age lasted over hundreds of years, and also involved lots of violence and bloody revolutions, and two World Wars, which raises the obvious question, what sort of violence is the next transition based on attention scarcity potentially going to involve? WENGER: Well, at the moment, the leading candidate is the climate crisis. We have known about it for literally hundreds of years, actually, and we have refused to do enough about it. And so now, we have entered the state where we’re getting extreme heat events. We’re getting extreme drought events. The food supply is definitely in question. Something that we have taken for granted for many years now. We’ve taken for granted that you can go to the store and buy food. Unless we really course correct very hard, very dramatically, and by dramatically, I mean, the level of government activation that we had in World War II. In World War II, we spend roughly 50% of GDP on the war effort. We need to spend roughly 50% of GDP on the climate crisis for several years sustained in order to actually avert it. RITHOLTZ: So that suggests that you don’t think there’s going to be some technological magic bullet going to appear out of nowhere? WENGER: Well, if you look at World War II, the government went to Ford and said, “We need you to build airplanes, not cars.” And actually, there’s a chart in my book that shows that output of cars dropped. We need to get to a similar point where we’ll say there’s certain things we’re just not going to do for a while because we need to do these other things. There are great technologies. We don’t need to invent some magic bullet that doesn’t exist. We just need to build a lot of what we already know how to build. Like, we need to build a lot of nuclear power plants. We need to build a lot of these ponds in the desert that can draw down carbon. There’s 1001 different things that we need to build. We just need to take our physical capital and point it at that. And when you do that at that scale, incredible things become possible. So, during World War II, Ford Motor Company built a plant, it was called the Willow Run facility. And in Willow Run, they built the B-17 Liberator bomber. Now, that’s a four-engine bomber, with lots of gun turrets to defend against fires. At peak production, they finished — they finished one of these every hour. RITHOLTZ: Amazing. WENGER: They finished a complete airplane every hour. And my point is once we decide to take our attention, and allocate our attention to what the real problem is, we can redirect our physical capital. We have plenty of physical capital. People say, “Oh, you can’t build nuclear power plants fast enough.” That’s if you built them in peacetime mode. If you built them in wartime mode, you could build them very rapidly. RITHOLTZ: So when you say this requires a substantial commitment of capital, let’s put a dollar amount on that. Are you talking — WENGER: Half of GDP. I’m saying half of GDP. RITHOLTZ: So you’re saying $10 trillion? WENGER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Just in the U.S. alone? WENGER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Now, we just passed a climate bill, arguably, that was a couple of billion dollars, $100 billion maybe over 10 years. And it was like pulling teeth, it was a miracle it just managed to skate through. And that’s a fraction of a trillion dollars. How you’re going to get 10x or 100x? Do things have to get much worse before they get much better? WENGER: Yeah. I mean, there’s a book about the climate crisis called “Ministry for the Future,” by Kim Stanley Robinson. And the book starts with a devastating heat event in India, where tens of millions of people die. I don’t know what it takes. But I can tell you, it’s only going to get worse, it’s going to get a lot worse. And at some point, hopefully, people — enough people will wake up and say, “No, no, we really actually have to get into a wartime footing. RITHOLTZ: So up till now, a huge swath of the population has been asked my grandkids problems, what wakes them up? Is that sort of events? I mean, you see what’s happening in California. You see what’s going on in lots of the United States with droughts. It seems like people are starting to pay attention. WENGER: Oh, absolutely. Yale does an incredible survey of climate attitudes. And it is very clear that even in the U.S., which has been lagging on this, a significant majority of people believe that the climate crisis is real, that is caused by humans, and the government should do something about it. So I actually believe this is going from a kind of a losing proposition for politicians to a winning proposition. And I think politicians need to be much more into it. Most of them still aren’t willing to acknowledge the full extent of this crisis. And the physics of this crisis are extraordinary. So because of all the CO2 we’ve put in the atmosphere, the amount of heat that we’re now trapping that used to radiate out into space, do you know how much heat it is? It is four Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs every second. RITHOLTZ: It’s insane. I read that in your book and I was like, no, no, he must mean every week. Every second? WENGER: Every second. Now, imagine for a moment you had alien spaceships above Earth, throwing four Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs into our atmosphere every second. RITHOLTZ: That would put us on a wartime footing? WENGER: And what will we do? Yeah. We would drop everything, right? We would be like, “They’re trying to kill us. We have to get rid of them.” I mean, we made a movie about it called Independence Day. RITHOLTZ: Four nuclear bombs every second? WENGER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And it’s just — WENGER: Of every minute of every hour of every day, it’s a mind-boggling amount of heat. RITHOLTZ: So there’s a couple of other things in the book I wanted to touch on. You mentioned alien visitors. We’ll hold off on the Fermi paradox discussion because nobody wants to hear me babble about that. But one of the things I thought was kind of interesting is the transition of the nature of scarcity. You’re right, it changes the way we measure human effort. It makes it more difficult, and we need increasingly more sophisticated ways of providing incentives to sustain unnecessary level of effort. Flash that out a little more. WENGER: So if you think of hunter-gatherers, right, I mean, you can see the results of effort immediately. RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: Like, you go to the forest, you either come back with something or not. RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: So it’s very easy to create incentives. Like, if you don’t find something, go back hunting and come back with something. RITHOLTZ: Or you’ll go hungry. Right. WENGER: When you go to agriculture, you have these, you need to see, you need to take care of it, and you don’t know how big a harvest you’re going to get. So you need a little more sophisticated incentive, and a lot of those incentives were often provided by a religion. Religion is sort of saying you have to apply yourself to this backbreaking work. This is the work of the Lord, et cetera. And then when we went over to capital, now it gets even more complicated because you might not see results of some effort for many, many years. I actually think when I say more sophisticated incentives, in the book, I talked a lot about just freeing up humans to pursue their interests, to make it so that you can freely allocate attention. And I’m always very inspired by mathematics. Like, you can’t get rich as a working mathematician, basically. I mean, yes, if you wind up going to Wall Street, you can. But if you actually keep working as a mathematician, that’s not a — you know, there’s also no patents. And you know, the only thing math works on recognition by peers, and there’s some prizes. There’s like the famous Fields Medal, and there’s some other prizes. And yet, the amount of math that’s been produced over the last, you know, few decades is just mind-blowing extraordinary. And I believe we need to bring that type of model to many, many more parts of the economy and parts of activity. So in a way, what all of “The World After Capital” is about is how can we shrink all the explicitly incentivized economic activity, where there’s an explicit, okay, you go to work and you get paid a wage kind of thing. And here’s a market transaction, how can we shrink that and make room for things that are super, super important, but cannot have prices, cannot be economically incentivized? Let me give concrete examples of that. Obviously, we’ve talked about the climate crisis. But let’s talk about death from above. Like, every million years or so, the earth gets hit by something very large out of space. That’s very, very bad when it happens. But there’s no market for allocating resources to that. There’s no supply and demand for it. So we, as humanity, need to decide that this is a real problem and we ought to be working on it. RITHOLTZ: Now, aren’t we tracking various large observed asteroids and doing some stuff? WENGER: We are, but the amount of effort we’re putting into this relative to the size of the problem is minuscule. The number of people who sort of truly globally work full time on this is a tiny fraction of the people we actually should have. And we’re also not working sufficiently on like what will we do if we detected one that’s clearly headed for us, right? RITHOLTZ: Well, you send Bruce Willis up and — WENGER: Exactly. Yes. RITHOLTZ: — he takes it, right? WENGER: Yeah, he does. RITHOLTZ: I mean, it’s not unknown. We know the regular major extinction events. There’s a real interesting theory that as the sun goes around the galaxy and passes over and above the galactic plane, that affects the asteroid belt and — WENGER: The famous Oort cloud is where a lot of these objects — yeah. RITHOLTZ: Right, which is full 360 around the — WENGER: Yes. So we know all of this. And here’s the interesting thing. When we went from the agrarian age to the industrial age, we didn’t get rid of agriculture. This agriculture today, right, we all eat food that’s grown in agriculture. But what we did is we shrunk how much human attention is required to do agriculture, and we took it from being like 80% of human attention to like sub 10%. RITHOLTZ: It’s less than 2% in United States. It’s tiny. WENGER: So what I want to do is, let’s do the same with the rest of the economic sphere. I’m not an anti-capitalist. I’m not a degrowth. Person. I’m not suggesting we should get rid of markets. I’m just saying we should compress market-based activity from absorbing much of human attention to absorbing maybe 30% of human attention, and we should free the rest up to work on these incredibly important thing. Some of them are threats, and some of them are opportunities, right, opportunity to cure cancer, opportunity to create incredible wildlife habitats, restore those wildlife habitats, opportunity to travel to space. I mean, all these opportunities that we’re not paying attention to because they’re not — again, they’re not really market price based and can’t be market price based. There’s just no prices for them. RITHOLTZ: So the conclusion of the book had a list of action goals, which was not what I was expecting in a book on venture capital and “The World After Capital;” mindfulness, climate crisis, democracy, decentralization, improving learning, and humanism. Address whichever those you feel like. WENGER: Well, these are all core components of how to have a — hopefully, a transition that’s not a violent transition, right? These are all about how could we get out of the industrial age into the knowledge age without some cataclysmic event, without a world war, without killing billions of people through the climate crisis, right? They’re also all components of what a knowledge age society might look like. Right? So let’s talk about mindfulness for a second. We’re constantly assaulted with new information now. You know, our brains evolved in an environment where when you saw a cat, there was an actual cat. Now, there’s an infinity of cat pictures. So if you don’t work on how you — how much you are in control of your mind, external sources will control your mind. So mindfulness, which is a much abused word, but it has become much more important in a world where we’re constantly assaulted by information flows, right? Let’s talk about humanism for a moment. Humanism is about recognizing that humans are the prime movers on this planet. We are the ones who have brought about the climate crisis. We are the ones who put a theory to solve it, or wind up getting wiped out by it. And it’s about this idea that, you know, with great power comes great responsibility. And so, we are responsible for the whales, not the whales for us. There is — at the moment, because we’re in this transition period already, and because things are going so poorly for so many people in this transition, there’s no a flight back to religion, there’s a flight to populism. And a big part of the book is about, no, there is a secular alternative way of thinking about society that embraces science, that embraces progress, that embraces humans and all types of humans, and that recognizes that we are first and foremost human, and only secondarily are we American, or Russian, or male or female or something else. You know, these are all secondarily. But primarily, we’re humans, and humans are fundamentally different from all the other species on the planet. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. So let’s talk about the current state of the world for venture capitalists. We’ve seen valuations come way down for public companies. They’re pretty reasonably priced these days, about 16 times for the S&P 500. That’s historically, more or less, average. Where do you see the state of the world in early stage valuations? How are they holding up? A year ago, late stage valuations had gone just bonkers. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on today. WENGER: The correction always, basically, is a trickle-down type of correction. It happens very rapidly in the public markets. Then you still get some high-priced private rounds that either were in the works, or they have a lot of structure. In the later stage markets, you know, there’s a headline number. But then nobody talks about all the war in coverage that’s behind the scenes. And then the early stage valuations tend to sort of lag behind all of that. But we’re seeing early stage valuations come down. And as a firm, we’ve always been disciplined on valuations. So we just let a lot of things go where we just thought it was — RITHOLTZ: Are they down off the peak, or are they cheap and attractive? WENGER: The down of the peak, whether they’re cheap or attractive, I think, you know, time will tell. But we are back in a situation where, you know, there are seed deals getting done that’s below $10 million, certainly below $20 million, and you know, seed rounds that have a reasonable size. So you know, for a while we were seeing these $10 million, $20 million, $30 million seed rounds. RITHOLTZ: It sounds pricey. WENGER: Yeah. And that’s not happening anymore. But at Union Square Ventures, we’ve also always tried to basically be at the next era, at the next thesis and evolve our thesis before everybody else gets there. And once everybody else gets there, try and evolve our thesis. And so, for example, in the Climate Fund, we’ve made any number of reasonably priced investments, very reasonably priced. RITHOLTZ: So I always assumed it was tied to the public markets. But sometimes you just don’t realize, when you have a good couple of years in a row in the public markets, like we saw in the 2010, pretty much straight up through 2021, you see that impact and what people are looking for, what sort of deals get done, and valuations generally. WENGER: I always find it relatively surprising how much private early stage valuations are tied to public markets because our holding — RITHOLTZ: That’s the exit, right? WENGER: But our holding periods are 5, 8, 10 years. And so, like, what’s the current public — RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: And so there’s a couple of different explanations. One, obviously, is just investor sentiment, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: You know, when investors are like bearish because of what they’re seeing in the public markets, they take a bearish attitude towards their own investing. We try — at Union Square Ventures, we try to have a pretty steady pace as one way of contracting our own sort of — you know, whatever our own emotions may be about the public markets. There is, however, another effect that sometimes is underestimated, which is that the people who give money into venture funds, so these are pension funds and endowments, and so forth, they have a certain whip from the public markets, because when they’re feeling flashed on the public markets then their private allocation, you know, as a percentage of their overall portfolio, they have a certain target in mind. Then when the public markets come down a lot, all of a sudden, they’re overallocated, so they want to pull back. So there is a mechanism by which the current public markets transmit into the private markets. There’s a real financial mechanism. There’s a psychological mechanism and a real financial mechanism by which some transmission, some contagion basically happens from the public market into private market. But it doesn’t make very much sense. Like, if people were sort of more cognizant of both that emotional reaction and this mechanism, they’d be like, “Well, yeah, but innovation is happening at some pace. In some area, there’s some innovation and we should be funding that innovation.” RITHOLTZ: So I’m just making notes, investors are irrational. WENGER: Deep and profound insight right here. RITHOLTZ: Right. There you go. WENGER: You’ve never heard this one before. RITHOLTZ: So to put that into a little context, 2020, 2021, very founder-friendly deals. Now, it seems like a little more investor-friendly, a fair assessment or not quite there yet? WENGER: Well, when it comes to founder-friendly versus investor-friendly, there’s a lot more to deal than valuation. There’s all the other terms. And while I believe we will see a correction on valuation that’s pretty significant, I don’t think we’re going to go back to where venture capital was 20 or 30 years ago, that had all these super draconian terms. Certainly, even at the early stage, even at the early stage, there were all these like — there were redemption provisions in the early stage deals. I don’t think that’s going to come back. We are not fans of structure in latest stage deals. Like, just to give a good example, when I was still on the board of Twilio, Twilio had the option of doing a totally clean, no structure round and call it $1,000,000,001. In a highly structured round with like — you know, we’re going to have a full ratchet into an IPO at a $1,000,000,005. And I was — you know, some of the other investors at the table really wanted the $1,000,000,005 number because it’s a big headline number. And I talked to Jeff and I said, “It doesn’t make any sense.” RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: You don’t actually know what your deal is until many years. Like, just take the deal where you know what the deal is today and you know what the deal is a year from now, and two years from now, because it’s not going to change based on circumstances. RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: And so Jeff took the clean deal, and that enabled Twilio to go public when the IPO window reopened. Whereas at the $1,000,000,005 deal, they wouldn’t have been able to go public. And that worked incredibly well for Twilio to become a public company. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So since we’re comparing early stage investments to the public world, lately, everybody has been looking at different sectors the past year. Energy has done well, technology not so much. Within venture, do you see that same sort of segmentation, different sectors have different — WENGER: Well, we were basically the first sort of venture firm to have a dedicated climate fund. And now, many of the venture firms are following suit, either adding a climate pocket to their existing funds, or a climate thesis or, you know, some people call it sustainability fund. Ours is very focused on climate. So for instance, we don’t deal with water waste. It’s strictly about atmospheric carbon. So there’s a lot money rotating into that sector. There’s still healthy sort of activity around Web3. So you know, Web3, there’s still — RITHOLTZ: Crypto, blockchain, all that? WENGER: Yeah. There’s still healthy sort of activity. I do think that certain kind of software companies that had found it very easy to raise money, I think they’re finding it a lot harder, just because people have looked at it and said, “Wow, I think we’ve reached some stage of normalization in this market.” You know, like, not everything in this market is going to be a $50 billion outcome. There’s going to be many, much smaller outcomes, and so we need to adjust accordingly. And also, many of these markets had just too many companies raised venture capital doing basically more or less the same thing. RITHOLTZ: So it was easy to raise money for a fund today, a little more challenging, even if you’re a pretty decent sized VC with a 10, 20-year history. Are they having difficulty going back to their clients saying, “Hey, we’re doing another billion dollars?” WENGER: You know, I think that we will only see a year from now, or two years from now. There were a lot of funds that have put out a lot of money very, very rapidly, and we’ll see just how big the hangover is. But we won’t know that for some time. RITHOLTZ: So some of the folks who give advice to founders like Chamath and Jason, and the crew with the All-In Podcast, they’ve been talking about — preaching really about cutting costs and reducing your burn rate, and get ready for a tough year or two. How do you see this environment? Is that good advice, or do you really have to, you know, go all out and get more funding as opposed to trying to make a more modest burn rate last longer? WENGER: There’s very little one size fits all advice that makes sense. RITHOLTZ: Fair. WENGER: Nonetheless, we held a call early this year for all of our portfolio companies. And we said this really is a big adjustment and it’s not a one or two months’ blip. This is a long-term adjustment. And it was great because we had some CEOs in our portfolio who had managed through the implosion of dot-com bubble, and they spoke about just how difficult the funding environment can get. So generally speaking, we did a lot in ’21 because we saw this coming. To me, the biggest sign of the bubble really was — that we really were reaching the tail end, was all these incubation efforts that were being raised. And I knew this because I had raised money into an incubator in ‘99, towards the end of the dot-com bubble. And I think when investors think, “Oh, I don’t even need the entrepreneur, I can just start the company myself,” that’s kind of when you know that it’s gotten too easy, right? And that’s not going to lie. So in ‘21, we took a lot of liquidity. We sold a lot of things that we were able to sell. And we told all of our portfolio companies to raise money. And so — RITHOLTZ: Last year, this is — WENGER: ‘21. Yeah. Well, it’s best to do things before. RITHOLTZ: Sure. Sure. WENGER: Right? So as a result, we have very few companies in our portfolio that need to raise. We have some, but we have very few. And then, you know, at the beginning of this year, we told everybody who had raised successfully, “You got to make this money lasts much longer than you thought when you raised it.” And so, yes, absolutely. You know, companies were operating with very inefficient growth. Because it was easy to fund inefficient growth, you could be burning $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million a month. And you know, if you were growing 405%, 50%, 60%, that was good enough. That’s not going to be the case. So you’re either growing very fast, or you have something very compelling, in which case you can raise money, or you are growing, you know, 20%, 30%, but you are growing very, very efficiently, right? So being in the sort of 50% growth, but you’re super inefficient, that’s going to be a really tough place to be. RITHOLTZ: All right, so before I get to my favorite questions, I have two questions I’ve been sitting on sort of from the book and some from your blog continuations that I want to hear where you go with this. And the first one is a quote from the book, “Malthus could not foresee the scientific breakthrough that enabled the Industrial Revolution.” I think you let him off the hook a little too easy. It’s just an abject failure of imagination. And you are in the imagination business. The Malthusians, weren’t these folks just unable to imagine any sort of progress or technological development? WENGER: Well, we have had more progress and more technological development than people were able to imagine. I think, conversely, we’re now in the opposite trap. We can’t imagine that things could get really, really bad. We can’t imagine that the climate crisis could disrupt our food supply to the point where billion people starved. We simply can’t wrap our head around this idea. So I think we’re in the opposite trap at the moment. We’ve been so used to the success of progress, and we’ve so neglected the engines that produce progress, that I think we’re in the opposite trap at the moment. RITHOLTZ: What are the other engines? Is it early stage investing from governments when the project has a 10 and 20-year ROI that the private sector won’t do it? WENGER: It’s foundational research. We’ve not had a true breakthrough in science since quantum mechanics. It’s a hundred years ago. So general relativity and quantum mechanics are hundred years ago. Now, we’ve made some progress in biology. Biology, we’ve had some really good progress. But you know — RITHOLTZ: You’re talking fundamental science not technology. WENGER: Fundamental science. RITHOLTZ: Like, I immediately think of semiconductors was a giant — WENGER: Oh, no, incredible progress. But fundamental science, we’ve not had a true big unlock in a hundred years. Now, I think when we talk about engine of progress, this is also how hard is it to start a business? How many regulations do you have to comply with? How expensive is it to comply with those regulations? We’re also talking about — we’re still subsidizing oil and gas globally, to the tune of trillions of dollars. RITHOLTZ: Yes. Yes. WENGER: Subsidizing oil and gas, it’s crazy. RITHOLTZ: Which by the way, helps to explain why so many people have an incentive to either question the impact, the source or the reality of climate change. WENGER: Yes. RITHOLTZ: There’s forces that work there. WENGER: And so, I believe we’re in this sort of opposite trap today. And you know, people like to make fun of Greta Thunberg. But young kids, young activists understand the severity of the climate crisis in a way — RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: — in a way that most adults don’t seem to be willing to accept. RITHOLTZ: Right. I don’t think climate change is going to impact my life. You know, I’m 60. I’m going to run out the clock. WENGER: You’re not. RITHOLTZ: Someone your age — WENGER: The reality is you’re not. You’re not going to escape. You and I are not going to escape this. It’s here, it’s now and it’s only going to get worse. RITHOLTZ: I don’t doubt that for a second, but — WENGER: And here’s the thing, I think — RITHOLTZ: I challenge — WENGER: We could live in this amazing, incredible future. Like, wouldn’t you rather live in a city that has mostly electric or all electric cars in it? Like, the air would be so much better. Wouldn’t you rather live in a world that has huge — like, think of all the Midwest, instead of growing corn to feed cows — RITHOLTZ: Right. WENGER: — super inefficient. If we can grow the meat of the cows in the vast instead, we could have like incredible forests. We could have incredible wildlife areas. Like, we could have this amazing, incredible future. We could have energy reserve. If we build more nuclear power, electricity could basically be almost free. So we have this amazing thing we can go. Instead, we’re headed for this complete disaster and we’re mostly like, “eh.” RITHOLTZ: I think that’s a fair assessment. I think you definitely have that. And I certainly see people my generation, absolutely think it’s not going to impact them or minimum impact, it’s really the grandkids’ problem. WENGER: Yeah. And it’s just — that’s totally, utterly wrong. RITHOLTZ: All right, one other curveball I have to ask you about, which involves Yuval Noah Harari, who says in Sapiens, “All value systems are based on equally valid, subjective narratives, and humans have no privileged position as a species.” You say he’s wrong. Explain. WENGER: Not just wrong, it’s completely dangerous because it opens the door to absolute moral relativism. It’s sort of like, well, if you believe that, then, you know, the ISIS narrative is just as valid, you know, and I just think that’s wrong. And I do think there’s an objective thing, which is humans have knowledge. And by knowledge, I mean, I can read a book today that somebody else wrote in some other part of the world a thousand years ago, right? No other species on the planet has this. I mean, other species have amazing things about them, but none of them has knowledge. And that puts us in a privileged position. By the way, privilege comes with obligation. That’s usually what it used to mean. Today, we think of privilege just it lets you do whatever you want. But it used to mean that you had real obligations, right? And I believe because we have the power of knowledge, we have real obligations to other species. Other species don’t have much of an obligation to us, but we have an obligation to them. RITHOLTZ: And the interesting thing about what you said is not only does no other species have the ability to access anything, anybody has written, anytime in history, pretty much this is the first generation that had access in that way, across — pretty much across the whole board. WENGER: Well, this is the amazing thing about digital technology, right? We could use it to make all the world’s knowledge accessible to everybody in the world. And great things could come from that, right? So there’s some people like Elon Musk and others who are like, “Oh, my God, the population is going to, you know, decrease a lot and that will be bad.” I’m like, no, we have 8 billion people at the moment, peak population. The present trajectory might be 11 billion, although if we don’t get on top of the climate crisis, it will decrease actually rapidly. But we’re making such poor use of it. Why? Because so many people don’t have access to knowledge, don’t have a shot. I always love the story of Ramanujan, the famous mathematician, who used to send a letter to Hardy. And Hardy was like, “We should bring this guy over to England and he would have been a very productive mathematician.” There are Einsteins, and Ramanujans, and Elinor Ostrom, and Marie Curies all around the world today, and we’re not giving them — so we’re vastly undertapping human potential. And we can use digital technology to change that and to give everybody access. And that’s one of the things, one of the great opportunities that we have in this transition to the knowledge age. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite fascinating. So let me jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of my guests, starting with, tell us what kept you entertained over the past couple of years. What have you been watching or listening to? WENGER: I really don’t watch much. At the moment, the only thing I watch with any kind of regularity Sabine Hossenfelder’s YouTube series called Science Without the Gobbledygook. RITHOLTZ: I’ll take a look at that. I’m a giant fan of YouTube Premium, and I’m always astonished that people I know who are YouTube junkies won’t spring for the 8 bucks a month to pull out commercials and distractions. But YouTube is just an endless rabbit hole. WENGER: Well, YouTube is an example of the best and the worst of the Internet all in one place, right? There’s so much amazing knowledge like Sabine’s videos, Veritasium. I mean, you could learn almost anything from how to fix your dishwasher to how — you know, the theory of general relativity works. At the same time, YouTube is also this place where tons of people, you know, become radicalized or redpilled, or whatever it is, because the algorithm — the algorithm has the wrong objective function, right? Its objective function is engagement. It’s not lifting people up. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about some of your mentors who helped shape your career. WENGER: I was super, super fortunate when I was an early teenager. We talked about this, when I first fell in love with computers. I lived in a relatively small village in Germany. And there was one computer science student there who was maybe 10 years older than I was. And he just spent time with me, and he gave me his books, and he gave me his floppy disks with software, and he helped me sort of understand all this. And I’m forever grateful to (Anstur Guenther), wherever you are in the world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Have you spoken to him anytime recently? WENGER: No, because I haven’t been able to find him. Basically, he seems to have disappeared. RITHOLTZ: Well, if you’re listening, reach out to Albert. Tell us — we mentioned a number of books. Tell us about some of your favorite and what you’re reading right now. WENGER: Favorites, I would say David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity” is definitely one of my favorites. RITHOLTZ: I just ordered that because of you. WENGER: I’m reading at the moment, a book by Ada Palmer called “Perhaps the Stars.” It’s the fourth book in a series called the Terra Ignota Series. She’s a professor at the University of Chicago. RITHOLTZ: What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either entrepreneurship or venture capital? WENGER: Develop a mindfulness practice, you know, whatever works for you, whether that’s yoga, running, for me, it’s conscious breathing. I just think it’s such a superpower not to get hijacked by your emotions. It’s a true superpower. And the more humans can cultivate it, the more we can achieve. RITHOLTZ: That’s really, really intriguing. And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture today that you wish you knew 30 or so years ago when you were first getting started? WENGER: There will always be another bubble. RITHOLTZ: There will always be another bubble. That’s amazing. Just human nature can’t be avoided. WENGER: It can’t be avoided. RITHOLTZ: And what should we do in anticipation of during and after bubbles? WENGER: We should acknowledge that they will come, that they’re part of how we operate, that you can make money before, during and after. RITHOLTZ: There you go. Really, really fascinating stuff. We have been speaking with Albert Wenger. He is managing partner at Union Square Ventures. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure to check out any of our previous 400 or so discussions we’ve had over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts from. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week. Sarah Livesey is my audio engineer. Sean Russo is my head of Research. Paris Wald is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~   The post Transcript: Albert Wenger appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 20th, 2022

