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Bloomberg's Investment Portfolio Includes Bets on Private Equity, Fracking – The Intercept

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Little is known about Mike Bloomberg’s personal investments. The billionaire, former mayor of New York City, and now presidential candidate has attracted speculation about the sources of his wealth. A trail of documents provides a partial view about his history of investments.

The Intercept has identified a number of firms that have been backed by Bloomberg over the years. The billionaire has not only invested his money in the oil and gas, insurance, and consumer finance sectors, but has also backed Sycamore Partners, a controversial private-equity firm known for buying out and downsizing retailers.

Bloomberg, with an estimated net worth of around $65 billion, acquired much of his fortune through his majority ownership of Bloomberg LP, the software and media company he co-founded. But, after his decision to run for president last November, he has put off efforts to reveal his own investment portfolio.

In January, Bloomberg obtained a delay to file his mandatory ethics disclosure as a presidential candidate, which provides a basic range for his income, debts, transactions, and wealth. He will not file until March 20, well after voters in over half the states have gone to the polls. Bloomberg has also not yet released his tax returns, as all other leading Democratic candidates have done.

“The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can’t go to TurboTax,” shrugged Bloomberg, when asked during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas on February 19 about the delays in releasing his tax returns.

Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic wealth is managed by a company called Willett Advisors LLC, which is overseen by Steven Rattner, an investment manager and frequent television pundit. “Michael R. Bloomberg is the sole, ultimate beneficial owner of Willett,” notes one Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Willett Advisors provides almost no information on its website. Neither Rattner nor the Bloomberg campaign responded to requests for comment. But public statements by Rattner and other officials at Willett Advisors hint at his company’s investment strategy.

“We are natural gas bulls. We think oil is well priced. If we can generate new supplies at a discount to the spot price, we will do it,” Brad Briner, a senior level investment manager at Willett Advisors, told an investment trade publication in 2013.

During a conference hosted by the Export-Import Bank, in 2015, Rattner discussed his company’s investments in the oil and gas sector, noting that he’s taken “some investments in North Dakota and other places like that.”

Later that year, Rattner noted during an appearance on Bloomberg TV that he continues to invest in the oil and gas sector. “Well, we invest a lot in the energy sector, so we have a dog in this fight, and we have been — we’ve certainly been on the more bullish side of the argument on oil and continue to be,” said Rattner.

Willett Advisors has continued to invest in oil and gas at least through last year.

White Star Petroleum, a privately held Oklahoma firm that uses hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas, was owned in part by Bloomberg.

The ownership stake was only disclosed by court order when, last May, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Disclosures show that Willett Advisors, Bloomberg’s family wealth fund, owned an equity stake in the fracking firm. The disclosure lists Briner, the Willett Advisors executive, as the contact at the firm. Willett Advisors funds owned a 6.4 percent stake in White Star, assets of which were valued at up to $1 billion when the firm declared bankruptcy last summer.

White Star Petroleum was founded by the late Aubrey McClendon, a controversial billionaire known as the “Fracking King” for his role in pioneering the drilling method. McClendon died in a car crash in 2016. The company has been accused of producing air pollution, including leaking plumes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Residents in Oklahoma have also accused the firm of contributing to a wave of fracking-fueled earthquakes near Cushing.

Bloomberg’s involvement with the private-equity firm Sycamore Partners is evident through a cache of Cayman Islands documents from Appleby, a leading offshore law firm. Sycamore Partners has been accused of hollowing out the retail sector by taking control of companies, then aggressively downsizing them and loading them with debt. The Center for Popular Democracy notes in a recent report that retail firms acquired by Sycamore Partners have laid off nearly 20,000 workers in recent years.

When, in 2014, Sycamore Partners sought to raise cash for a new fund, the company turned to several titans of Wall Street and various institutional investors. The company also tapped Bloomberg’s personal fortune, raising money from the former New York City mayor.

The files were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which provided a copy to The Intercept. The documents show that Sycamore Partners raised $136 million from three Bloomberg wealth funds associated with Willett Advisors.

“The firm is known for its ruthless approach to its leveraged buyouts, which have often led to the firm separating companies like Staples and Hot Topic into different pieces and selling the most valuable ones, while draining whatever remains of most of its value, as in the case of Nine West Holdings,” noted journalist Chanel Fernandez in the Business of Fashion.

