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Biden dangles $6bn investment if Northern Ireland power sharing agreed



Joe Biden has dangled a $6bn (£5bn) carrot in front of Northern Ireland’s leaders with a promise to boost the country’s economy with US investment if power sharing is restored.

In a thinly veiled message to the Democratic Unionist party, which has been boycotting the devolved government for more than a year, the US president told an audience in Belfast that American investors were ready to “triple” the $2bn already invested.

“The simple truth is that peace and economic opportunity go together,” Biden said.

He reminded representatives of the region’s five biggest parties, who sat at the front of the auditorium, of how transformative the Good Friday agreement had been 25 years ago and urged them to put the past behind them and look at the prosperity that could flow in the next quarter of a century.


In the past 25 years, the gross domestic product of Northern Ireland had doubled, while in “just the past decade” almost $2bn in US investment had gone into the economy, he said.

“I predict to you if things continue to move in the right direction, [it] will more than triple,” he said. “There are scores of major American corporations wanting to come here, wanting to invest.

“It is up to us to keep this going, keep going in the work that has been done every day for the last 25 years.”

The DUP leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, welcomed Biden’s visit but said it “doesn’t change the political dynamic in Northern Ireland”.

He said: “I had a brief conversation with the president, and he made clear that it’s not his job, as we heard in his speech, to take decisions for political leaders in Northern Ireland.

“But the United States stands ready to support Northern Ireland in whatever way it can. So I welcome his visit here today – it’s good to see the president coming and we hope to see investment into Northern Ireland flowing from his efforts and those of his special envoy.”

Speaking at Ulster University in Belfast, Biden – citing the cyber and tech industries, green energy and young entrepreneurs – said the opportunities for Northern Ireland to lift itself into becoming a major part of the UK economy were “incredible”.

He urged political leaders to “sustain the peace”, promising it would “unleash this incredible economic opportunity”.

Biden’s special economic envoy for Northern Ireland, Joe Kennedy III, would be heading a trade delegation to the region “maybe later this year” to “supercharge” a new wave of investment, Biden promised.

He urged the DUP to return to power-sharing arrangements at Stormont and said an “effective devolved government … is going to draw even greater opportunity in this region”.

Kennedy later told reporters that US corporations always sought stability as a prerequisite for investment.

Biden said: “I hope the assembly and the executive will soon be restored.” Cautious not to be seen as interfering, he quickly added: “That is a judgment for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens.”

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He told the audience that he was part-English by birth but he swerved commentary over any alleged pro-nationalist bias.

Donaldson was seen beaming while having convivial chats with Kennedy and later on an informal walkabout with Biden.

He said restoration of power sharing would only happen if the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, took steps to remove the remaining Brexit barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Sunak missed Biden’s speech in order to visit a senior PSNI officer who was shot in Northern Ireland earlier this year. Sunak is understood to have met DCI John Caldwell and his family at a hospital in the north-west. The PSNI described it as a “private visit” and would not comment.

Earlier, one of Biden’s senior aides was forced to deny that the president was “anti-British” after accusations by the former DUP leader Arlene Foster that the US president “hates the UK”.

The party’s chief whip, Sammy Wilson, when asked about Biden’s visit, said his party would “not be bought”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme, the MP for East Antrim said: “On one hand, he [Biden] says he’s here to help the peace process and the Good Friday agreement; on the other hand he has done his best to undermine the Good Friday agreement and its institutions, and indeed his backing of the EU against the UK government, trying to force [the] UK government into a corner to accept EU interference in Northern Ireland, has not helped the process and has led to the collapse of the institutions.”

The atmosphere at Ulster University was reverent and jovial, with the president working the room and posing for selfies and handshakes with party leaders after his speech.

Doug Beattie, the head of the Ulster Unionist party, and Colum Eastwood, the leader of the SDLP, said Biden had spoken to them about the economic opportunities in their private conversations, underlining the message from the US.

Time was also set aside for the Northern Irish actor James Martin, who became the first person with Down’s syndrome to have the leading role in an Oscar-winning movie, after starring in the short film An Irish Goodbye.



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'That One Deal Made Me A Millionaire': Former Airline Pilot Ryan Tseko Reveals His Investing Strategy That Anyone Can Follow – Yahoo Finance




For years, the wealthiest investors and institutions have enjoyed exclusive access to lucrative investment opportunities, leaving retail investors with limited choices.

Hedge funds like William Harnisch’s Peconic Partners and Michael Burry’s Scion Asset Management produced total returns of 191.5% and 159.79%, respectively, over the past three years. The minimum investment required to participate in funds like these often ranges from $500,000 to $1 million.