Futures, Bitcoin Crater As Yields And Dollar Surge

Futures, Bitcoin Crater As Yields And Dollar Surge After a dismal week for risk assets, which saw equities drop the most since June 17, global markets and US equity futures are tumbling in another extremely illiquid session (Japan and UK are both closed, the latter for the state funeral of QE2) as the realization sparked by Fedex that the world is in a global recession, is starting to finally seep through. Add to that Wednesday's 75bps rate hike by the Fed (which however is more than priced in by now) as well as the previously discussed start of the buyback blackout period, and CTAs and pensions becoming forced sellers with investor sentiment that can at best be described as pervasive record doom and gloom, and it becomes clear why this week could be an even bigger bloodbath for stocks. And sure enough, Nasdaq contracts have tumbled 1.2% as S&P futures are down 1.0%... ...the dollar is back into record territory, with rumors of a new imminent plaza accord growing louder by the day... ... 10Y yields are just shy of 3.50%, hitting a new post-2011 high this morning... ... which in turn is hammering European and Asian markets, as oil plunges in response to the fresh highs in the dollar. In permarket trading, tech shares are lower and poised to extend last week’s decline, as investors expect the Fed to deliver a 75bps rate hike when it meets on Wednesday, putting pressure on pricier growth stocks. Tesla (TSLA US) -1.4%, Google (GOOGL US) -1.2%. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Marathon Digital (MARA US) plunged as much as 8.4% in premarket trading on Monday alongside other cryptocurrency- related stocks, after Bitcoin dropped toward the lowest level since 2020 on monetary tightening concerns. US-listed Chinese stocks edged lower in premarket trading Monday after Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong dropped, putting them on track to enter bear-market territory. Alibaba (BABA US) -1.5%, Nio (NIO US) -1.6%. FOXO Technologies (FOXO US) surges in premarket trading after tumbling 52% on its debut on Friday via its combination with special purpose acquisition company Delwinds Insurance Acquisition Corp. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO US) falls 6.5% in US premarket trading Monday after a hacker published pre-release footage from development of Grand Theft Auto VI, its most anticipated video game. In addition to the startling FedEx warning which sent the stock crashing by the most on record, investors also face potential volatility from policy decisions this week by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and a host of other central banks. The British pound sank to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985 on Friday and the yen remains under pressure, though it has backed off from just below the key 145 level versus the dollar. “The aggressive tightening of policy in the coming 4-6 months, not just in the US but globally, increases the risk of a recession next year,” said Maria Landeborn, a senior strategist at Danske Bank A/S. “We expect uncertainty will remain high surrounding inflation, rates and the overall economy, which is negative for market sentiment and risk assets.” With the Fed poised to hike 75bps (and perhaps even 100bps) and keep rising until it hits 4.50%, top Wall Street strategists see mounting risks for US earnings and equity valuations. Both Morgan Stanley’s Michael J. Wilson and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David J. Kostin said headwinds to profitability are building, highlighting tighter monetary policy and pressure on company margins. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.9% with Spain' IBEX outperforming, dropping just 0.3%, CAC 40 lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, financial services and real estate are the worst performing sectors. Rate-sensitive European real estate shares are among the worst-performing in Europe in Monday trading, with the region’s equity market dropping further after seeing the biggest weekly decline in three months, as investors await a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting this week.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Porsche Automobil Holding advances; Volkswagen AG said it’s looking to raise as much as EU9.4 billion from the IPO of its sports-car maker in what could be Europe’s largest listing in more than a decade European energy stocks fall, making them the worst-performing sector in Europe on Monday, as oil prices dipped, erasing earlier gains, with the Stoxx 600 Energy index declining 1.8% European real estate shares are among the worst- performing in Europe in Monday trading, with the region’s equity market dropping as investors await a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting this week TF1 and M6 slumped after the French TV companies called off a planned combination because of objections from the country’s antitrust regulator; also today, Oddo cut TF1 to neutral Valneva falls as much as 16% after the French vaccines maker said it will terminate a Covid-19 vaccine collaboration with IDT Biologika, agreeing to pay as much as EU36.2 million in cash. Earlier in the session, Asian equities fell, poised for a fifth session of decline, as the dollar strengthened ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index erased early gains and fell as much as 0.8%, dragged by consumer discretionary and tech shares. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and South Korea were among the worst performers in the region. Japan’s market was shut for a holiday. The dollar’s gains put pressure on regional currencies, and stocks tumbled in the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Traders are watching the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest-rate decision on Wednesday for signals on further policy tightening, pricing in a 75-basis-point hike. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell more than 1%, taking its losses from a June 28 peak to just short of 20%, which will mark the start of a bear market. Mainland China stocks traded little changed Monday as megacity Chengdu exited a lockdown. MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific stock gauge has clocked five consecutive weeks of losses as investors factor in higher US interest rates and a strong dollar. Optimism over any easing of China’s Covid-Zero stance after the party congress in October is also waning. “Unless the Fed is done with rate hikes, the US dollar bull market is not over yet,” Lim Say Boon, chief investment strategist at CGS-CIMB Securities wrote in a note. In Australia, The t&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to close at 6,719.90, the lowest since July 19, dragged by losses in health care and energy shares.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,531.99. The nation’s economic outlook is sound, despite increasing domestic and international turbulence, S&P said in a statement Stocks in India snapped three days of declines, helped by a rally in consumer and auto firms on expectations of a boost in demand during the upcoming festive season. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.5% to 59,141.23 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also gained by a similar magnitude. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 20 rose and 10 fell. A gauge of fast-moving consumer-goods makers was the best performer among 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. Most stocks across Asia declined ahead of key rate decisions by various central banks, including the US Federal Reserve. A higher-than-expected inflation in the US has raised expectations of another 75-basis-point hike when Fed policymakers meet on Wednesday. Housing Development Finance Corp contributed the most to the Sensex’s gains, increasing 1.5%.  In rates, Treasuries re-opened with yields cheaper by up to 5.5bp across front end of the curve in a bear flattening move. Into the weakness 10-year yields top at 3.506% and cheapest levels since June 2011. Cash market was closed overnight as UK observes a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and Japan is out on holiday. Treasury yields 3.5bp to 5.5bp cheaper across the curve with long end outperforming slightly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1bp on the day. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; up to $20b expected for the week with Monday and Tuesday potentially busy ahead of Wednesday FOMC. Latest CFTC positioning data shows hedge fund net short in two-year note futures, biggest since June 2021. Bund yields climb some 3bps across the curve. Australia’s bonds rose for the first time in four days. Yields fell 3-5bps across the curve. In FX, the dollar strengthens against all FX majors; euro trades below parity while cable trades at around 1.13/USD and the yen slides near 143.43/USD. UK observes a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Some more details: The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.3% as the greenback strengthened against all Group-of-10 peers. Risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies were the worst performers. Treasury futures eased, sending yields a few basis points higher The euro gave up an Asia session gain to drop for the first time in four days, yet momentum in options is less bearish across all tenors compared to a week ago. German bonds inched lower, with yields rising 3-4 bps, ahead of ECB speakers today The Swiss franc and the yen held up best against wide dollar gains. Hedge funds ramped up bearish yen bets to a three-month high on expectations Japan would languish in a world where developed market peers are racing to hike interest rates The yuan fell even as the People’s Bank of China fixed the currency at 6.9396 per dollar, 647 pips stronger than the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and traders, the widest difference on record since Bloomberg started the survey in 2018 In commodities, WTI drifts 1.3% lower to trade near $83.98. Oil futures have resumed the sell-off, in part amid the cautious risk tone/firmer Dollar. Nord Stream AG says it cannot confirm nominations for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Monday. Kuwait produces more than 2.8mln bpd and has plans to increase oil output whenever the market needs it, while Kuwait currently produces 650mln cubic feet of gas per day and plans to raise it to 1bln cubic feet, according to Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation’s CEO, cited by Reuters. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade near $1,665/oz. European natural gas futures fall again to their lowest level in almost two months. Bitcoin extends decline to $18k-level as broad crypto selloff continues. Bitcoin remained under pressure sub-USD 18,500. Ethereum extended on losses under USD 1,300. It's a busy week on the macro front, but Monday will be quiet with just the September NAHB housing market index on deck in the US. We also get the Eurozone July construction output, Canada August industrial product and raw materials prices. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.8% to 3,861.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% MXAP down 0.5% to 149.48 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 487.97 Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,567.65 Topix down 0.6% to 1,938.56 Hang Seng Index down 1.0% to 18,565.97 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,115.60 Sensex up 0.6% to 59,203.12 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 6,719.92 Kospi down 1.1% to 2,355.66 German 10Y yield up 3 bps to 1.78% Euro down 0.4% to $0.9978 Brent futures down 0.9% to $90.53/bbl Gold spot down 0.7% to $1,663.72 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.3% to 110.05 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve officials are on track to raise interest rates by 75 basis points for the third consecutive meeting this week and signal they’re heading above 4% and will then go on hold Investors bracing for another jumbo Federal Reserve interest-rate hike are focused on a few key trades: betting on deeper inversion in the US yield curve, further losses in stocks and a stronger dollar The risk of a euro-area recession has reached its highest level since July 2020 as concerns grow that a winter energy squeeze will cause a slump in economic activity. Economists polled by Bloomberg now put the probability of two straight quarters of contraction at 80% in the next 12 months, up from 60% in a previous survey European Central Bank interest rates will need to rise a lot more to get inflation under control, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said over the weekend The Chinese megacity of Chengdu exited its lockdown on Monday, with 21 million people allowed to leave their homes and resume most aspects of normal life for the first time since Sept. 1, provided they’re tested regularly for Covid-19 A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mostly subdued with the region lacking firm direction amid holiday-quietened conditions and with participants cautious ahead of this week’s slew of central bank policy decisions including from the FOMC, BoE and BoJ. ASX 200 was indecisive after gains in the mining industry were offset by underperformance in tech and defensives, with risk appetite also contained amid further calls for the RBA to hike by 50bps next month. Nikkei 225 was closed due to a domestic holiday. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp declined with the Hong Kong benchmark pressured by losses in tech and pharmaceuticals, while the mainland was also subdued despite the cities of Chengdu and Dalian lifting lockdowns and the PBoC conducting 14-day reverse repos for the first time since January at a lower rate. Nonetheless, the injection was likely due to the upcoming National Day holidays and the rate cut was not much of a surprise after a similar cut in the 7-day reverse repo rate last month, while geopolitical concerns also lingered following comments from US President Biden that US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Top Asian News China’s Chengdu lifted the lockdown for the entire city and Dalian will also lift the citywide lockdown effective this Monday, according to Bloomberg. China NDRC is seeking to promote an acceleration of the recovery in domestic consumption and speed up the injection of funds to start project construction ASAP. NDRC said the foundation of the economic recovery is still weak despite positive changes in main economic indicators and that external environment for utilising foreign capital is increasingly complex and severe, while it added there remains some factors affecting foreign investment confidence. UBS cut its China 2022 GDP growth forecast to 2.7% from 3.0% due to a weak Q3 recovery, according to Bloomberg. China’s Global Times stated that economists urged US regulators to serve market fairness and not let their work be trained with political factors as they are about to begin reviewing audit files of Chinese companies. US tsunami warning system issued a tsunami threat in Taiwan on Sunday morning following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Japan’s weather agency issued a special typhoon warning for the Kagoshima prefecture in southern Japan on Saturday, according to Reuters. It was later reported that the typhoon made landfall and millions were told to evacuate homes, according to FT. The subdued tone seen across a holiday-thinned APAC session reverberated into Europe, with UK markets closed due to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. European cash bourses are lower across the board but off worst levels. European sectors are mostly lower with no overarching theme. US equity futures are softer in tandem with their European counterparts with relatively broad-based losses seen across the main December contracts. Top European News UK PM Truss will conduct a bilateral meeting with US President Biden at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday instead of meeting in Downing Street on Sunday, according to a statement cited by Reuters. UK PM Truss agreed with Irish PM Martin that an opportunity exists for the UK and the EU for a negotiated Brexit resolution to the Northern Ireland protocol, according to RTE. UK PM Truss’s chief of staff Fullbrook said he is cooperating with the FBI regarding an investigation into a Conservative Party donor charged with illegally providing campaign donations to a former Puerto Rico governor, although Fullbrook denied any wrongdoing, according to FT. ECB’s Lane said there will probably be several more rate hikes this year and early next year, while he noted signs that inflation will come down but not just yet and said that a recession cannot be ruled out, according to Reuters. ECB’s Nagel said the ECB are ‘a good way off’ from where rates should be and rates will need to rise a lot more to get inflation under control, although is confident that inflation rates will fall after a tough winter, according to Bloomberg. EU is set to withhold EUR 7.5bln of funding from Hungary due to rule of law violations regarding corruption in awarding public contracts, according to FT. EU may ask companies to expand or repurpose production lines, according to European Commission emergency powers to avert supply crisis Geopolitics US President Biden warned Russian President Putin against changing the face of the war by using tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine, while he also stated that Ukraine is not losing the war and is making progress in some areas, according to an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Furthermore, President Biden said he warned Chinese President Xi of an investment chill and that it would be a gigantic mistake if China violates sanctions on Russia but noted that there has been no indication that Beijing has provided weapons to Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. US Joint Chief of Staff chairman General Milley said during a visit to a military base in Poland that it is still unclear how Russia will react to the battlefield setbacks in Ukraine and now is the time for increased vigilance and preparedness, according to Reuters. IAEA said one of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s regular external power lines has been repaired and the plant is receiving electricity directly from the national grid, while it added that although there has not been any recent shelling at or near the plant, it continues to occur in the wider area, according to Reuters. Russia and China have agreed on further cooperating on defence with a focus on joint exercises, according to Interfax cited Russian Security Council. US President Biden said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, according to Reuters. Taiwan said China continued its military activities around the island and that it detected 20 Chinese aircraft and 5 Chinese ships operating around Taiwan on Saturday, according to Reuters. FX The Dollar regrouped and regained a bid on a combination of technical and positional factors; DXY topped 110.00 but remains shy of Friday's best. EUR/USD retreated back under parity, GBP/USD under 1.1400 from a 1.1442 peak. USD/JPY grinds upwards and briefly topped 143.50, whilst antipodeans are the G10 laggards. Fixed Income Bonds have extended to the downside after waning from best levels earlier or overnight. Bunds are off a deeper 142.43 Eurex trough and the US 10-year T-note is nearer the base of its 114-12+/114-25+ range. Commodities WTI and Brent futures have resumed the sell-off, in part amid the cautious risk tone/firmer Dollar. Nord Stream AG says it cannot confirm nominations for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Monday. Kuwait produces more than 2.8mln bpd and has plans to increase oil output whenever the market needs it, while Kuwait currently produces 650mln cubic feet of gas per day and plans to raise it to 1bln cubic feet, according to Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation’s CEO, cited by Reuters. Spot gold has been under pressure as the Dollar gained traction, whilst CME copper is softer amid the risk tone Chinese copper tycoon He Jinbi’s Maike Metals International is reportedly suffering a liquidity crisis that threatens his empire which handles one of every four tons of copper imported into China, according to Bloomberg. US Event Calendar 10:00: Sept. NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 47, prior 49 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A packed week will kick off with a quiet, solemn, start, as the UK is closed for the Queen’s funeral. Japan is also out on holiday. Looking forward, the postponed BoE meeting will nudge its way into an already packed central bank meeting schedule which includes the BoJ, SNB, Riksbank, Norgesbank, and of course, the Fed. Suffice to say, monetary policy will be in focus this week. On the Fed, market pricing glided toward Matt Luzzetti’s expectations (full FOMC preview here) that the Fed will deliver a 75bp hike next week, having decayed from last week’s peaks after the stronger than expected CPI data. Much closer to consensus PPI and University of Michigan inflation expectations data helped bring pricing back from the peaks, let alone no press reports seemingly confirming pricing one way or another (finishing the week at 79.8bps priced). Regardless, some premium of a 100bp move will probably stay priced in for Wednesday, either on the off chance of some late blackout-period guidance. Beyond the rate move itself, the new SEP should show unemployment ticking higher, moving farther from a soft-landing forecast. Luzzetti and co. expect the dots will show unemployment ratcheting to 4.5%. The September FOMC also adds another year to the SEP, so we will get figures for 2025, showing how steep a hiking cycle, how deep any recession, and how quick the subsequent recovery policymakers are expecting if their preferred policy path is realized. On the BoE, our economists expect (full preview here) the MPC to vote for a second consecutive 50bp hike, albeit along divisive lines, with dissents favouring both a 25bp and a 75bp move likely surfacing. On the balance sheet, the MPC should confirm the start of gilt sales from later on this month, totaling GBP 10bn per quarter. Our economists expect the BoE’s terminal rate will be 4%, reached in May of next year, which is a 150bp upgrade over their old forecast. The Bank of Japan also meets, where our economist expects (full preview here) the BoJ to remain the DM outlier by maintaining an easy policy stance, while agreeing to end their special pandemic funds-supplying operation as scheduled at the end of the month. The policy divergence will continue to weigh on a yen which is around its weakest levels versus the dollar since the early 90s, but our economists do not expect that augurs intervention, as fundamentals are driving the weakening and reduce the chance any intervention is effective. Geopolitical risks will remain in focus, where the Ukraine war is most front-and-center. Elsewhere, a few conflagrations have broken out in former USSR states which individually may not be macro moving events, but are something to keep an eye on if symptomatic of something broader. Finally, an ever-looming potential issue, President Biden said in an interview with 60 minutes that the US would defend Taiwan if invaded, even as he downplayed the claim as not official US policy. Overnight in Asia equity markets are trading in negative territory at the start of the week after the US equities ended in the red on Friday. The Kospi (-0.98%) is the largest underperformer across the region followed by the Hang Seng (-0.88%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.22%) is trading lower while the CSI (-0.11%) is swinging between gains and losses. Elsewhere, as mentioned, markets in Japan are closed for a holiday with no trading in Treasuries until the US session. In overnight trading, US stock futures are pointing to further losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.27%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.50%) both edging lower. A quick recap of last week, which was a reliable microcosm of the major macro stories over the year, namely the war in Ukraine and the central bank battle over inflation. Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive stoked some optimism early in the week, optimism which faded from risk assets (along with the tightening in global policy paths, more below) as the pathway to peace and an end to the war were not any clearer. That was ossified on Friday with President Putin giving a press conference where he warned about escalating the conflict in so many words. Global equity indices retreated over the week, with the STOXX 600 down -2.89% (-1.58% Friday), the DAX -2.65% lower (-1.66% Friday), and the CAC down -2.17% (-1.31% Friday). Banks proved one bright spot in European equities given the rate selloff, with the Euro Banks index gaining +2.90% despite pulling back -1.88% on Friday. US equities underperformed given the salience of steeper Fed policy post CPI, with the S&P 500 pulling back -4.77% (-0.72% Friday) and the NASDAQ down -5.48% (-0.90% Friday), the worst weekly return for both since mid-June. The EU’s unveiling of measures to curtail energy price pressures, combined with some national-level efforts, drove European natural gas futures -9.82% lower to close the week at EUR 186.75, the first time they’ve ended a week below EUR 200 since the end of July. For rates, the main event was the above-consensus US CPI data, which saw a repricing of global policy paths steeper, with 2yr Treasuries gaining +31.1bps (+0.3bps Friday) and 2yr Bunds +20.6bps higher (-0.7bps Friday). Curves flattened in both jurisdictions given the harder-landing implications of such a steep policy path, with 10yr Treasuries up +14.0bps (flat Friday) and Bunds up +5.8bps (-1.4bps Friday). It also coincided with terminal rates pricing higher, where the market is expecting fed funds rates to get up just shy of 4.4% in the spring of next year, albeit below our revised in-house call of terminal closer to 5%. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/19/2022 - 07:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 19th, 2022

Escobar: "Samarkand Spirit" To Be Driven By "Responsible Powers" Russia & China

Escobar: 'Samarkand Spirit' To Be Driven By "Responsible Powers" Russia & China Authored by Pepe Escobar, The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world... Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years. When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.” Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.” After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.” And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight. All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond. Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west. Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives: “In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.” Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945. Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine) Iran: it’s showtime Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week. The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially. And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions. Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now. Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine. The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.” On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.” On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.” Strenghtening multipolarity Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade. This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo. The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead. BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.” So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members. The Kazakh puzzle  There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node. The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president. Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal. The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]). There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration. That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar. A cohesion of goals Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast. Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too. The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO. So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed. In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables. Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific. China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind. The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project. Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles. Welcome to Great Game 2.0 Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders). And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia. So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle. On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization. These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors. It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment. Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’ Tyler Durden Sat, 09/17/2022 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 18th, 2022

First tenant signs at newly redeveloped 60 Charlton Street in Hudson Square

The newly-developed 60 Charlton Street boutique property in Hudson Square has secured its first tenant in a deal that sends a clear signal of the desirability of the premier property and employers’ confidence in the role of the office in a post-COVID world.  Picus Capital, an international early-stage tech investor,... The post First tenant signs at newly redeveloped 60 Charlton Street in Hudson Square appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The newly-developed 60 Charlton Street boutique property in Hudson Square has secured its first tenant in a deal that sends a clear signal of the desirability of the premier property and employers’ confidence in the role of the office in a post-COVID world.  Picus Capital, an international early-stage tech investor, has signed a ten-year lease for the 6,520 square foot penthouse at 60 Charlton, a jewel-box, 12-story property that just completed a redevelopment and expansion. AEW Capital Management owns the building in a joint venture with APF Properties and Drake Street Partners. Picus Capital will relocate its New York City office to the spectacular 12th floor space that features floor-to-ceiling glass, ceiling heights of over 15 feet, and a private terrace.  “We are delighted to welcome our first tenant to 60 Charlton, a property that was transformed to meet the needs of forward-thinking companies like Picus Capital who are looking to grow in the heart of one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods,” said Adam Schwank, a Director at AEW Capital Management.  Located on the southwest corner of Charlton and Varick Streets, 60 Charlton is a 98,400 square foot, Class A boutique office building situated between Disney’s 1.2 million square foot office campus currently under construction at 137 Varick Street and Google’s new 1.3 million square foot headquarters at St. John’s Terminal.  The multi-million-dollar redevelopment restored the original architectural details, rehabilitated the building with modern mechanical infrastructure and, with the six newly constructed stories, created a 12-story brick and glass curtainwall, steel and concrete-framed building with floorplates ranging from 9,000 – 6,500 square feet. The property is LEED Gold certified.  Tenant amenities include a boutique-hotel style lobby with a fireplace and seating area, a bike room and shower area, and an outdoor roof deck with kitchen service area. Additionally, ownership just completed two full-floor prebuilds, helping tenants in today’s market focused on flexible move-in ready space that can be operational right away. JLL’s Mitchell L. Konsker, Benjamin Bass, Kristen Morgan, Carlee Palmer and Harrison Potter represented the landlords in the lease with Picus Capital. Richard Bernstein and Troy Elias of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant. “As return-to-work momentum grows, 60 Charlton will appeal to tenants seeking a premier location and market-leading amenities that provide a critical advantage in today’s race for talent,” said Konsker. “With its proximity to transportation and residential neighborhoods including Greenwich Village, SoHo and Tribeca, we anticipate continued interest from progressive tenants eager to establish their presence.” “Picus Capital is excited to establish a premier New York City office space that provides our employees with a superior environment that inspires creativity and collaboration,” said Julian Roeoes of Picus Capital. “The opening of our local office underscores our strong commitment to the region, and will create a thrilling hub for entrepreneurs and investors alike.” Situated at the nexus of SoHo, TriBeCa and the West Village, 60 Charlton is a short walk from three different subway lines, the PATH train to New Jersey, 10 minutes from Penn Station and 19 minutes from Grand Central Terminal. Prominent signage opportunities and potential ground floor/private entrance space is available for a larger user. The post First tenant signs at newly redeveloped 60 Charlton Street in Hudson Square appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 17th, 2022

Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 150 stores. Here are the locations confirmed so far.

Bed Bath & Beyond is also cutting staff as it looks to cut costs amid slumping sales in the second quarter. Bed Bath & Beyond is closing around 150 stores as it attempts to cut costs.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Bed Bath & Beyond is closing around 150 stores and laying off staff. Sales in the second quarter slumped roughly 26%, and it is aggressively cutting costs. It has now named 56 of the stores set to close across 21 states. The list can be seen below Bed Bath & Beyond is closing around 150 "lower-producing" stores across the US as it attempts to cut costs amid slumping sales, it announced in late August.The retailer also said it plans to cut around 20% of corporate and supply-chain staff. By laying off staff and closing the stores, the company said it planned to reduce costs by $250 million in 2022.Sales in the second quarter had slumped roughly 26% compared to the same period in 2021, Bed Bath & Beyond said in preliminary earning results.Just days after the company made the announcement, then-CFO Gustavo Arnal died by suicide in New York, the city's medical examiner said.Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Arnal had discussed taking a break and that the company's CEO and several board members agreed that Arnal had been overwhelmed.Shortly before his death, Arnal, Bed Bath & Beyond, JPMorgan, and activist investor Ryan Cohen, and JPMorgan were named in a class-action lawsuit accusing them of securities fraud, insider trading, and breach of fiduciary duty.Bed Bath & Beyond has since appointed Laura Crossen as interim CFO. The chain had already replaced its CEO in June after reporting disappointing sales.The struggling retailer has now revealed the location of 56 of the stores being closed, spanning 21 states and Puerto Rico. Eight are in California and six are in Illinois. Some are in standalone stores, while others are located in malls.Here's the full list so far.ArizonaPhoenix: 34750 N. North Valley Parkway, 85086Tucson: 5225 South Calle, Santa Cruz, 85706CaliforniaBurbank: 201 East Magnolia Blvd., 91501Lakewood: 75 Lakewood Center Mall, 90712Larkspur: 2601 Larkspur Landing Circle, 94939Marina: 117 General Stilwell Drive, 93933Palmdale: 39421 10th Street West, 93551Redding: 1140 Hilltop Drive, 96003San Leandro: 15555 East 14th Street, Suite 240, 94578Santee: 9918 Mission Gorge Road, 92071ConnecticutStamford: Ridgeway Shopping Center, 2275 Summer Street, 06905Waterford: 850 Hartford Turnpike, 06385FloridaSanford: 111 Towne Center Blvd., 32771Sunrise: 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., Anchor C, 33323GeorgiaSnellville: Presidential Market Center, Suite 5000, 1905 Scenic Hwy, 30078Suwanee: 2623 Peachtree Pkwy, 30024IowaDubuque: 2475 NW Arterial, 52002Waterloo: 1522 Flammang Drive, 50702IllinoisBourbonnais: 2056 North State Route 50, 60914Carbondale: Carbondale University Mall, 1265 E. Main Street, 62901Fairview Heights: Fairview Center, 6611 N. Illinois, 62208Gurnee: Gurnee Mills Mall, 6132 Grand Ave, 60031Joliet: 2850 Plainfield Road, 60435Schaumburg: 915 East Golf Road, 60173LouisianaBossier City: 2900 Meadow Creek Drive, 71111MassachusettsDorchester: 8B Allstate Road, Suite 1, 02125Milford: 230 Fortune Boulevard, 01757Seekonk: 35 Highland Avenue, 02771MississippiChesterfield: 50551 Waterside Drive, 48051Farmington Hills: 31075 Orchard Lake Road, 48334Northville: Northville Retail Center, 17223 Haggerty Rd., 48167Walker: Green Ridge Square, 3410 Alpine Avenue NW, 49544White Lake Twp: 9050 Highland Road, 48386MinnesotaSt. Cloud: 3959 Second Street South, 56301North CarolinaCharlotte: The Arboretum, 3413 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 28226New JerseyFlanders: 30 International Drive, Suite 1, 07836Manalapan: 13 Route 9 South, 07726Paramus: 34 E Ridgewood Ave, 07652NevadaSparks: 195 Los Altos Pkwy, 89436New YorkFarmingdale: 251 Airport Plaza Blvd., 11735Middletown: 470 Route 211 East, Suite 3, 10940Mt. Vernon: 500 East Sandford Blvd., 10550New Hartford: 4805 Commercial Drive, 13413Plattsburgh: 73 Centre Drive, Suite 100, 12901OhioCincinnati: 3681 Stone Creek Blvd., 45251Hamilton: Bridgewater Falls, 3451 Princeton Road, 45011Perrysburg: 10027 Fremont Pike, 43551Sandusky: 4020 Milan Road, Unit 910, 44870OregonBeaverton: 2780 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., 97005PennsylvaniaWynnewood: 70 E. Wynnewood Blvd., 19096Puerto RicoBayamon: Plaza Del Sol, 725 West Main Avenue, 00961TexasPort Arthur: Central Mall, 3100 Highway 365, Suite 114, 77642Wichita Falls: 3201 Lawrence Road, Suite A, 76308VirginiaChristiansburg: 135 Shoppers Way NW, 24073Leesburg: 532 Fort Evans Road, 20176WashingtonLakewood: 5830 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd, S.W., 98499Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 16th, 2022