Last week, Sycamore Partners acquired a controlling stake in Victoria’s Secret, the lingerie brand formerly owned by Leslie H. Wexner, the retail chief executive who has faced growing scrutiny over his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Sycamore Partners did not respond to a request for comment.

Other Bloomberg investments include Metro Bank, a consumer bank based in London, and FGL Holdings, a Cayman Islands-based holding company that offers life insurance policies. SEC filings show that in 2018 Bloomberg family wealth funds owned around 4.4 million shares in FGL. British regulatory filings show that Bloomberg owned a 2.7 percent stake in Metro Bank.

In 2010, journalist Aram Roston found that Bloomberg’s foundation invested in a series of international funds, including hedge funds based in offshore tax havens and Geotech Oil Services, a Cyprus-based oil services company controlled by Russian oligarch Nikolai Levitsky.

When asked about the offshore investments, Bloomberg dismissed the story. The funds, he noted in 2010, were “fully disclosed and they’re appropriate to maximize the assets which I’m giving away to charities.”

“You can’t invest without investing around the world; you can’t have a business without doing business around the world,” said Bloomberg, then serving in his third term as New York City mayor.

But far from full disclosure, after the story, Bloomberg’s philanthropy began using a byzantine structure that concealed the ultimate destination of his investment funds.

The latest tax return, filed in 2017, for the Bloomberg Family Foundation shows Willett Advisors investing through corporate entities with opaque names such as “10413 Investment Holdings LLC” and “20213 Investment Holdings,” with no information about how the funds are used.

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Time to sell? How to manage your investment property as interest rates rise – Financial Post

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There are a few key things that owners should consider to decide if their investment is worthwhile

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Inflation is up more than 8%, the highest yearly change in almost four decades, according to Statistics Canada. And in a scramble to bring that inflation rate down, the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark rate to the highest amount since 1998: 2.5 per cent.

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The hope is that inflation gets back to a normal two per cent by 2024. For borrowers with fixed mortgage rates, they would have locked in a certain interest rate when they purchased their property. For variable-rate mortgages, the interest rate that the borrower pays is tied to the central bank’s inflation rate.

Canadian borrowers are dealing with a five-year fixed rate of around 4.5 to 5.5 per cent. Variable rates are in the 3.8 to 4.5 per cent range. And rates are at least two per cent higher than a year ago.

Now that the days of easy money are a distant memory, real estate investors affected by higher interest rates may have to adjust behaviours in order to maintain a positive cash flow—or at least break even during this difficult time.

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Remember, real estate is a long game

Big real estate investors, such as developers, buy properties to hold for years, through many up and down cycles.

“My views are that if you are going to invest you should be a long-term holder,” says developer Gino Nonni of Nonni Property Group.

“I don’t know how often you can buy something and then turn around and make a substantial profit in a short period of time. At minimum, mom and pop investors pay their mortgage down and typically the value of the asset will go up.”

He believes the shortage of land will always constrain supply and put pressure on prices. The result is a secure, long-term investment.

“That’s the way I view it, and that’s what I tell my friends when they ask. I tell them to always hold.”

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Put your investment in perspective

Millennial broker Jacky Chan, president of BakerWest Real Estate, has been investing in real estate his entire adult life. He prefers real estate to other investments because it’s less volatile, and with the world’s population growing by about 80 million people a year, people are always going to need a place to live. Prices may slow down, but overall they go up.

“The faster an investment moves, the closer you need to monitor it, especially with the recent hype of NFTs and cryptocurrency,” says Chan. “But look at any real estate market in the world with a growing population, and it was definitely cheaper 50 years ago than it is today.”

Two things matter in real estate investment, says Chan: positive cash flow and appreciation. If the investor isn’t over-leveraged by too much debt, they should maintain a long-term outlook and not get spooked by interest rate hikes.

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If you own a $1 million property and have a $500,000 mortgage at five per cent, you are, in simple terms, looking at $25,000 interest per year.

If the property increases by five per cent in a year on the $1 million investment, that’s an increase of $50,000, so the owner has a net positive of $25,000.

“Even though the rate has gone up, the real estate value is still increasing.”