Retail investors, on the other hand, have typically been confined to index funds like the Fidelity 500 Index Fund or Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral, which track the S&P 500. While the 44% returns these funds have generated over the past three years are considered impressive by most standards, they pale in comparison to those investment funds reserved for the elite.


Former airline pilot Ryan Tseko, who is now executive vice president of Cardone Capital, understands firsthand the transformative power of gaining access to the same assets as the wealthiest investors.

From Airline Pilot To Real Estate Millionaire

Tseko fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a commercial pilot when he was 21 years old, landing a job at United Airlines’ United Express and moving his way up to becoming lead captain at Jet Aviation flying the Gulfstream G550.

Tseko told Benzinga, “I loved being a pilot, but it’s not the high-paying job many people think it is. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it would be nearly impossible to build wealth just by saving and investing in the company’s 401(k) plan.”

Motivated to take control of his financial future, Tseko turned to real estate as a means of generating passive income and securing his financial freedom.

Working diligently alongside his career as a pilot, Tseko successfully built a small real estate portfolio using the income he earned. “I wanted to be doing bigger deals, but the single-family and one- to four-unit properties were all I could afford.”

Tseko soon discovered that scaling and managing the portfolio while maintaining a full-time job posed significant challenges. “I would just be getting back home from a long trip then have to go pick up rent checks and deal with maintenance issues,” he said.

Seeking inspiration, he began following renowned real estate investor Grant Cardone, whose investments aligned with his aspirations.

“I saw what Grant was doing, and knew I needed to invest in the same deals that he was,” Tseko said. With some persistence, he managed to land an opportunity to invest in a deal with Cardone.

“As soon as Grant said I could invest with him, I called my real estate broker and told him to sell the whole portfolio. I ended up with about $400,000 after taxes and put it all into Grant’s deal. About 36 months later he sold the property and cut me a check for $1.1 million. That one deal made me a millionaire.”

Witnessing firsthand the life-changing impact of investing in the right opportunities, Tseko teamed up with Cardone to help make these assets available to other people in similar situations.

The timing couldn’t have been better. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2017 had recently passed, making it possible for Cardone Capital to accept investments from non-accredited investors through Regulation A+ offerings.

“People deserve to be able to invest in these assets,” Tseko said. “All of us start out as non-accredited investors. The thing that gets us to become accredited is typically the investments we make with our money. To me, it seemed completely backward. These large institutional-quality real estate deals have only been available to the ultra-high net worth and institutions.”

Cardone Capital has deployed more than $130 million raised through its Regulation A+ offerings into multiple class A properties.

Follow Ryan Tseko on Instagram for more on real estate and aviation.

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This article ‘That One Deal Made Me A Millionaire’: Former Airline Pilot Ryan Tseko Reveals His Investing Strategy That Anyone Can Follow originally appeared on


© 2023 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The family office for Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey backs French rival to Microsoft Excel – CNBC




In this article

The logo of the spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel is shown on the display of a smartphone.
Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | Getty Images

French business planning software startup Pigment has raised $88 million in a funding round led by ICONIQ, the private investment fund that manages the money of tech billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey.

Pigment is best known for its business planning and forecasting platform that’s designed to be more user-friendly than Microsoft’s spreadsheet software Excel.


The company, co-founded and helmed by dual CEOs Eleonore Crespo and Romain Niccoli, told CNBC it planned to use the funding to expand its reach in the U.S. and artificial intelligence.

Venture capital firms Felix Capital, Meritech, IVP, and FirstMark also participated in the funding round.

Pigment counts the likes of Klarna, Miro and Tommy Hilfiger owner PVH as its customers.

The company’s tools are mainly used by finance teams to plan and make financial and business decisions. As well as Microsoft, Pigment also views enterprise software tools from giants like Google, SAP and Oracle as rivals.

Crespo said that, in 2022, Pigment grew its revenues by 600% and its total user base increased tenfold — and insisted it was well positioned to compete with behemoth incumbent Microsoft.

“We not only have users in the finance team but outside of finance, and that’s super interesting for investors to hear that we are not a finance platform but a business database that can serve any business leader out there from HR to sales to marketing, to R&D [research and development],” she said.

“We are here to sell [to] any business leader. And not only that, but they have heard from their portfolio companies that we managed to serve the most forward-looking companies out there.”

Pigment also plans to use the latest influx of money to invest in the development of AI products.