Investor Confidence Plummets Amid Fresh Volatility And Inflation Worries

The HL Investor Confidence Index shows confidence plunged 38% between August and September. Confidence in UK Economic Growth dropped 35% between August and September. Energy bills may be capped but soaring food inflation is still a big worry heading into winter. Worries are rising that a US recession is back on the cards given the […] The HL Investor Confidence Index shows confidence plunged 38% between August and September. Confidence in UK Economic Growth dropped 35% between August and September. Energy bills may be capped but soaring food inflation is still a big worry heading into winter. Worries are rising that a US recession is back on the cards given the expected rapid pace of interest rate rises. The European energy crisis looms large as the EU unveils plans to shake up the market. Regular investments can help investors ride out the volatility, to take advantage of falls as well as rises. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Inflation Still Proving Very Hot To Handle Stocks on Wall Street may have stabilised after a dramatic plunge earlier in the week, but a snapshot of investor attitudes shows that confidence has taken a knock amid a pile-on of worries about the economic outlook. Recent market volatility has hit sentiment and data showing that inflation is still proving very hot to handle for central banks is clearly proving disconcerting. Investors are expecting that growth will be sideswiped by robust interest rate hikes, with confidence in UK economic growth plummeting by 35% between August and September. This is a marked change to sentiment about UK economic growth in August, which was more optimistic, with confidence rising by around 13%. High among the worries about the UK is likely to have been concerns about the effect of soaring fuel bills on households and businesses, and so the energy price cap may go some way to assuage concerns going forward. However, food prices are still rising at a rapid pace, hitting the poorest in society the hardest, which continues to be a cause of anxiety as we head into the bleaker winter months, when energy bills will still be much higher than last year. Investor Confidence Falls With the inflation reading in the US coming in much higher than expected this week and expectations that the Federal Reserve could raise rates by as much as 1% at the next meeting –worries that an American recession is now on the cards are ratcheting up, which would have knock-on effects on the global economy. That’s likely to be partly behind the 38% plunge in overall confidence in September compared to August. The euphoria of July’s bounce in shares, which lifted investor confidence in August, has evaporated and although the S&P 500 largely treaded water during the last session, caution abounds. Investors have again been showing signs of fleeing ultra-risky assets like crypto and high-growth tech firms and heading to safe havens with the dollar gaining in strength. Realization is dawning that the Fed is determined to keep pouring water on overheating prices for as long as it takes to cool them off, whatever the short term cost to unemployment and the housing market. Expectations are growing that a softer stance in terms of monetary policy might not now arrive until 2024. Worries about the European energy crisis are also looming large, but economies are expected to stumble through a bleak winter of dwindling gas supplies, helped by the filling up of reserves and a campaign for energy conservation. What the effects will be of a big overhaul of the European energy market aren’t clear but energy shares have fallen back on plans for a windfall tax, while renewable companies are staying more resilient despite plans for a cap on earnings, given the expected refocus on greener cleaner energy to help bridge the energy gap. Worries about the outlook for global growth had put pressure on oil prices, but they have edged up over the past week with Brent Crude now hovering around $94 a barrel. Supply issues have once again come to the fore, with the International Energy Agency noting that there are indications of large scale gas-to-oil switching in many countries, double the level of a year ago. At the same time demand is expected to rise as a full lockdown in the huge Chinese city of Chengdu is lifted today with markets highly sensitive to the impact of Beijing’s zero-Covid strategy. Tougher Times Ahead Economic uncertainty and market volatility can be unnerving for investors, but tough times have been shown not to last forever, and markets eventually recover. With inflation appearing to be stubbornly high and a recession looming there are clearly tougher times ahead for consumers and companies but it’s important for investors to think about their long-term strategy and stay resilient when markets are jittery. Periods of volatility are part and parcel of investing, and even when we get particularly sharp short-term falls, we shouldn’t let this put us off our long term aims. Regular investments often come into their own during times like these. By carrying on investing sums each month, you can take advantage of falls as well as rises, through pound cost averaging. When markets are down, you’ll get more for your money, providing the potential for greater profits when they rise in value. We don’t know exactly what is round the corner but keeping calm and carrying on, instead of impulsively selling, might benefit you in the long run when prices eventually recover." Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 15th, 2022

Capital Realty Associates’ Solomon Halberstam Completes Sale of Three-building Multifamily Portfolio

Capital Realty Associates, a leading New Jersey-based commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in multifamily property sales, recently announced Solomon Halberstam, sales associate, completed the sale of a three-building multifamily portfolio in Jersey City, New Jersey. The properties included 6, 8 and 10 Bergen Avenue, a 24-unit building, 484 Central... The post Capital Realty Associates’ Solomon Halberstam Completes Sale of Three-building Multifamily Portfolio appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Capital Realty Associates, a leading New Jersey-based commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in multifamily property sales, recently announced Solomon Halberstam, sales associate, completed the sale of a three-building multifamily portfolio in Jersey City, New Jersey. The properties included 6, 8 and 10 Bergen Avenue, a 24-unit building, 484 Central Avenue, 7-unit building and 938 Westside Avenue, a 12-unit building. The buyer is a New York-based private investor. The sale price was $6.9 million. “The multifamily sector in Jersey City is extremely active with numerous property sales taking place throughout the city,” said Halberstam. “Despite higher interest rates and other economic uncertainties, this market remains very hot, and continues to be a target for investors who are looking to capitalize on incredible rent growth and new development going on all over Jersey City and the New York Metro area,” he added. The post Capital Realty Associates’ Solomon Halberstam Completes Sale of Three-building Multifamily Portfolio appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 14th, 2022

Stock Market News for Sep 13, 2022

Wall Street closed higher on Monday, led by a rally in energy and tech stocks. Wall Street closed higher on Monday, led by a rally in energy and tech stocks. The market closed its fourth winning day in a row as investors expected the upcoming CPI data to show that inflation has cooled off, even if slightly. Inroads made by the Ukrainian forces in the war against Russia also kept investor mood upbeat, but they remain apprehensive about further interest rate hikes from the September Fed meeting. All three major stock indexes ended in the green.How Did The Benchmarks Perform?The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.7% or 229.63 points, to close at 32,381.34. Twenty-seven components of the 30-stock index ended in the positive territory, while three ended in the negative.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite increased by 154.10 points or 1.3% to 12,266.41, led by a rally in tech stocks.The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, or 43.05 points, to end at 4,110.41. All 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE), the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) rose 1.8%, 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 4.7% to 23.87. A total of 9.6 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 10.2 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 3.37-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, a 1.78-to-1 ratio favored the advancing issues.Investors Eagerly Await CPI ReportWall Street is keeping a close watch on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for August, which is slated to be released on Tuesday. Expectations are that after declining to 8.5% year over year in July from a 42-year high of 9.1% in June, inflation might settle in the region of 8% for the month of August. If it goes down even further, one may surmise that the Fed is seeing success with its monetary policy tightening and is considering easing off a bit. Core CPI, which excludes food and oil prices, has, however, continued its journey northward, increasing over the past couple of months, from 5.7% in June to 5.9% in July. If this number continues to rise, apprehension remains that the Fed would not be deterred from a 75 bp interest rate hike in its next meeting.Stocks have rallied in recent sessions and market participants have been on a buying spree, rising above concerns over the economic outlook, expecting the inflation numbers to decline. This will also give them an idea about whether the Fed is likely to ease off in its policies going forward. Tech and energy stocks were the biggest gainers on Monday.Consequently, shares of APA Corporation APA and Fortinet, Inc. FTNT advanced 5% and 4.2%, respectively. Fortinet carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Ukraine’s Success Lifts Investor MoodReports came in on Sunday that Ukraine has retaken many villages and towns around Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest city, and has put some Russian forces in retreat.Especially, the fall of Izium in Kharkiv is being hailed as one of Moscow's worst defeats since its troops were forced back from the capital Kyiv in March. Ukraine is calling it a turning point in the war, as Russian forces used Izium as the logistics base for their Donbas campaign.Investors see this as good news coming in from the war-torn country and markets reacted accordingly, keeping in mind that much of the volatility seen in recent months can be solely accredited to Russia’s campaign there. This is indeed one of the few stories of a successful counter-offensive launched by Ukraine in recent months, and makes investors ponder whether the tide is turning.Economic DataNo economic data was released on Monday. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report APA Corporation (APA): Free Stock Analysis Report Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 13th, 2022

General Motors (GM) Cruise to Offer Robotaxis in Arizona, Texas

General Motors' (GM) AV unit Cruise will expand its driverless taxi services to Arizona and Texas by 2022-end after its successful launch in San Francisco. It aims for revenue generation through AVs. In a notable development, General Motors GM-owned autonomous self-driving technology unit, Cruise, announced that it intends to expand its driverless ride service to Phoenix, ARI, and Austin, TX, in the next three months.The company noted that its operations in Arizona and Texas will initially be on a small scale but aims to churn out revenues.In 2020, Cruise carried out autonomous testing in Arizona using a fleet of autonomous and electric vehicles, in collaboration with Walmart WMT, an investor and partner in the company. The present initiative will build off this partnership with Walmart.However, Texas is a new market for the company as it has yet to deploy any vehicles, infrastructure or operations in Austin and hasn’t mapped the city. The company is eager to successfully make inroads in the new city and aim for revenue generation.Presently the company offers a wide range of robotaxi services in San Francisco. It operates daytime rides in its autonomous vehicles (AVs) with safety drivers. On top of that, it runs a nighttime chargeable ride-hailing service in the city using the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles. The service was started in June, after quite a few years of effort. Cruise operates as many as 70 driverless AVs concurrently in San Francisco and has plans to double or triple the number by the end of the year.Riding on the successful launch in San Francisco, Cruise set its mind on expanding to new cities.The upcoming two cities already have an AV presence with other players operating their services. This will indeed leverage the company. Interestingly, it took Cruise 33 months to obtain its permits for commercial launch in San Francisco, but a mere three weeks to get the same for the next cities. General Motors, being its parent company, gives it an edge over other players because GM’s expertise in manufacturing vehicles on a large scale goes a long way. These combined will make Cruise a gainer.Cruise also noted that along with General Motors, it would soon ramp up manufacturing of its purpose-built AV, the Origin, to enter new markets.In July, Cruise began mapping Dubai to prepare for the launch of robotaxis in 2023, a plan that was announced long back in April 2021. Cruise has sent two of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs to map the city. Although there is not much clarity on how the Dubai venture will look, the city is geared up for the launch, aggressively integrating self-driving transport across all modes of transport.Even though the adoption and execution of AV technology have been slow, Cruise looks optimistic and aims to generate $1 billion in revenue or half its current level of annual investment from General Motors. This will be beneficial for the loss-making company.Shares of General Motors have lost 17.3% in the past year against its industry’s 5% rise.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Key PicksGM carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), currently.Some better-ranked players in the auto space include BorgWarner BWA and Tesla Inc. TSLA, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.BorgWarner has an expected earnings rate of 2.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 0.7% upward in the past 30 days.BorgWarner’s earnings beat the Zacks growth Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. BWA pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 29.45%, on average. The stock has declined 10.9% in the past year.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of 76.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 1% upward in the past 30 days.Tesla’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. TSLA pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 32.17%, on average. The stock has increased 18.7% in the past year. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Walmart Inc. (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report BorgWarner Inc. (BWA): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 13th, 2022

American Capital Group Announces New Multifamily Development in Sacramento, Calif.

American Capital Group (“ACG”), a full-service real estate investment and development company, today announced it has obtained capitalization for Kinect @ Southport, a new, 322-unit suburban community located in the highly desirable West Sacramento submarket, moving the project to begin construction immediately. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kinect @ Southport... The post American Capital Group Announces New Multifamily Development in Sacramento, Calif. appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. American Capital Group (“ACG”), a full-service real estate investment and development company, today announced it has obtained capitalization for Kinect @ Southport, a new, 322-unit suburban community located in the highly desirable West Sacramento submarket, moving the project to begin construction immediately. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kinect @ Southport is anticipated to feature four-story residential buildings with elevators and private garages as well as a state-of-the-art recreation center and outdoor activity space, including a volleyball court, basketball court, pickleball court, gym and playground. “West Sacramento offers a combination of affordability, job growth and desirable quality of life features that make it an attractive metropolitan city for young professionals with accelerating population growth,” said BJ Kuula, President, ACG. “Following our first two projects in West Sacramento built over a decade ago, we are pleased to add to our local presence and play this vital role in helping the local economy grow alongside the area’s projected population growth.” Sacramento’s population is projected to grow nearly 10% between 2021 and 2026. The project site is conveniently located within miles of Sacramento’s Central Business District, which offers more than 170,000 jobs, and continues to attract large, blue-chip employers including with the State of California’s pension funds, Kaiser Permanente and Intel. Sacramento has the highest concentration of government jobs in the country, ahead of even Washington D.C., creating a more stable job market. Based in Bellevue, ACG is an active multifamily investor and developer throughout the West Coast. The company has developed more than 6,000,000 square feet of multifamily space, including Kinect @ Burien, Kinect @ Shoreline and Kinect @ Totem Lake, slated for completion in 2023, 2024 and 2025, respectively. The post American Capital Group Announces New Multifamily Development in Sacramento, Calif. appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 10th, 2022

The housing markets could crash in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. They"re 3 cautionary tales for the US.

Housing markets in Canada, New Zealand and Australia have some of the same problems in the US. But they're much closer to a crash. Sydney, Australia with Harbor Bridge skyline during sunset.Prasit photo Global real estate markets have been in overdrive during the Covid-19 pandemic. But homebuyer activity has slowed in countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The US housing market shares some of their problems, and it's a cautionary tale for us. The United States is not the only country facing a housing downturn.In countries across the globe, rapid home price growth fueled by lackluster housing supply and robust investor activity have distorted local housing ecosystems  — especially in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.According to a research note from multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs, each of these markets are poised for "sizable home price declines" throughout 2023. In Canada, residents are facing a 6% decline in home values, while the rate stands at 18% and 13% in New Zealand and Australia, respectively. Although US prices are projected to fall by just 3%, these countries each have unique housing challenges, they all serve as a cautionary tale for the frosty US real estate market. Canada lacks significant housing inventoryCanada and the US share a similar challenge: They don't have enough homes for all the people who want to buy. In both countries, years of underbuilding and rampant investor activity have led to spiking prices and waning demand.According to Canada's national housing agency CMHC, the country needs to build a whopping 5.8 million homes by 2030 to stunt its affordability crisis. The task may be hard considering the country — just like the United States — is facing a shortage of construction workers and exorbitant homebuilding costs. "There are supply issues, labor shortages at the moment and the cost of financing is going up," Aled ab Iorwerth, the deputy chief economist of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp, told CBC News. While home sales and prices are now falling in Canada due to rising interest rates — much like what's happening in the US — the country's dearth of housing remains a hurdle to stabilizing its market. Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has attempted to boost supply by introducing a two-year ban on home purchases by foreign investors, housing experts say more will need to be done."I don't think prices are going to fall as a result, though I do think it takes away at least some of the competition in what is the most competitive market in Canadian housing history," Simeon Papailias, the founder of the real-estate investment firm REC Canada, told Bloomberg, adding that it's unlikely that a "two-year Band-Aid" would have an effect on a fundamental lack of homes.Young buyers are priced-out of  homeownership in New Zealand New Zealand's housing market is an example of what could happen when a nation's young adults can no longer afford the dream of homeownership. Home to some of the world's most expensive property markets, the country's affordability woes have been exacerbated by inflationary pressure and  interest rate hikes. Many of New Zealand's would-be first time home buyers are priced out, and it's led to a severe housing downturn.It sounds all too familiar.Just like in the United States, home prices in New Zealand spiked during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Similarly to Canada and the US, the growth was stimulated by heavy real estate investor activity. Its government attempted to fix the problem by introducing several billion-dollar measures, which included raising the amount of loan or grant money single buyers could receive from the government and increasing taxes for real estate investors.But the provisions have not been enough to solve the country's housing disparities.As New Zeleand's housing crisis escalates, The Guardian reports that less and less of the nation's young buyers can afford home purchases. With the median home price sitting at $741,000 as of June of this year, it's no surprise that so many of the nation's young adults are  now priced out of homebuying. It's an echo of the US' crisis where the median home price is $435,000 and as of 2019, an estimated 70% of millennials can not afford to purchase. Young buyers' absence in the New Zealand market has helped to push the country's homeownership rate to the lowest level in 70 years and intensified its housing downturn. "The property crisis has implications right across the generation spectrum," one 29-year-old told the Guardian. "Under the current model, a lot of people are losing out and a select few are winning."Economic volatility stunts buyer demand in Australia Australia has not escaped the housing slowdown gripping global real estate markets. Much like the US and New Zealand, the fight against inflation has led to mortgage rates rising, which has given way to lower demand and home prices falling. As home buying activity falls in Australia, economists are fearful the country is bracing for a housing crash. Data from CoreLogic shows that in August, in every Australian city but Darwin, home values experienced a decline. The company says the combined value of residential real estate in Australia fell to $9.7 trillion in August, marking the steepest quarterly decline in home values since the 1980s."We're seeing housing values falling faster now than what we saw during the global financial crisis and also during the early 1990s and early 1980s recessions," Tim Lawless, a research director at Corelogic, told the Guardian. "With inflation likely to remain stubbornly high, the outlook for interest rates is for further rises throughout the rest of the year and into 2023, adding additional downside risk for housing demand," Lawless, said in a housing report, adding that  home value declines in Sydney and Melbourne are "likely to spread to other capital cities and regional markets over the coming months."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 9th, 2022