When things are getting tight

Let’s say you purchased a condo to live in, and purchased another as an investment. With interest rates climbing, what happens if you took out a variable rate mortgage and the rent isn’t covering the higher mortgage payment? Mortgage advisor Alex McFadyen, of Thrive Mortgage, saw a lot of people buy second properties in the last couple of years, and they might now find themselves stretched. All experts will tell you that selling off the property should be a last resort, but how do you avoid that when costs are mounting?

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“Ask yourself if the property itself is really underwater, or are there expenses we can remove or eliminate?” says McFadyen. “That’s the first thing we determine.”

He gets his clients to write down all their property expenses, including management and maintenance fees, taxes, utilities, and any upcoming repairs on the home. If it’s a primary property that’s causing them stress, then he asks them to write out a cash flow budget spreadsheet to see what’s coming in and going out. McFadyen finds that the main culprit for expenses is often a car loan or credit card debt, or — more commonly these days — travel debt. Cut those debts and throw that money at your mortgage instead, he advises.

Take control of the situation

If expenses are truly unmanageable, McFadyen advises that clients consider consolidating debts with a loan, such as the possibility of taking out a second mortgage or home equity line of credit(HELOC) to get it under control. He predicts consolidation will be a “massive trend” in the next 12 months.

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“I ask my clients, ‘are you able to sleep at night right now?’ If someone isn’t able to effectively get out of debt, what is the downside of setting yourself up with a second mortgage or HELOC to help things?”

McFayden has a client who owes nearly $75,000, which caused their credit score to go down to the low 500s (a good score should stay above 650). By consolidating their debt, it became a more manageable single payment instead of several payments that were only covering the interest owed. The key thing is to do it before you’re drowning in debt.

Restructure for bumpy times

Long term, everyone agrees that real estate will go up in value, so do what it takes to get through the interim.

McFadyen is helping some of his clients to re-amortize their 20-year mortgages to 30 years, for example. With a longer amortization period, the clients have reduced monthly payments, which helpsto reduce expenses and eliminate payment shock.

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McFayden also advises mortgage holders coming up for renewal to consider a refinance option and lock into a one- or two-year mortgage, until rates settle down. If historical trends are an indicator, we are near the peak, he says. A lot of his clients are taking that approach because there is good value in short-term mortgages, if rates do come back down as expected. That means the borrower isn’t locked in at a higher rate. Additionally, they don’t face a huge penalty, if they do want to take advantage of lower rates.

“We’ve seen folks worried about rising mortgage payments and we’ve helped them lock into short terms, to stem the tide,” says McFadyen.

But also, know when to sell

That said, when a person is over-leveraged, with negative cash flow and sleepless nights, then it could be time to sell that investment property. You’ve got to think about your mental health, advises McFadyen.

“If you are significantly underwater and it’s not only impacting your quality of life and there are no options to re-amortize or consolidate debt, and you can’t afford to make payments and it’s impacting your quality of life, and if the property also has upcoming expenses, then we would recommend letting it go,” he says. “If they are in so much stress and they have the ability to get out from under it, they should consider it as a last resort.”

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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FXM VENTURE – Offers News Investment Platform – GlobeNewswire

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Glasgow, Scotland, Aug. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With the intention of being one of the top investment platforms for investors of all stripes, FXM Venture was established in July of 2020. FXM has been extending its impact to adjacent nations thanks to the vision and leadership of its core members.

BACKGROUND OF FXM VENTURE

Ten significant individuals were involved in the founding and early development of FXM Venture, with the goal of establishing this investment fund’s brand on a global scale. And today, 100 members work in 6 transnational branches and continue their tradition. In addition to being directed and run by professionals with decades of expertise in a variety of sectors, including finance, investing, marketing, and technology, FMX is also run by vital departments like: customer service personnel, technical staff,…

Additionally, in just two years (starting in July 2020), FMX has called for a total investment of 8 million USD.

HOW DOES FXM VENTURE WORK?

For both long- and short-term traders, funding rates are regular payments. Investors are free to select a transaction based on their financial situation and liquidity. Users can, in particular, withdraw money at any moment and get interest.

At FXM Venture, we have experienced traders in both Forex and Cryptocurrencies allowing us to build a stable financial foundation to increase the returns of our investors.

FXM also has AI technology in trading approaches to Real-time forecasts of hundreds of scenarios, execution strategies, and commercial alliances, in addition to our research, market neutral algorithms by monitoring market movements and building trading algorithms. Our primary goal is to establish a win-win relationship between the customer and the firm, in which FXM Venture develops specific investment plans and strategies, while investors can then choose suitable investment packages, together with FXM consider and select specific investment plans.