It introduced a new service called Pigment AI last month, on the heels of heightened buzz surrounding AI and products like ChatGPT, which lets clients query data, identify patterns and automate analysis and reporting.

Crespo said there are no plans to increase headcount substantially and Pigment was instead looking to grow in a more sustainable way, given the pressure from investors on businesses to achieve profitability in favor of breakneck growth.

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund just reshaped pro golf. It’s not stopping there



Saudi Arabia’s mountain of cash has upended the world of professional golf. But that is only a small sliver of the money it is sinking into a number of prominent businesses elsewhere around the globe as the kingdom moves to diversify away from a dependence on oil income – and as the petro-kingdom tries to achieve its political goals.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund is a government-controlled fund that has $650 billion in assets under management, according to its most recent filing. It is aiming to top $1 trillion within a few years. A state-owned investment fund like the PIF is not unique. It is ranked only the seventh-largest in the world, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

While some of those are pension funds for a country’s citizens or public employees, others, like the PIF, operate the way a private sector investment firm might, trying to make money through a diversified portfolio of investments.

But what makes Saudi Arabia’s fund different from those private investment firms is that since the country faces widespread condemnation for its human rights record, its investments in sports and other entertainment companies can be seen as an attempt to polish that tarnished reputation.


The PIF’s creation of LIV Golf a year ago, reportedly at a cost of $2 billion, attracted many of the sport’s top players away from the US-based PGA Tour and Europe-based DP World Tour by offering big dollar prize money. It led to a year-long legal battle that banned LIV golfers from the established tours and brought some unwanted attention to Saudi’s human rights record. Critics of LIV Golf accused the Saudis of backing the new tour as a form of “sportswashing” its reputation.

But the legal battles, acrimony and competition for the best golfers between LIV and the PGA and DP World Tour suddenly ended Tuesday with the announcement that the three would form a combined for-profit company. The PIF plans to make undisclosed additional investments into the entity.

Soccer, video games and other investments

The chairman of the new golf series will be the chairman of state-owned petroleum company Saudi Aramco, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who also controls English soccer team Newcastle United and is himself a governor of the PIF.

The Saudis have also been throwing big dollars at some of the world’s best known soccer players, wooing legends such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to play in Saudi Pro League.

The investment in sports is not a vanity play, according to Al-Rumayyan.

“It all makes financial sense to us. We don’t like to subsidize things,” he said on an interview on CNBC Tuesday announcing the deal with the PGA.

But whether the Saudis’ investments are driven by a desire for profits or good publicity, what’s clear is that pro sports are not the only place where the Saudis are flexing their financial might.

For example, it has a total of $7.5 billion in investments in several leading video game companies, according to its most recent filing, giving it a 9% stake in Electronic Arts

, a 7% stake in Take-Two Interactive and nearly a 5% stake in Activision Blizzard

. It also owns more than 5% of Live Nation

, the concert promoter and owner of Ticketmaster, and significant stakes worth hundreds of millions each in cruiser operator Carnival Corp

., Uber

and Zoom


Its biggest US investment is in upstart electric vehicle maker Lucid

. The PIF owns 60% of Lucid

’s stock, worth $7.6 billion as of Tuesday’s close. Lucid

recently announced the PIF would invest another $1.8 billion in the company to help fund its operations.

In 2018 when Elon Musk was thinking about taking Tesla

private, he sought funding from the PIF, which already had a stake in Tesla

at that time. It no longer lists Tesla

as one of its holdings. But last year it helped Musk with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter by agreeing to roll over its existing $1.9 billion investment in the social media platform to the new Musk-controlled company.

LIV Golf and PGA Tour merger: here’s everything you need to know


Not all of the PIF investments have been publicly disclosed. For example it’s not clear exactly how much it invested to start up LIV Golf. And the Washington Post has reported that it invested $2 billion into a private equity firm created by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, soon after Kushner left his position in the White House in January of 2021. CNN has not been able to confirm that report, but what is known is that LIV Golf tournaments have been held on Trump Organization properties.

Saudi Arabia and human rights criticisms

Many of these investments, including the creation of LIV Golf, have sparked controversy.

The PIF is chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Bin Salman is the man a US intelligence report names as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s killing.

In addition, the US State Department says the Kingdom’s dismal human rights record includes free speech restrictions, torture, political prisoners and enforced disappearances.

And families of some of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack decried the news of the LIV-PGA agreement Tuesday. Some have accused the Saudi government of complicity with those attacks. Fifteen of the 19 al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks. The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 that it had found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al Qaeda.

– CNN’s Coy Wire, Jack Bantock and Steve Almasy contributed to this report



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