From the Apple Watch Ultra to the Dynamic Island, these are the coolest things Apple just unveiled

At Apple's "Far Out" event, the firm unveiled a handful of exciting new gadgets and features, from a rugged Apple Watch to tech that detects car wrecks. Apple1. Apple just unveiled new products and gadgets. At its "Far Out" event yesterday, Apple pulled the wraps off the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, a fresh lineup of Apple Watches, and next-gen AirPods. Here's what stood out:Much of the event was focused on new safety features, including Crash Detection, which can sense if you've been in a car wreck and call emergency services and alert your emergency contacts.The new iPhones will also come with Emergency SOS via satellites, which will help connect you with emergency services if you find yourself stranded in an area without cell service. Here are some other stand-out new features. As expected, Apple released a hardy new watch for athletes: the Apple Watch Ultra. Just shy of $800, the watch comes with a slew of features and hardware made to withstand extreme sports. Get a look at the Apple Watch Ultra.Finally, the widely hated "notch" has been replaced by a pill-shaped cutout that Apple is calling the "Dynamic Island," where information and notifications will be sleekly displayed. If you want to hear about more about the Dynamic Island, listen to my segment on The Refresh from Insider.Everything to know about the new iPhones, including new colors and prices.This is Insider's 10 Things in Tech morning newsletter — sign up here to receive the briefing in your inbox each weekday.In other news:Tyler Le/Insider2. Why does Silicon Valley keep forking over millions to screw-ups? Researchers have been studying what kinds of pitches work and who gets the most money. Senior correspondent Adam Rogers read the literature to find out what science says about the best investor pitches — and it ain't pretty.3. Tim Cook's solution to Android green text bubbles? "Buy your mom an iPhone." During the Code 2022 event, the Apple CEO was asked about ending the green text bubbles that appear when iPhone users text a person with an Android — and he dismissed the issue.4. Snap launched a secretive project to save Snapchat from falling engagement. Dubbed "Project Sunshine," the project is working to figure out how to get views and engagement of its core Story product back to peak levels. Insiders dish on Project Sunshine.5. Elon Musk took another loss in his battle against Twitter. A judge once again denied Musk's request to delay the trial, but said he can include last month's whistleblower allegations to his countersuit. More on that here.6. Elizabeth Holmes wants a new trial. One of the government's star witnesses allegedly showed up at Holmes' house last month, saying he was losing sleep over his testimony that helped convict her. Now, she's requesting a new trial. Get the latest on Holmes' legal battle.7. Y Combinator founders share what made their applications stand out. We spoke with five founders from this year's cohort, who said concision and practicing for interviews helped them put together a successful application. Read their best tips.8. Google is reportedly cracking down on employee travel. The firm plans to limit travel only to "business critical" trips, meaning fewer team offsites and social functions — RIP, happy hour.Odds and ends:Kim Kardashian is seen out in Portofino after dinner on May 20, 2022 in Portofino, Italy.NINO/GC Images via Getty Images9. Kim Kardashian is launching a private-equity firm. Kardashian is teaming up with a former Carlyle Group partner to launch SKKY Partners, and is aiming for controlling and minority stakes in companies focused on consumer products, luxury, digital commerce, and media. More on Karashian's expanding business empire.10. For Disney+ Day, new content is coming to the streamer. For the streamer's third anniversary, Disney+ is releasing a handful of new movies and shows, as well as offering discounts and deals. Here's everything we know.What we're watching today:The 47th Toronto International Film Festival opens today.CEDIA Tech Summit Canada starts today in Toronto.European taxi unions are expected to hold protests in Brussels, blocking two important entrances into the city while demanding stricter controls on Uber drivers. Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 8th, 2022

JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank are rationing hot water and turning down the lights ahead of a chilling winter as banks prep for Europe"s energy crisis

JPMorgan has carried out power outage simulations to prepare for the loss of power, while Deutsche Bank will shut off hot water and water fountains to mitigate the impact of Russia's decision to stop the flow of gas from Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Hi. I'm Aaron Weinman. Wall Street banks — both US and European — are quite literally turning off the spigots to preserve energy across their European offices, which are preparing for a chilling winter.Firms like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank are shutting off hot water and water fountains to mitigate the impact of the Russian government's decision to stop the flow of gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.Russia — which was hit with sanctions after President Vladimir Putin chose to invade Ukraine — said Nord Stream 1 wouldn't reopen until those sanctions were lifted.JPMorgan's European offices have carried out power outage simulations, tests which help the bank prepare for a loss of power.The Russian government's decision to stem the flow of gas to European countries — which are heavily reliant on energy from Russia — is having a knock-on effect to various parts of the global economy from utilities bills to foreign exchange volatility (stock up on your USD!).Let's dig into it.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Office buildings, including the corporate headquarters of Deutsche Bank, stand in the financial district in the city center on March 7, 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany.Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images1. JPMorgan is mulling the use of diesel generators to stay online as banks' European offices contemplate life without the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Deutsche Bank is switching off hot water in bathrooms and changing the temperatures in its offices.The German lender is also turning off the fountain and the lit-up advertising outside its headquarters in Frankfurt.Other finance companies, from France's BNP Paribas to insurance firm Zurich, are also taking steps to preserve energy ahead of the coming winter chill. Should things worsen, Zurich may shut off services like its office gym.Financial services firms are responding to Russian energy giant Gazprom's decision to shut down a pipeline that is crucial to Europe's energy sector.This is the second time in recent months that Gazprom has turned off Nord Stream 1. The pipeline was shut down on August 31 for three days of maintenance.Despite going back online on September 2, it was only operating at 20% capacity. Gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany. It has historically supplied about a third of the gas exported by Russia to Europe.In Germany, natural gas makes up about 27% of the country's overall energy mix. Before Russia crossed the border into Ukraine, more than half of the gas consumed in Germany was imported from Russia.Since then, it's been a mad scramble by European nations to source gas from other nations like Norway or the Netherlands. Germany has also sought to expand infrastructure to enable it to import more liquefied natural gas from the US and Qatar.As temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere cool in the coming months, European homes and offices will be hard pressed to diversify their energy mix and conserve their existing energy sources to ensure homes and businesses remain heated.In other news:Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for ULTA Beauty / KKW Beauty2. Kim Kardashian is teaming up with Jay Sammons, a former partner who ran consumer investing at Carlyle, to start a new private-equity firm called SKKY Partners, the Wall Street Journal first reported. SKKY will focus on investing in consumer products, hospitality, luxury goods, digital commerce, media, and entertainment businesses. Reality-television star Kardashian, meanwhile, has built a $1.8 billion empire.3. Broadcom's $61 billion acquisition of VMWare is poised to expand its efforts in the cloud. But customers and employees say the deal squanders VMWare's success. Insider took a deep dive into the frustrations bubbling up in the company's ecosystem as the buyout progresses.4. Twitter's legal battle with Elon Musk has offered up a clue about who manages the fortune of the billionaire. Twitter has subpoenaed Jon Neuhaus, a managing director at Musk's preferred investment bank Morgan Stanley. Here is what we know about the wealth advisor. A judge, meanwhile, has called Musk's legal team's efforts "suboptimal" and took a shot at his decision to waive due diligence on his original agreement to buy Twitter.5. British movie-theater operator Cineworld has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US. The world's second-largest movie chain has $1.94 billion in debt from existing lenders, and it expects to exit Chapter 11 in the first quarter of 2023. PJT Partners is financial advisor to Cineworld, while AlixPartners is restructuring advisor. Kirkland & Ellis and Slaughter & May are legal counsel to the cinema operator.6. The death of Bed Bath & Beyond's former chief financial officer, Gustavo Arnal, has renewed scrutiny of the struggling retailer. Here is a look at what led up to this critical juncture, and whether the company will sink or swim from here.7. Goldman Sachs' internships have ended, but the interns don't have job offers (yet), according to efinancialcareers. Interns at the bank's London office will not find out if they get to convert their internships into full-time jobs until a few weeks after the program ends.8. Bank of America is planning its new return-to-office policies in the next six-to-eight weeks, Bloomberg reported. The plans will be based on feedback the bank received from staff surveys, Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said at a conference on Tuesday.9. Angelina Jolie's former investment company is suing Brad Pitt for $250 million. The firm is alleging that Pitt secretly moved assets and devalued the former couple's joint wine company, Chateau Miraval.10. Miren, a fintech that helps lenders assess small-business owners, just scored a grant from Google for startups. Here is the 16-slide pitch deck the company used to help founder Gabriela Campoverde become a finalist for the David Prize, a $200,000 grant awarded annually to five New Yorkers.Done deals and people moves:Private-equity investor Francisco Partners has acquired a controlling interest in Kobalt, a music and technology company.Antelope, a pet-wellness company owned by Alpine Investors, has bought Ark Naturals Company, another pet health and wellness brand. Ark will still operate under its brand name.Bank of America has named JuliAnn Burkhardt as its chief strategy officer for global investment banking, Bloomberg reported. Burkhardt — who joined BofA in 2007 — will succeed Dave Fishman. She was most recently a managing director in the bank's consumer and retail investment-banking division.Truist has hired Hayes Smith to oversee its investment-banking arm's private-equity coverage, Bloomberg reported. He joins from Credit Suisse. The Charlotte-based bank has also hired Chris Cormier to lead its technology, media, and telecommunications equity-capital-markets business. Cormier joins from UBS.Curated by Aaron Weinman in New York. Tips? Email aweinman@insider.com or tweet @aaronw11. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 8th, 2022

Interim CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond was concerned about wellbeing of the late CFO. He discussed taking a break before he died, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Gustavo Arnal was stressed and had worked up to 18 hours a day. A Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.Michael Santiago/Getty Images The chief financial officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, Gustavo Arnal, died last Friday. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company's CEO and some board members were concerned about the CFO. The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said Arnal was stressed and had been discussing taking time off. The interim CEO and board members inside Bed Bath & Beyond had concerns about the wellbeing of the chief financial officer before his death last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the topic.CFO Gustavo Arnal died last Friday after falling from a New York City building, just days after the retailer announced it would close down 150 of its stores and let a portion of its workforce go, Insider previously reported. The city's medical examiner ruled that he died by suicide.Arnal has since been replaced by Laura Crossen, who worked as the company's senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer.The sources said that Sue Gove, the interim chief executive officer, and several board members agreed that Arnal had been overwhelmed. However, they opted not to replace him while the company was trying to secure financing.The Journal also reported that Arnal had discussed taking a break and that the conversation would be picked up after the Labor Day holiday weekend.Friends of Arnal told the Journal that he had been stressed at work, working up to 18 hours a day."I could see the stress on him," Jan Zijderveld, the former chief executive of Avon Products, told The Journal. Zijderveld ate dinner with Arnal and Arnal's wife less than two months prior to his death."He's the sort of guy who carries the world on his shoulders," Zijderveld said, adding that Arnal had a positive attitude and chose not to disclose particulars about work.Before his death, Arnal was named as a defendant — with Bed Bath & Beyond, activist investor and GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen, and JPMorgan — in a lawsuit seeking class-action status on August 23. The plaintiff, Pengcheng Si, accused them of securities fraud, insider trading, and breach of fiduciary duty.Though, sources familiar with the matter told The Journal records show that Arnal and Cohen did not have contact outside of conference calls with multiple executives. Cohen has not commented on the lawsuit.Arnal had worked at the company since 2020, just after the company's profits started shrinking in 2019 due to the uptick in online shopping. He previously worked at Procter & Gamble and Avon. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 8th, 2022

Transcript: Lynn Martin

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Lynn Martin, President of the NYSE, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN… Read More The post Transcript: Lynn Martin appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Lynn Martin, President of the NYSE, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. My extra special guest this week is Lynn Martin. She is the president of the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest, with over 2,400 listed companies for a combined market cap of about $36 trillion. She is also chair of the fixed income and data services at ICE, Intercontinental Exchange. She began her career at IBM in Global Services and came to them with a BS in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Stats from Columbia. Lynn Martin, welcome to Bloomberg. LYNN MARTIN, 68TH PRESIDENT OF NYSE GROUP: Thanks so much for having me. RITHOLTZ: Thanks so much for joining us. I have so many things to ask you about, but I have to start out with you were at IBM pretty much in its heyday. Tell us what that experience was like. MARTIN: It was great. I’m going to date myself a little bit. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. MARTIN: But I was there through the Y2K crisis — RITHOLTZ: Right. MARTIN: — when global services was relied upon by customers around the globe to get them through that crisis. RITHOLTZ: Or near crisis, or almost crisis. Was it a crisis? MARTIN: Almost crisis. It wasn’t. That’s fair. It wasn’t a crisis, and that I remember waking up on New Year’s Eve 1999, I’m going to work in a call center because that’s what you do in your 20s, working at IBM. And we were watching the Australia open, the clocks hitting in Australia and everything was fine. RITHOLTZ: Right. MARTIN: And we sort of knew that once Australia opened okay, we were going to be okay. RITHOLTZ: So was this like a near miss, or was this, hey, a lot was made about something that turned out to be less of a — MARTIN: I think the industry became very well prepared. I don’t know that it was a near miss, but I think we got ahead of a potential challenge. There was a technical challenge and that computers only understood years in two digits as opposed to four digits. So 2000 could have been 1900, and that could have caused challenges. I don’t know if those challenges would have been as extreme as was forecasted or not, but I’m really glad we didn’t find out. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. To say the very least. So IBM, I’m sort of jumping ahead in the story, you began your career in Computer Science is coding on a Commodore 64. Would you like to explain that for the youth who don’t know what a Commodore 64 is? MARTIN: So I remember when I came home from elementary school one day, and my dad who was an electrical engineer, he used to design fuel gauges on airplanes, came home with this huge box. And it was a Commodore 64. I said, “What’s that?” He said, “The first home computer.” And I said, “What’s that?” And I was a kid, I had no idea. And he also brought home a stack of floppy discs, which were quite large for the youth that don’t remember. RITHOLTZ: They were literally floppy. They’re not like — MARTIN: They were floppy. You could bend them, twist them, whatever the case may be. RITHOLTZ: Right. Though you shouldn’t. MARTIN: Though you shouldn’t because your program would not work if you did that. And I just became hooked on it. And as any good kid does, you become hooked on video games first. So that’s really what got me into the Commodore 64. RITHOLTZ: So is that what led to a focus on data service and computer science, the simple C64? MARTIN: Well, what really led me in the path of studying for my undergrad was my dad giving me really good advice, which was way ahead of its time in the early ‘90s when I was applying to college, where he suggested I not go into the traditional engineering discipline, but instead go into computer science mainly because not only was I good at math and good at sciences, but he said there were always be opportunities for women in computer science. RITHOLTZ: That’s interesting. MARTIN: And it’s something that was just way ahead of its time and it sounded good to a 17-year-old filling out a bunch of college essays at the kitchen table. So I ticked off computer science despite, you know, not having a tremendous amount of experience with a computer aside from playing with video games and fiddling around more as a hobby than anything. RITHOLTZ: And now, you oversee a system that is a combination of advanced data systems, lots of hardware and software plumbing. You have to keep 2,400 listed companies up and running, trading as much as a billion shares a day. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: How do you go from the Commodore 64 to that? MARTIN: Fortunately, technology has been significantly advanced. And I think that’s what’s contributing to the volumes of liquidity that you actually see in the markets, but also the amount of incoming order messages that we see every day. RITHOLTZ: So when you say technology, it’s the technology at the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the technology at all the companies that are trading? MARTIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And just macro technology, I remember the first classes I took in my CompSci major, I learned assembly language. I was coding on a mainframe. I was moving from register 1 to register 2, and that’s like the most basic form. And now, mainframes have become really thin machines. They’ve really moved into thin servers. They have moved into storage capacity like the cloud. So the advancement of technology, since I finished my degree in the late ‘90s to where it is today has really exploded into something that allows for more performant, more real-time type of interactions. RITHOLTZ: There’s a quote of yours I really like which probably explains your career, which is, quote, “The amount of satisfaction I would get when I compiled the program and the program did exactly what I wanted it to was beyond anything I had experienced previously.” Explain that. MARTIN: Absolutely. So I tend to view computer coding not that dissimilar to communicating in a foreign language. A lot of times you’re learning your French, Spanish to communicate with someone in a different country. When you’re learning computer coding, you’re just learning how to communicate with a machine. And a lot of times when you’re communicating with that machine, you think you’re telling them something really good and something really positive, and what comes out is something really not positive. So very frequently, maybe because I wasn’t the best coder, I would, you know, come back with errors or stuff stuck in what is known as an infinite loop, where the machine just keeps going and going and going. So those — RITHOLTZ: Rinse, lather, repeat is a great example. MARTIN: Exactly. It kept doing that. So on the days when I would put, you know, encode and the machine would do exactly what I told it to, I was like, “Oh, wow, that’s great.” RITHOLTZ: So you used the metaphor of a foreign language — MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — verb tense, syntax, punctuation, all these things really matter when you’re coding. MARTIN: It sure does. Syntax absolutely matters, efficiency also absolutely matters. The way I think of efficiency around computer coding is not that different to communicating with a local in a foreign country. They’ve got their — you’ve got your typical language, you know, the stuff that you would learn in textbooks, but then you’ve got, you know, the more shorthand types of communication. I kind of view efficient computer coding in the same fashion. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about the IPO process, how does this work when a company decides they want to go public? MARTIN: So a company will decide they want to go public. Typically, they will interview the variety of exchanges. That could be domestic U.S. exchanges. It could be — if they’re a foreign company, they will look at their home markets as well. Ultimately, they have a certain objective in mind. Do they want to raise capital? Do they not want to raise capital? If they want to raise capital, what investor base are they really targeting? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MARTIN: More often than not, a company will select the U.S. markets because we have the most diverse, deepest pools of liquidity, the biggest access to investors, the biggest opportunity for a company to gain a global following. So typically they will select a U.S. exchange. RITHOLTZ: So you guys obviously have to prep when a company comes to you and says, “Hey, we’re considering you and some of your competitors.” What is your process like to prepare for — I don’t know if we still use the phrase beauty contest, but that was the old investment banking phrase. How do you gear up to say here’s why you should list with the NYSE and not our competitor? MARTIN: So my philosophy is very focused on how can we be a good partner to our listed companies, and what is that listed company seeking to achieve. And it’s not just about IPO day. IPO day I kind of equate to a wedding day. You’re going to have a great day. But — RITHOLTZ: Hopefully. MARTIN: Hopefully. But what I tend to think about is what happens a month after you go public, what happens six months after you go public. And how could we be a good partner to that firm in their public company journey? RITHOLTZ: I love the visual of this as a wedding day. So now, I’m thinking you have mother of the bride, father of the bride. Who are you working more closely with? Is it the investment bank? Is it management of the company? Who shepherds this along? MARTIN: You’re working with both. RITHOLTZ: Everybody, the caterers, the flowers. MARTIN: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. RITHOLTZ: The whole thing. MARTIN: You’re working with the banks who are underwriting the deal, the mother and father of the bride. RITHOLTZ: Right. MARTIN: I got to use your analogy. You’re also working very closely with the company, because the company has a vision. The company has been successful, and that they’ve gotten to the point where they’re graduating to the public markets, which is something that should be celebrated. But the company also has a two-year, three-year, five-year strategy of what they are really seeking to achieve, not just raising capital to fund operations, or to fund research and development. They have — may have M&A targets. They may want to expand their business through leveraging a community that the listings market, particularly the NYSE brings to the table. They may have specific concerns about certain areas of the market. One topic that CEOs are very focused on at the moment is ESG, environmental, social and governance, and how they are bringing sustainable practices to the market. So they want to tell that story. So everyone has got a different objective. So we spend a lot of time with CEO, CFO, IRO, the whole team, CMO, chief marketing officer, because they’re the ones that are, you know, orchestrating the story a bit. RITHOLTZ: Right. So let’s talk about the story a little. I just finished watching Apple iTunes’ WeCrashed. And what was so interesting was as they’re marching towards an IPO, it has nothing to do with the exchange. It has nothing to do with raising capital. The narrative just seemed to have taken over from your perch. You must see these things go by all the time, maybe not so much this year, which is a lighter IPO year. But last year, 2020, how do you look at these breaking new stories and all the buzz and mania around an IPO for both good and bad? How does that affect your job? MARTIN: Our job is ultimately to ensure that when a company comes to the market, they get the best experience possible when that stock opens and when that stock closes first week, first day, whatever the case may be. And that they’re happy with the experience. Ultimately, if there is news around the company, it may influence their decision to go public at a certain time. Ultimately the, the company that you are referencing did decide to go public. It just was at a different time. RITHOLTZ: Right. A little later. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And there have been stories where that doesn’t necessarily work out well, or a company like Facebook goes public. The initial rollout is a little dicey. They announce something about mobile and suddenly the stock takes off. So when you talk about the month or the year after the wedding, these stories really very much change. It’s not just about the IPO day, is it? MARTIN: It’s not just about the IPO day, but that’s about the CEO articulating their strategy and executing on that strategy. And that’s what’s going to give the CEO and the public company, the next group of investors. They’re going to get a group of investors on IPO day. They’re going to do their road show right before the IPOs. They’re going to garner the initial set of interest. And a lot of times, companies will start that process even in a soft manner, even before they’re on the road for the IPO. But post-IPO day, it’s about execution. And when they have really exciting news to share, the market tends to reward it. You know, more people come into the stock. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about some other ways some people take their companies public. We’ve watched SPAC, super popular last year. They all seem to have blown up and done fairly poorly this year. How does the NYSE look at a product like a SPAC as an alternative method for a private company going public? MARTIN: Ultimately, we think SPACs are still a viable form for companies to go public. What you saw was a flood of SPACs coming to the market at the same time. So that may have contributed to some of the challenges that have now happened, given the time horizon that is associated with SPACs. But ultimately we see it as a very viable form for companies to continue to come to market. SPACs had been around for probably 15 to 20 years and that’s what — RITHOLTZ: Yeah, since the early 2000, people forget that. MARTIN: Yeah. And that’s what most people forget is that this was a form that companies were using to go public way before the last two years. They just became much more popular in the last couple of years, which is why you saw the flood. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. There’s been a little bit of agitation towards direct listings, where there seems to be a decent amount of controversy on both sides. How do you guys look at direct listings as opposed to the IPO process? Well, we pioneered the direct listing. We pioneered it, I believe, three or four years ago. And we are quite proud of that innovation. It’s just another innovation allowing for private companies, in this case that didn’t want to raise capital, that didn’t need to raise capital, to become public companies, to have that public currency, to be able to fund their operations and/or to do M&A, and/or all the other great things that come along with being a public company, including providing investors, the opportunity to participate in the upside associated with the company. RITHOLTZ: What about the circumstances where investors can participate in the upside, specifically a lot of these venture-backed companies have stayed private for much longer. They kept doing rounds and have grown to sizes that we previously would think of as, hey, they should have gone public years ago. How do you guys look at that? Is this something that you pay attention to? Where do you think this goes? MARTIN: Yeah. I mean, we believe in the power of public markets. We believe in the upside that comes along with being a public company. Transparency, good governance you get. You’re able to reward your employees. You’re able to reward shareholders, allow a diverse group of shareholders to participate in the upside. And based on the feedback that we hear from companies who are private, the public currency is still very strong. Despite the fact that there’s volatility in the market, there is still demand for companies to go public. They’re just trying to figure out what time makes sense for them. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. My extra special guests this week is Lynn Martin. She is the president of the world’s largest stock exchange, the NYSE. They host 2,400 listed companies, with a market cap somewhere in the neighborhood of $36 trillion, doing more than a billion shares on a good day. That sounds like a pretty complex situation just to begin with. What’s it like managing something with so many moving parts? MARTIN: There are a lot of moving parts. But because I’m a technologist, I feel really good about the service that we provide. You know, one of the first things when I hopped into this role in January, unsurprisingly that I focused on was system capacity, and thinking about, you know, what’s our average response times? What sort of capacity do we have in the system to handle peak days? I’m glad I did that because a couple weeks after that, we had tremendous volatility. The week of January 24th, 25th, around then, the volatility — RITHOLTZ: Which is pretty funny because the prior year was almost no volatility. It was the quietest year in a long time. MARTIN: We started to see it a bit in December. So we saw the signs in December that volatility was starting to creep into the market. But we hadn’t seen that to your point, you know, really since the pandemic. The way we look at capacity is incoming order messages. For those listening and coming order messages is buy is coming into the system, sell is coming into the system, trades happening in the system. And very quickly, we started to see days that were in excess of 20% above pandemic levels from a messaging standpoint, and it equated to half a trillion messages being processed by our systems every day. So — RITHOLTZ: Half a trillion? MARTIN: Yes. RITHOLTZ: And by messages, it’s buy, sell and — MARTIN: Buy, sell, trade. Buy, sell, trade, that is it, incoming order messages, which is tremendous. And the fact that we were processing those with average response times in the stocks of about 30 microseconds was — RITHOLTZ: Micro? MARTIN: Yes. Yeah, micro. RITHOLTZ: Not milli, micro. MARTIN: Micro. RITHOLTZ: That’s incredibly critical. MARTIN: Incredible. Yeah. And you know, that really has continued. It’s been something I’ve had my eye on throughout the year. But our technologists have done a great job. We’ve recently upgraded our systems to our next generation matching engine technology. And our systems have, touch wood, held up beautifully from a response time standpoint. RITHOLTZ: So when all these things go right, we never hear about it. MARTIN: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: But when there’s a little snafu, it’s front page of the Wall Street Journal. Let’s talk about some of those. Let’s talk about what took place on the flash crash back in 2010. Do we really know whatever happened to that, or did just — and I’m going to give you guys credit. These are all old data systems. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Everything that existed then have more or less been replaced, upgraded. MARTIN: Well, I think in a situation like that, you have seen a market structure evolve too to the point where there have been systems safeguards from a market structure standpoint, put in place around volatility halts, for example. RITHOLTZ: Before you go there, let me just back up a little bit. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So this used to be a fairly manual system — MARTIN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: — with individual specialists, human beings — MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — at different posts on the floor for each individual stock. I kind of forget — having grown up with that, I kind of forget a lot of people are wholly unfamiliar with that. And there was a transition process where a lot of the manual processes were replaced with electronics and automated computers. There’s still humans involved but much less than they once were. Was that part of the impact in the flash crash? And how has that transition happened? A lot of which took place long before you got there. MARTIN: Yeah. It wasn’t necessarily as a result of any one particular area, other than just an evolution of the market. What I like to say is the most technologically advanced companies employ humans, and employ human interaction. Humans are there to make sense of what’s going on in the market, apply human judgment, remove noise from the system. It goes back to what we were talking about very early on, during our conversation today, which is when you’re writing code, frequently, what’s going to come back is an error, because that is just the computer reacting automatically to something. If you don’t have the human who can go in and fix the error, you’re going to remain in an error state. So the human’s job is really to remove the noise from the system, is to remove the volatility from the system. It’s something that I employed in my previous role, where we value $2.8 million securities on the fixed income opaque side of the market, using a lot of great systems, a lot of great mathematical mouth, and also couple hundred humans. And the reason why we have the best data set out there is because I have those humans who are all former bond traders and former muni specialists who can make noise of what’s coming into the system. I think the floor model is the exact same thing during really volatile days. You saw the human element really come into play. We saw two times less volatility on NYSE issued stocks at the open, three times less volatility on NYSE issued stocks at the close. And that is a 100% because of the job of the floor. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So let’s talk about — so you have stocks that are listed, and some of this is NYSE and some of this is Intercontinental Exchange. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So they do stocks. They do bonds. They do options. They do derivatives. What else — and I don’t know if I left anything out, futures. What else is traded at either NYSE or ICE’s family of exchanges? MARTIN: We also have six clearing houses globally that clear the bulk of the credit default swaps market. In addition — RITHOLTZ: Where are those six located? MARTIN: Around the globe. Around the globe. Our largest — RITHOLTZ: Like London, Hong Kong? MARTIN: Yeah. Our largest clearing house is based in Europe. It is U.K. FCA registered. We’ve got a clearing house based in the U.S. We have a clearing house based in Singapore, as well as one in EMEA, one in Canada. So we’ve got them sprinkled throughout the globe. RITHOLTZ: And some of this is regional and some of this is redundancy and backup. MARTIN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: It makes a whole lot of sense. So I’ve been talking — I keep talking about the NYSE like it’s just the exchange. Let’s talk about the NYSE Group. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s four electronic exchanges; NYSE Arca, which is the leader in ETFs; NYSE American Exchange; Chicago Exchange, National Exchange, plus two options exchanges, the American Options and Arca Options, which I think one is in New York, one is in San Francisco. Is that right? MARTIN: The floor is in San Francisco for Arca. RITHOLTZ: So how do all — I just mentioned four electronic exchanges, two option exchanges. How do all of these integrate with the NYSE’s operation? MARTIN: So common technology is really what pulls all of the exchanges together. The different medallions are really there to try different market models, different matching algorithms on the options side of the business, different market models from the equity side of the business. It gives us more flexibility to have — to be responsive to our customers. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. So I mentioned 2021 was sort of aberrational. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: At no point in the year was the market less than 5% from all-time highs, that led to very, very little volatility in the year. How does a lack of volatility affect your daily work, or really the right way to ask that is when volatility spikes like we saw this year, does that make your job harder? MARTIN: It makes your job different. It makes your job focused more — (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MARTIN: — on thinking about things like system capacity, response times, you know, looking at that super closely because you always want to have a very responsive matching engine. You spend a little bit less time, though, welcoming IPOs to the market because many companies are not going to want to go out in a very volatile environment. RITHOLTZ: So this raises an interesting question. What can you guys do to — I don’t know if you can end volatility, but what can you do to tame it or make it more manageable? Is there anything in your trading process that can facilitate taking some of the spikes and volatility out of the market? MARTIN: Well, that’s where — that’s where our market maker model really resonates. And it’s really resonating with those companies who still believe in the public market currency, which there’s many of them, when they’re thinking about coming to the market because you can’t predict volatility. RITHOLTZ: Right. MARTIN: No one can control volatility. No one can predict volatility. But we can do things because of our market model to help the companies that are listed on us, have a less volatile experience. So our market model requires a designated market maker whose job is to trade that stock from the floor and they — RITHOLTZ: Create an orderly market? MARTIN: Correct. Correct, correct. And they smooth out volatility, not just intraday, but also at the open and the close. The open and the close are incredibly important moments in time for a company, particularly if you think of a company having quarter-end, or they’re having the share repurchases, or whatever the case may be. So that’s actually meaningful dollars, even post an IPO, in a CFO’s mind, when they’re doing share buybacks, things of that nature. So that’s where our market model really resonates, particularly in times like this, when you see the volatility in the market, when you see the VIX over 20, but you know that companies still want to go out in the public market. RITHOLTZ: You know, I think the public is probably less aware of some of the institutional order flow, like buy on open or sell on close, which it doesn’t hurt to have a professional overseeing that process so it doesn’t get too out of hand. MARTIN: Yeah. And also smoothen any imbalances because you’re not necessarily going to have a balanced book at the end of the day. RITHOLTZ: Which means they’re literally taking positions — MARTIN: They are. RITHOLTZ: — long or short in order to satisfy those orders. MARTIN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about some imbalances, and I’m thinking about the sort of meme stock mania that began in 2020, when everybody was stuck at home during the pandemic, and just exploded in 2021. It was really a very unexpectedly wild ride, especially the companies involved. What was that experience like for you watching this? You weren’t yet president of the NYSE in 2020 or 2021, but you were still there. Tell us what that experience was like. MARTIN: I mean, it was incredibly interesting to watch the new retail interest in certain stocks and why they had picked certain stocks. And I think it’s just still something that is fascinating intellectually more than anything. I can’t really comment on any of their decisions, but it’s been interesting to watch how social media has really emboldened a new class of trader. RITHOLTZ: My favorite moment of that was the young — pretty handsome young couple. And the way we subsidize our lifestyle is we buy stocks. We only buy the stocks that are going up. And when they go up, we sell them. And we just do that over and over again from home. And I’m like, oh, I had no idea it was that easy. You could get rich trading stocks. Why didn’t someone tell me that 30 years ago? MARTIN: I tend to take the view that having a very balanced portfolio and knowing what you invest in, and investing for the long term is probably 9 times out of 10 the — maybe 9.5 times out of 10, the right philosophy to have. RITHOLTZ: I think Warren Buffett wouldn’t find anything to disagree with that. And yet we see people piling to companies of questionable potential. My favorite example was — was it Hertz that was bankrupt and everybody decided to buy Hertz since then? So as you’re observing this, is part of your brain saying we have to do X and Y and Z to stop this, or is it, well, that’s going to be an interesting end when that all — when that train stops? MARTIN: So our job is to make sure the markets are open and are available to the most diverse set of investors. RITHOLTZ: No paternalism. You just — MARTIN: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: Here’s the platform and make sure it runs. MARTIN: Ultimately, if there is questionable behavior, we police that. Our reg group who is a separate group, polices that and works closely with the regulator. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about that. You see behavior that sometimes it’s just — that looks pretty stupid. And sometimes it’s like, hey, this is looking a little suspicious, something doesn’t smell right here. What happens when your systems start flashing little alerts? Hey, look at this stock, something seems to be unkosher here. MARTIN: So that would be the job of reg to look at various trademarks. RITHOLTZ: Internally, the NYSE regulations. MARTIN: Yeah. They are a separate organization from the business, but they are an internal organization. And then, you know, they would either take enforcement action if it was suspicious activity, not stupid, not stupid. It’s not our job again to take views on whether or not a stock is worth something. That’s for the market to decide. And then if appropriate, refer it to the regulators. RITHOLTZ: So I would assume the NYSE has a fairly close relationship with the SEC and there’s probably a lot of back and forth on a regular basis. Tell us a little bit about that. How does the — MARTIN: Well, they are a regulator. We’re an SRO. So we do have a very close working relationship with them. We are — RITHOLTZ: So you’re a self-regulating organization. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: But you also have a, a relationship with the government regulator. MARTIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: And I would imagine that’s a fairly productive relationship. MARTIN: It is. It is. Obviously, we have a very strong rule book. Anytime we make a change from a market structure standpoint from an order type standpoint, that has to be fully approved by the Commission. So we spend a lot of time with the SEC going through various rule changes. We want to introduce a new order type. We want to introduce a new — a different fee. There’s a variety of reasons why we need to do for filings. RITHOLTZ: So let’s use an example. I’m always — again, now I’m going to show my age. The circuit breakers from the ‘80s and ‘90s were pretty modest and things really had to go off the rails before they kicked in. Circuit breakers have very much been brought up to speed both on the broad market and individual companies. Tell us about the circuit breaker, is that coming from the NYSE? Is that coming from the SEC? MARTIN: So that is something in the wake of the volatility that has occurred at various points, various instances of stress in the market, whatever the case may be. RITHOLTZ: I mean, this goes back to ‘87, right? MARTIN: Absolutely. Pandemic. The market has really — the positive of every time there has been a challenge, the market has developed system safeguards, for lack of a better description. So — and they apply to all of the exchanges. So volatility halts, for example, we have volatility halts for securities, individual securities. But then we also have system halts when the entirety of the market has a certain drop. For example, you saw the market wide circuit breakers kick in, I believe, four times during the pandemic, really during the height of the pandemic and that’s — RITHOLTZ: March 2020. Yeah. MARTIN: Yeah. And the way that works is if the S&P is trading 7% below its opening level, it will automatically halt. RITHOLTZ: Opening level or previous close, how do you categorize that? MARTIN: Previous close. Previous close. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So we close at 3000 and we open 210 points below that, there’s a halt right there? MARTIN: Yes. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Makes sense. And individual companies, what are those circuit breakers like? MARTIN: It’s, I believe, 5% up or down. It will be at 10 halt. RITHOLTZ: So that’s a 10. And the first halt is — MARTIN: And actually, to be fair, it depends on the liquidity in the stock. It could be 5%. It could be wider, depending on the overall liquidity in market cap of the stock. RITHOLTZ: But when we — when we see a liquid stock take a 5%, or an 8%, or a 10% haircut, they tend to keep trading. MARTIN: You’ll have a very short halt, and then it will — RITHOLTZ: Just to let the book sort of rejigger? MARTIN: Correct. RITHOLTZ: So the first halt is how many minutes? Five minutes? MARTIN: I think it’s 10. RITHOLTZ: 10 minutes? MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: All right. And then the second halt is longer. MARTIN: Yeah. And then if this continues to be a mess, it’s halted for the day. So the first, second, third strike, they’re out. We haven’t seen that in quite a while. What happens the next day when we reopen? How is that priced? Is it just the messages and orders, or is there a specialist trying to facilitate that? MARTIN: There is a specialist. That’s where the open — that’s where our market model shines. You have the opening auction and the closing auction, which again performed that function I mentioned earlier of smoothing out any imbalances, whatever the case may be to make for a smoother open and/or a smoother close. And that’s why when I mentioned earlier that we’ve seen two times less volatility at the open and three times less volatility at the close this year, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s the opening and the closing auctions. RITHOLTZ: Because a person is essentially — MARTIN: Because a person is trying to make sense of what’s going on. RITHOLTZ: Right. Smoothing that out and making it a little more balanced than it might have been. MARTIN: Correct. RITHOLTZ: And that means they’re also going at risk and taking positions to facilitate that. MARTIN: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned a couple of things I didn’t get to, I want to follow up on. One is the dual listing. So when a company is listed here and overseas, or is that the only reason to be a dual listing? How often — what are the other reasons to be — besides geographic, to be dual listed? MARTIN: A lot of times, it’s geographic. Very infrequently, there are some securities that are dual listed on us and our closest competitor in the U.S., but that’s very infrequent. So it’s typically to get access to a different group of investors. A lot of times you’ll also see a primary listing and then something called an ADR being listed in the U.S. where we’ll do the primary. And that’s more foreign issuers that want to have their primary listing on the home market, but then tap the liquidity in the U.S. market. So they’ll issue an ADR. RITHOLTZ: And then what about additions and subtractions? I know we occasionally see companies that were once smaller companies listed at what used to be considered regional exchanges — MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — graduate to the NYSE. And then every now and then, somebody, you know, is past their sell/buy date and they get de-listed. Tell us a little bit about what that process is like. MARTIN: Yeah. I mean, the de-listing process, you know, there’s a lot of things that go into the de-listing decision. RITHOLTZ: But it’s pretty mathematical, right? MARTIN: Yeah, it is. It is. RITHOLTZ: You know, check these boxes or — MARTIN: We’ve got — the reg has a variety of requirements to maintain your listing. It could be certain financial wherewithal. It could be the amount of shareholders, individual shareholders that are participating in your stock. So there is a formula that gets followed. RITHOLTZ: And what about the opposite? What about somebody graduating, for lack of a better phrase, to the NYSE? MARTIN: Yeah. And we’ve seen actually quite a few companies graduate to the NYSE this year alone. We’ve actually seen quite a few companies transfer to the NYSE this year. I think we’ve had 14 so far to date — RITHOLTZ: That’s a lot. MARTIN: — which is our best year on record. But we’ve seen — we have a smaller listings venue called NYSE American, which is for the smaller cap companies. And you know, we’re really happy when we see them graduate to the big board, for lack of a better description, because it means they’re having success. They’re having a tremendous amount of success in the public markets. RITHOLTZ: All right. Let me throw you a little bit of a curve ball. I’m going to ask you a question you can’t possibly answer, but I feel compelled to ask it. MARTIN: Awesome. RITHOLTZ: So I remember getting a tour of the floor of the exchange a million years ago, and it was giant room after room, after room down on Wall Street and Broad, and literally where physical chairs were being traded, traded physically person to person. That has slowly been computerized. That’s slowly been morphed into the modern market structure. But I have very fond memories of that massive building that takes up like two city blocks. Is there always going to be a physical exchange? This is the question that I don’t know if anybody can answer. But is there always going to be a physical exchange on Wall Street? At what point does that just, you know, become a venue for aftermarket IPO parties and things like that? MARTIN: There is always going to be the New York Stock Exchange at the corner of Wall and Broad. We’ve been here for 230 years, counting us being here for the next 230 years. We have survived many war, pandemic, volatility, crisis — RITHOLTZ: Explosions. MARTIN: — all sorts of — all sorts of unfortunate events. So there will always be an exchange at the corner of Wall and Broad. RITHOLTZ: That’s really good to hear. I have very fond memories of that. And not too far from there, the tour of the Federal Reserve gold. MARTIN: Federal Reserve, the vaults. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Right. So those were — I think — I’m trying to remember if that was a high school teacher or a college teacher. It was ways ago. All right. So I know I only have you for a few minutes more. Let me jump to all my favorite questions we ask all of our guests, starting with what did you do to keep yourself entertained during the pandemic? What were you watching or listening to? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MARTIN: Well, during the pandemic, I had the unique privilege of homeschooling two children in addition to doing my day job, which was focused on keeping the fixed income markets moving forward. So that was — that was a challenge. But I have to say I look back on it with fond memories, not just because our fixed income business provided a lot of transparency in a really opaque market, but also I got to spend some time — a lot of time with my kids. RITHOLTZ: That sounds like fun. Let’s talk about your mentors who helped to shape your career. MARTIN: I would say that I’ve had the opportunity to have mentors that have been bosses all throughout my career. It really started with my first project executive who was helping guide me through IBM, who taught me a lot of really important lessons that I still stay true to, one of which is you can never overcommunicate. But throughout my career, I’ve been lucky, fortunate that my bosses have always given me stretch jobs, where they give me an opportunity to do a job that maybe I didn’t have the background for, or I didn’t think I had the background for, but they thought I was the right person for that job. RITHOLTZ: Sounds interesting. What are some of your favorite books? What are you reading right now? MARTIN: Books are a challenge mainly because I have a finite amount of time in my day. Right now, you know, continuing to read a couple of interesting business books like, you know, I always go back to the Michael Lewis books because they’re just a good read — RITHOLTZ: Can’t beat them. MARTIN: — on top of anything. They’re a unique mix of storytelling and business, so it kind of scratches both itches, for lack of a better description. RITHOLTZ: Sure. I just reread Liar’s Poker — MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — on its 30th anniversary. It holds up surprisingly well. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And you could see the outlines of, oh, it’s not quite a full Michael Lewis book, but there are hints of the writer he’s about to become. MARTIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. MARTIN: I also like Moneyball. Moneyball is one of my favorites. I mean, like that’s — RITHOLTZ: Hard to beat. MARTIN: You’re in baseball season. I’m a baseball fan. So therefore I’m going to, you know, focus on. RITHOLTZ: We may see the Mets go pretty deep into the playoffs this year. MARTIN: That I’m not going to — I’m going to hold my breath. We’re entering September and you know what usually happens to our boys from flashing in September, right? RITHOLTZ: They seem to be a little different team this year under another market participant, Stevie Cohen. MARTIN: You got to believe, right? RITHOLTZ: Listen, I grew up with, you know, the Lenny Dykstra era of you’re on the line and it’s so easy to get to Shea Stadium. MARTIN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: We used to go to games all the time and frequently to be disappointed, but so far — MARTIN: Well, I remember my first games were ‘85 and ‘86. RITHOLTZ: Oh, well, ’86 is — MARTIN: So I mean — and that’s when I just fell in love with them. RITHOLTZ: Bucky Dent and the little dribbler through the legs. That was it. MARTIN: Exactly. Like Bill Buckner and his name will go down in infamy I assume in Boston. But, man, I felt good in New York, right? RITHOLTZ: Yeah. MARTIN: So — and watching that team was a lot of fun with Strawberry and — RITHOLTZ: That’s right. MARTIN: — Ron Darling, who I think is a great broadcaster. By the way, he’s turned into a great broadcaster. RITHOLTZ: You know, they were always an interesting team, even if they didn’t bring home as many championships as the Yankees did. MARTIN: They were. They were. They were. I remember going to the Subway Series between them and the Yankees in the World Series in 2000, I think that was. And — RITHOLTZ: Is that a playoff or — MARTIN: No. They were in the World Series together. RITHOLTZ: Really? 2000 is kind of a blur to me. MARTIN: There you go. RITHOLTZ: That was like ’08, ’09, that year was a little bit of a blur. Our last two questions, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career involving data services, listed stocks, any sort of trading or exchange-based work? MARTIN: The advice that I would give is to, in some respects, expect the unexpected. And what I mean by that is your traditional degrees aren’t necessarily going to be what’s going to make you successful. So be intellectually curious about the things, not just involved in finance. Be intellectually curious about the technology under that underpins the systems. And clearly, never be afraid to speak up if you want an opportunity, or take on an additional project that may not be in your day to day, but maybe something that is just an area that interests you. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of data services, exchanges, market trading and public companies today you wish you knew 20 or so years ago? MARTIN: That is a great question. RITHOLTZ: We save it for last for a reason. MARTIN: I guess I wish I knew how important — I wish I knew how important the role of the programmer was going to become in financial markets. I understood then that, effectively, fair value was determined by a variety of mathematical — a bunch of math, for lack of a better description. Those mathematical models became much more sophisticated over time. But I don’t know that I fully appreciated that the guy or girl who is writing the code was going to be the one that was interacting with the systems 20 something years ago, and the importance of efficient interaction. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. We have been speaking with Lynn Martin. She is president of the New York Stock Exchange. Thank you, Lynn, for being so generous with your time. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out all of our previous 400 or so podcasts we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes or Spotify, or wherever you get your favorite podcast from. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team who helps put these conversations together each week. Bob Bragg is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. Sean Russo is my head of Research. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~     The post Transcript: Lynn Martin appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 7th, 2022

The rise and decline of Bed Bath & Beyond: Once one of America"s most beloved big-box retailers, now it"s closing 150 stores and slashing jobs

Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods for decades, but slumping sales and executive turmoil have hurt the struggling brand. Getty Images Since its founding in 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods. In recent years, however, the retailer has shown significant signs of struggle, including slumping sales and executive turmoil.  We took a look at the rise and decline of the iconic big-box retailer.  Email acain@insider.com and sjackson@insider.com if you're an employee with a story to share. Once the golden child of big-box stores, Bed Bath & Beyond is now struggling to stay afloat. The company announced on Wednesday it is closing 150 stores and slashing 20% of its corporate positions in an effort to cut costs, the latest in a series of setbacks for the home goods store. In June, Bed Bath & Beyond reported a $358 million net loss in its first quarter, and subsequently announced it was replacing CEO Mark Tritton and a number of other executives in yet another attempt to reorganize its leadership. The situation worsened when activist investor and GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen sold his 9.8% stake in the company earlier this month. Now, analysts are saying the company may be in its "end days."Then, in September of 2022, the company's CFO Gustavo Arnal was discovered dead after a fall from a New York City building. The CFO had been the subject of a lawsuit around insider tradining. Bed Bath & Beyond was once a leading home goods retailer, appealing to shoppers across the nation with its strategy of abundance. The beloved store, which lined strip malls nationwide, became known for its huge assortment of products spanning every color and style.Over the years, it became a go-to for just about anything for the home and — true to its name — beyond. We took a closer a look at Bed Bath & Beyond's rise from a small linen store in New Jersey to a major national retail chain now on the brink of collapse. Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971 in New Jersey by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderThe duo had formerly worked in management at Arlans, a local discount chain, and saw opportunity for growth in the bed and bath categories."We had witnessed the department store shakeout, and knew that specialty stores were going to be the next wave of retailing," Feinstein told the trade publication Chain Store Executive in 1993. It was originally called Bed 'n Bath, to reflect its specialty linens and bath products. The company would later rebrand to Bed Bath & Beyond in 1987.An employee pushes a cart on his shift.Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty ImagesDuring the course of the 1970s, Bed Bath & Beyond expanded to 17 locations, primarily in the greater New York area and California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe 1980s also marked an era of increased competition for Bed Bath & Beyond, thanks to the rise of stores like Linens 'n Things.David McNew/Getty ImagesIn response, the company launched its first superstore concept, a 20,000-square-foot store that would become the model for the modern Bed Bath & Beyond store.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe company has been widely credited as being at the forefront of the superstore movement in America. This new massive store featured a wide array of brands and products in nearly every color and style, setting it apart from department stores at the time that tended to stock a limited assortment of specialty collections.Business Insider/Jessica TylerSource: Funding UniverseThis strategy is known by analysts as the "category killer," a method also employed by retailers like Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Costco.Getty ImagesThis method is intended to bring more shoppers into stores by selling a little bit of everything across all categories and consumer demographics.Over the next few years, Bed Bath & Beyond opened more superstores in New Jersey, California, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, and Florida.Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesSource: Funding UniverseIts new store model — which smartly grouped product categories and strategically placed impulse buys near the register — was particularly conducive to strong sales. By 1991, sales reached $134 million.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Funding UniverseBed Bath & Beyond filed for an IPO in June 1992.Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesAs the company continued to grow, it added popular categories like electric appliances.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIn 1999, it reached $1 billion in sales.Getty/Kevork DjansezianSource: Funding UniverseBy the start of the millennium, Bed Bath & Beyond had 311 stores across 43 states.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Funding UniverseIn 2002, Bed Bath & Beyond acquired the health and beauty retailer Harmons, followed by the holiday chain Christmas Tree Shops in 2003.Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesOver the next 10 years, the company continued to focus on acquisitions, including purchasing Buy Buy Baby in 2007.Bed Bath & Beyond additionally purchased both Linen Holdings and Cost Plus World Market in 2012.A shopper at World Market.Lisa Lake/Getty ImagesBy then, Bed Bath & Beyond began to hold a prominent place in popular culture, appearing in shows like "Broad City."Comedy CentralDuring this period, big-box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond began to show signs of struggle, as consumers turned to e-commerce and other cross-category competitors like Walmart and Target.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Racked Suddenly, stores like Linens 'n Things were going out of business.GettyIn May 2019, CEO Steven Temares was ousted by a group of activist investors who called for his resignation in a brutal 168-slide presentation. Several board members also stepped down at the behest of investors.Business Insider/Jessica TylerIn the presentation, the investors called company leaders at fault for failing to adapt to the modern retail landscape and causing sales to tank.Adding insult to injury, the company also announced it would shutter 44 stores across eight states in 2020 to offset its declining sales,Mark Lennihan/AP ImagesSource: Business Insider In November 2019, former Target CMO Mark Tritton took over for interim CEO Mary Winston as the company's new leader.Gary Gershoff/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider While some experts at the time anticipated that the appointment of Tritton — who formerly served as chief merchandising officer at Target — would bring promise, it wasn't expected to be an easy turnaround.A messy display at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Forbes Under Tritton, the company attempted to adopt a less "cluttered" and more organized shopping experience, including implementing "the biggest change in its product assortment in a generation."Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderSource: Insider, WSJ The revamp involved reducing its product selection and launching its own private-label brand.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderDespite a boom in sales at the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to an increased interest in home goods, Bed Bath & Beyond's newly limited product selection exacerbated supply-chain issues, leading to empty shelves and frustrated shoppers.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderSource: InsiderSales continued to decline, worsening with record-high inflation and decreased customer demand in recent months, according to Tritton.Mary Meisenzahl/Insider"Our business has been impacted by extraordinary macroeconomic factors, such as the derailing of the global supply chain, continued disruptions from the Omicron variant, unprecedented inflation, rising interest rates, and a turbulent geopolitical landscape which have also weighed on consumer confidence," Tritton told investors in April. In June 2022, the company announced it would replace Tritton as CEO, as well as swap out several top executives, marking yet another leadership shakeup for Bed Bath & Beyond.Mark TrittonJohn Lamparski/Getty ImagesIn its most recent quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond reported net losses of $358 million.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderThe company also recently announced it was discontinuing Wild Sage, its private-label bedding, decor, and furniture brand, CNBC reported.The company became the subject of a meme-stock rally in August, thanks largely to activist investor Ryan Cohen.Bed Bath & Beyond wanted to prevent overpacked shelvesREUTERS/Emily ElconinBed Bath & Beyond shares soared 29% earlier in the month due to meme-stock traders jumping on the stock. The effort was inspired by Cohen — head of RC Ventures, as well co-founder and former CEO of Chewy and a chairman of GameStop — betting on the company, according to CNBC.However, shares plummeted after Cohen announced he was selling his holdings earlier this month.Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is now the head of RC Ventures, an investment firm that's taken a 12% stake in GameStop. Courtesy of Chewy.comCourtesy of Chewy.comSource: InsiderOn August 31, Bed Bath Beyond announced it is closing an estimated 150 stores and slashing 20% of its corporate staff.A Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.Michael Santiago/Getty ImagesThe announcement was made ahead of the company's earnings call with investors, during which it announced that sales had dropped by 25% in its most recent quarter. Source: InsiderThe closures and layoffs will help the company cut costs by $250 million through the end of the year, the company said.Bed Bath & Beyond employee helps customers load their purchases into the trunk of a taxi this afternoon on Sixth Ave. in Chelsea. Shoppers across the city continued to hit the stores today in search of holiday bargains, setting the pace for what retailers predict will be a modest improvement from last year's dreary sales figures.Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty ImagesBed Bath & Beyond has also secured more than $500 million in new financing as it looks to right-size the business. "The company continues to evaluate its portfolio and leases, in addition to staffing, to ensure alignment with customer demand and go-forward strategy," Bed Bath & Beyond said in a press release. The chain's CFO died suddenly in September 2022.Gustavo ArnalBed Bath & BeyondOn September 2, Bed Bath & Beyond CFO Gustavo Arnal was found dead after a fall from a New York City building. Arnal had recently been named in a federal class-action fraud lawsuit, which also named Cohen.The suit claimed that Cohen and Arnal were working together in a "fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the price of Bed Bath & Beyond's publicly traded stock."Bed Bath & Beyond executive Laura Crossen was named as Arnal's temporary successor.Whether the company will regain its footing remains to be seen, but there's no doubt Bed Bath & Beyond has a long road ahead.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 7th, 2022

Lionheart Strategic Management and Centennial Bank Provide $142 Million in Funding for Residential Development at Edge-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow, NY

Lionheart Strategic Management LLC (Lionheart), an affiliate of Fisher Brothers that manages capital on behalf of third-party investors, announced today that it will provide a $37.2 million mezzanine loan behind a $105 million senior loan from Centennial Bank to a project team comprised of Biddle Real Estate Ventures (BREV) and... The post Lionheart Strategic Management and Centennial Bank Provide $142 Million in Funding for Residential Development at Edge-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow, NY appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Lionheart Strategic Management LLC (Lionheart), an affiliate of Fisher Brothers that manages capital on behalf of third-party investors, announced today that it will provide a $37.2 million mezzanine loan behind a $105 million senior loan from Centennial Bank to a project team comprised of Biddle Real Estate Ventures (BREV) and PCD Development. The financing will be used to develop a 100-unit luxury waterfront condominium building at Edge-on-Hudson, the new mixed-use, transit-oriented development, in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  “The Sponsors have assembled a top-tier construction, design and development team that will deliver a highly amenitized and unique residential product in an unparalleled location as part of the larger Edge-on-Hudson master development,” said Andy Klein, Managing Director of Lionheart Strategic Management LLC. “This project will meet continued and growing demand for quality new residential products in Westchester County. With easy connectivity to New York City via Metro-North and Highways, proximity to river towns along the Hudson River, unobstructed views and a walkable community feel, this project will cater to both city-dwellers in search of NYC-caliber luxury product as well as Westchester locals looking to enhance their lifestyle. We’re thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Biddle Real Estate Ventures, PCD Development, Centennial Bank, and the entire team on executing what will be a transformative part of a placemaking project.” Peter Chavkin, founder of Biddle Real Estate Ventures, commented, “The Daymark will offer a truly remarkable experience in waterfront living. We’re gratified to have the support of Lionheart Strategic Management and Centennial Bank behind us in order to bring this project to fruition, along with the design expertise of COOKFOX Architects and the experienced team at Hines as development manager.” Jon Stein, founder of PCD Development, added, “Edge-on-Hudson is proving to be one of the most sought-after mixed-use developments in the NY Metro area, and The Daymark raises the bar even further.” Hines, the development manager on the project, will work alongside the project team to develop the five-story, 100-unit condominium with more than 9,000 square feet of retail at the base of the building. Many residences will have uninterrupted waterfront views, and tenants will have access to a number of amenities including a pool, fitness center, resident lounge, and rooftop deck. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2022.  Lionheart recently celebrated $1 billion in investor commitments for various real estate credit strategies in markets around the world and have deployed more than $500 million of capital throughout the firm’s tenure.  Andy Klein, Robert Kamenec, and Benjamin Eshiwani led the transaction for Lionheart Strategic Management.  The post Lionheart Strategic Management and Centennial Bank Provide $142 Million in Funding for Residential Development at Edge-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow, NY appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 7th, 2022

The rise and fall of Bed Bath & Beyond: Once one of America"s most beloved big-box retailers, now it"s closing 150 stores and slashing jobs

Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods for decades, but slumping sales and executive turmoil have hurt the struggling brand. Getty Images Since its founding in 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods. In recent years, however, the retailer has shown significant signs of struggle, including slumping sales and executive turmoil.  We took a look at the rise and fall of the iconic big-box retailer.  Email acain@insider.com and sjackson@insider.com if you're an employee with a story to share. Once the golden child of big-box stores, Bed Bath & Beyond is now struggling to stay afloat. The company announced on Wednesday it is closing 150 stores and slashing 20% of its corporate positions in an effort to cut costs, the latest in a series of setbacks for the home goods store. In June, Bed Bath & Beyond reported a $358 million net loss in its first quarter, and subsequently announced it was replacing CEO Mark Tritton and a number of other executives in yet another attempt to reorganize its leadership. The situation worsened when activist investor and GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen sold his 9.8% stake in the company earlier this month. Now, analysts are saying the company may be in its "end days."Then, in September of 2022, the company's CFO Gustavo Arnal was discovered dead after a fall from a New York City building. The CFO had been the subject of a lawsuit around insider tradining. Bed Bath & Beyond was once a leading home goods retailer, appealing to shoppers across the nation with its strategy of abundance. The beloved store, which lined strip malls nationwide, became known for its huge assortment of products spanning every color and style.Over the years, it became a go-to for just about anything for the home and — true to its name — beyond. We took a closer a look at Bed Bath & Beyond's rise from a small linen store in New Jersey to a major national retail chain now on the brink of collapse. Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971 in New Jersey by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderThe duo had formerly worked in management at Arlans, a local discount chain, and saw opportunity for growth in the bed and bath categories."We had witnessed the department store shakeout, and knew that specialty stores were going to be the next wave of retailing," Feinstein told the trade publication Chain Store Executive in 1993. It was originally called Bed 'n Bath, to reflect its specialty linens and bath products. The company would later rebrand to Bed Bath & Beyond in 1987.An employee pushes a cart on his shift.Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty ImagesDuring the course of the 1970s, Bed Bath & Beyond expanded to 17 locations, primarily in the greater New York area and California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe 1980s also marked an era of increased competition for Bed Bath & Beyond, thanks to the rise of stores like Linens 'n Things.David McNew/Getty ImagesIn response, the company launched its first superstore concept, a 20,000-square-foot store that would become the model for the modern Bed Bath & Beyond store.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe company has been widely credited as being at the forefront of the superstore movement in America. This new massive store featured a wide array of brands and products in nearly every color and style, setting it apart from department stores at the time that tended to stock a limited assortment of specialty collections.Business Insider/Jessica TylerSource: Funding UniverseThis strategy is known by analysts as the "category killer," a method also employed by retailers like Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Costco.Getty ImagesThis method is intended to bring more shoppers into stores by selling a little bit of everything across all categories and consumer demographics.Over the next few years, Bed Bath & Beyond opened more superstores in New Jersey, California, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, and Florida.Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesSource: Funding UniverseIts new store model — which smartly grouped product categories and strategically placed impulse buys near the register — was particularly conducive to strong sales. By 1991, sales reached $134 million.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Funding UniverseBed Bath & Beyond filed for an IPO in June 1992.Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesAs the company continued to grow, it added popular categories like electric appliances.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIn 1999, it reached $1 billion in sales.Getty/Kevork DjansezianSource: Funding UniverseBy the start of the millennium, Bed Bath & Beyond had 311 stores across 43 states.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Funding UniverseIn 2002, Bed Bath & Beyond acquired the health and beauty retailer Harmons, followed by the holiday chain Christmas Tree Shops in 2003.Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesOver the next 10 years, the company continued to focus on acquisitions, including purchasing Buy Buy Baby in 2007.Bed Bath & Beyond additionally purchased both Linen Holdings and Cost Plus World Market in 2012.A shopper at World Market.Lisa Lake/Getty ImagesBy then, Bed Bath & Beyond began to hold a prominent place in popular culture, appearing in shows like "Broad City."Comedy CentralDuring this period, big-box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond began to show signs of struggle, as consumers turned to e-commerce and other cross-category competitors like Walmart and Target.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Racked Suddenly, stores like Linens 'n Things were going out of business.GettyIn May 2019, CEO Steven Temares was ousted by a group of activist investors who called for his resignation in a brutal 168-slide presentation. Several board members also stepped down at the behest of investors.Business Insider/Jessica TylerIn the presentation, the investors called company leaders at fault for failing to adapt to the modern retail landscape and causing sales to tank.Adding insult to injury, the company also announced it would shutter 44 stores across eight states in 2020 to offset its declining sales,Mark Lennihan/AP ImagesSource: Business Insider In November 2019, former Target CMO Mark Tritton took over for interim CEO Mary Winston as the company's new leader.Gary Gershoff/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider While some experts at the time anticipated that the appointment of Tritton — who formerly served as chief merchandising officer at Target — would bring promise, it wasn't expected to be an easy turnaround.A messy display at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderSource: Forbes Under Tritton, the company attempted to adopt a less "cluttered" and more organized shopping experience, including implementing "the biggest change in its product assortment in a generation."Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderSource: Insider, WSJ The revamp involved reducing its product selection and launching its own private-label brand.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderDespite a boom in sales at the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to an increased interest in home goods, Bed Bath & Beyond's newly limited product selection exacerbated supply-chain issues, leading to empty shelves and frustrated shoppers.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderSource: InsiderSales continued to decline, worsening with record-high inflation and decreased customer demand in recent months, according to Tritton.Mary Meisenzahl/Insider"Our business has been impacted by extraordinary macroeconomic factors, such as the derailing of the global supply chain, continued disruptions from the Omicron variant, unprecedented inflation, rising interest rates, and a turbulent geopolitical landscape which have also weighed on consumer confidence," Tritton told investors in April. In June 2022, the company announced it would replace Tritton as CEO, as well as swap out several top executives, marking yet another leadership shakeup for Bed Bath & Beyond.Mark TrittonJohn Lamparski/Getty ImagesIn its most recent quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond reported net losses of $358 million.Mary Meisenzahl/InsiderThe company also recently announced it was discontinuing Wild Sage, its private-label bedding, decor, and furniture brand, CNBC reported.The company became the subject of a meme-stock rally in August, thanks largely to activist investor Ryan Cohen.Bed Bath & Beyond wanted to prevent overpacked shelvesREUTERS/Emily ElconinBed Bath & Beyond shares soared 29% earlier in the month due to meme-stock traders jumping on the stock. The effort was inspired by Cohen — head of RC Ventures, as well co-founder and former CEO of Chewy and a chairman of GameStop — betting on the company, according to CNBC.However, shares plummeted after Cohen announced he was selling his holdings earlier this month.Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is now the head of RC Ventures, an investment firm that's taken a 12% stake in GameStop. Courtesy of Chewy.comCourtesy of Chewy.comSource: InsiderOn August 31, Bed Bath Beyond announced it is closing an estimated 150 stores and slashing 20% of its corporate staff.A Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.Michael Santiago/Getty ImagesThe announcement was made ahead of the company's earnings call with investors, during which it announced that sales had dropped by 25% in its most recent quarter. Source: InsiderThe closures and layoffs will help the company cut costs by $250 million through the end of the year, the company said.Bed Bath & Beyond employee helps customers load their purchases into the trunk of a taxi this afternoon on Sixth Ave. in Chelsea. Shoppers across the city continued to hit the stores today in search of holiday bargains, setting the pace for what retailers predict will be a modest improvement from last year's dreary sales figures.Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty ImagesBed Bath & Beyond has also secured more than $500 million in new financing as it looks to right-size the business. "The company continues to evaluate its portfolio and leases, in addition to staffing, to ensure alignment with customer demand and go-forward strategy," Bed Bath & Beyond said in a press release. The chain's CFO died suddenly in September 2022.Gustavo ArnalBed Bath & Beyond, Ryan CohenOn September 2, Bed Bath & Beyond CFO Gustavo Arnal was found dead after a fall from a New York City building. Arnal had recently been named in a federal class-action fraud lawsuit, which also named Cohen.The suit claimed that Cohen and Arnal were working together in a "fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the price of Bed Bath & Beyond's publicly traded stock."Bed Bath & Beyond executive Laura Crossen was named as Arnal's temporary successor.Whether the company will regain its footing remains to be seen, but there's no doubt Bed Bath & Beyond has a long road ahead.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 6th, 2022

Activists Push For Gun Safety In The U.S.

As President Joe Biden readies legislation to ban assault weapons, ESG activists are making another push for gun safety in the U.S. through the shareholder franchise. Another Push For Gun Safety In The U.S. This week, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander – alongside political grandees at the city and state levels, the California State […] As President Joe Biden readies legislation to ban assault weapons, ESG activists are making another push for gun safety in the U.S. through the shareholder franchise. Another Push For Gun Safety In The U.S. This week, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander – alongside political grandees at the city and state levels, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), and Amalgamated Bank, among others – launched a new campaign. The new campaign asked credit card companies Mastercard, Visa, and American Express to create a new merchant category code for gun and ammunition stores, allowing these institutions to better track suspicious activity by identifying purchases linked to firearms. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   And on September 12, shareholders of Smith & Wesson, one of two major listed gun manufacturers, will vote on a shareholder proposal requesting a human rights policy.  Whether it passes will likely be a close call – human rights reporting proposals at the company received 36% support in 2019, were withdrawn in 2020, and received 44% last September. While a report on the company's impact on gun violence received 52% support following the Parkland school shooting of February 2018, according to Insightia's Voting module. The goal, says Judy Byron of the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center, which filed the Smith & Wesson proposal, is "to move the companies to play a role in reducing gun violence by taking responsibility to assess the safety of their products and their marketing practices; and to track and monitor the adverse impacts of their products." She can draw confidence from CommonSpirit's efforts at Sturm-Ruger, where proposals asking for greater disclosure received almost 69% support in 2018 and earlier this year. The focus on manufacturers is partly due to the investor movement's success in other sectors. Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) celebrated engagements with retailers. Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart, which led the pair to take some guns off their shelves between 2018 and 2019. "Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart have taken bold steps to do their part in implementing gun violence prevention and gun safety strategies," CommonSpirit's Laura Krausa told me by email. "Their commitments set examples for other firearm retailers, distributors and manufacturers." "We definitely need an Ed Stack of Dick's Sporting Goods in the firearm manufacturing industry to take a positive stand on the need for the sector to offer solutions to increasing gun violence," added Byron, referencing the former CEO who made big changes to the retailer's gun policies in 2018 and subsequently lobbied politicians. ICCR also wrote to logistics companies FedEx and UPS to identify measures to prevent the sales of "ghost guns" – firearms that can be assembled at home. Earlier this year, the Biden administration launched a handful of rules to make ghost guns more traceable and criminalize unlicensed manufacturers. ICCR members have also engaged with banks and credit card companies but this past week's campaign – involving shareholder proposals at American Express and Mastercard and letters to both those companies and Visa – is seeking to break new ground. A shareholder proposal on ghost gun measures at Mastercard received just 10% support in June and calls for new merchant category codes may also be considered "overly prescriptive," a term shareholders have used to describe some ESG proposals this proxy season. However, the NYC-led campaign may hope to draw on other recent successes social activists have had at credit card providers. Over the last year, Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman has pressed Visa and Mastercard to ban pornography companies with lax controls on illegal content from their networks, even offering to help fund lawsuits against the companies. The activist investor does not own shares in either company, however, and the main leverage has been through public pressure and reporting, rather than through the shareholder franchise. That distinction may not bother the leaders of this campaign. The combination of public pressure, regulation, and winning over substantial chunks of a company's owners is a deliberate strategy and one that public pension funds are uniquely well-suited to. With New York State losing a Supreme Court case over its concealed carry laws earlier this summer, there is renewed political urgency to tackle gun safety through other means. And if it leads to results through negotiations with the credit card companies rather than a shareholder vote, politicians and fund managers won't sweat the difference. -- Josh Black, Editor-In-Chief, Diligent, Formerly Insightia A Record Year For Human Capital Human rights proposals are proving popular among investors, a trend that will continue as shareholders strengthen their policies for the coming season. Human capital gained significant attention at the onset of COVID-19, with several issuers facing backlash for failing to properly care for their workers during the pandemic. Such controversies resulted in companies across the board being pressed to demonstrate how they are taking proper precautions to ensure worker safety. So far this year, a record 15 shareholder proposals concerning human capital have been subject to a vote at U.S.-listed companies, winning 33.7% average support. This is a significant increase compared to 2018, when only three proposals of this kind won a measly 15.6% average support. 2022 was also a record year for human capital majority wins. Three proposals seeking reporting on human rights won upwards of 50% support, while one proposal asking Sturm Ruger to conduct a third-party human rights impact assessment won 68.5% support, the highest level for any proposal of its kind in history. "There is increasing recognition of the role that businesses can and should play to respect human rights," Kimberley Lewis, Schroders' head of active ownership, said in a recent interview. "Businesses involved in human rights controversies could face higher operational and financial risks and could suffer damage to their reputation." Now, three years on from the onset of the pandemic, investors remain just as focused on human capital management. In response to what Norges Bank described as the "rapid" evolution of these engagements, the $1.4-trillion fund manager unveiled new expectations recently concerning workers' rights. Going forward, issuers will be expected to publicly report on human capital in line with international best standards, such as recommendations from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Norges also expects issuers to disclose "core information" about their workforces, such as the number of workers, employee turnover, diversity data, and relevant industry-specific metrics. Companies that fall short of these expectations may face voting action or further engagement. Norges isn't the only investor to step up its efforts on human capital. Lord Abbett & Co. and Vanguard Australia have also refined their human capital policies, ahead of the 2023 proxy season. Companies are taking notice of the growing pressure and taking action. In July, Meta released its inaugural human rights report after years of pressure from investors to enhance its human rights reporting. Nvidia and Thomson Reuters also agreed to publish human right policies and assessments, following engagement with members of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). "In a highly interconnected global economy, companies face increasing scrutiny regarding how they address human rights issues that may arise from their business practices," said BlackRock Investment Stewardship (BIS) in a paper outlining its approach toward human capital. "We appreciate when companies implement processes to identify, manage, and prevent adverse human rights impacts that could expose them to material risks, and provide robust disclosures on these practices." -- Rebecca Sherratt, Publications Editor, Diligent, Formerly Insightia.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 2nd, 2022