ORIENTATIONS AND VISIONS

By expanding its operations and financial system in 2022, FXM aims to become one of the best legitimate funds in the world. To that end, 4 additional branches will be opened, and recruiting efforts will be stepped up to reach our target of 200 members.

In terms of financing, FXM VENTURE’s aim is to raise our fund up to $15 million.. Aside from that, FXM equips you with the resources you need to be completely confident in your investment decisions. Furthermore, you may invest with FXM with complete confidence because here are what make FXM different:

  • TRANSPARENT TRANSACTIONS
  • MULTI-ASSET PLATFORM
  • PROFESSIONAL TRADER TEAM
  • AI TECHNOLOGY
  • SECURED DEPOSITS AND WITHDRAWALS
  • 24/7 CUSTOMER SUPPORT SERVICE
  • LIVE TRADING

FXM does not intend to stop at satisfying almost 30,000 customers who have been using services and investing in FXM (with a customer satisfaction rate of 78% and a customer return rate of 85%), FXM is as complete as possible with the goal of increasing the number of clients to 50,000 in the next quarter with a satisfaction level of over 90%.

PACKAGES AND REFERRAL

Visit the website for more information

And also, Remember to refer friends to be rewarded with $25 for every friend who joins and registers at least one package — with no cap on the number of people you can refer, and gain matching income on their profits: F1 (10%), F2 (5%), F3 (3%), F4 (2%).

Media details:

Company Name: FXM Venture

Email:contact@fxmventure.com

City: Glasgow

Country: Scotland

Website: https://fxmventure.com

Telegram group: https://t.me/fxmventure_official_chat

Telegram channel: https://t.me/fxmventure_official_channel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FxmVenture

There is no offer to sell, no solicitation of an offer to buy, nor a recommendation of any securities or any other products or services. Furthermore, nothing in this PR should be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment or security, or to engage in any investment strategy or transaction. It is your responsibility to determine whether any investment, investment strategy, security or related transaction is suitable for you based on your investment objectives, financial situation and risk tolerance. Please consult your business advisor, attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific business, legal or tax situation.

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PepsiCo Makes $550 Million Celsius Investment As Hip Hop Mogul Sues For His Shares – Forbes

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PepsiCo
PEP
has its sights on gaining a bigger share of the energy drink with a $550 million investment in Celsius Holdings. The energy drink maker is also at the center of a lawsuit between Russell Simmons and his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons along with her husband Tim Leissner, as he tries to retrieve his shares in Celsius back from them. Allegedly Kimora Lee and Leissner transferred and were using his shares of Celsius as collateral to pay a bond in connection with these criminal charges. Leissner already pleaded guilty, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million for his role in the Malaysia 1MDB scandal that cost Goldman more than $3 billion. Simmons alleges that his shares of Celsius are being used as collateral to pay a bond in connection with these criminal charges.

The Breakdown You Need To Know:

Celsius recorded a first-quarter domestic revenue increase of 217% to $123.5 million and the long-term distribution deal gives Pepsi a minority stake of about 8.5%. The brand, which doesn’t use artificial preservatives or sugar, adds to PepsiCo’s energy drink portfolio, which already includes Rockstar as well as Mountain Dew drinks Amp, Game Fuel, and Kickstart. CultureBanx reported that with these types of returns it’s easy to see why Simmons wants his shares back from the couple.

Quick Recap on how these three people ended up in this situation. Goldman Sachs
GS
last year agreed to pay the Malaysian government $3.1 billion, to settle claims in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund. One of the main people who got the bank involved in this scandal was Kimora Lee’s Simmons husband Tim Leissner.

The bank swiftly parted ways with him after his shady dealings with Jho Low came to light. In November 2018, when Leissner agreed to pay $43.7 million toward victim compensation, it was in order to avoid jail time.

In his claim, Simmons says Kimora and Leissner “knew full well that Leissner would need tens of millions of dollars to avoid jail time, stay out on bail, and forfeit monies for victim compensation.” Simmons claims they used their Celsius shares as collateral for Leissner’s bail, and he wants his shares returned.

Now Russell wants no financial part in keeping Leissner out of jail. In a letter sent to his ex-wife Kimora Lee on May 5, 2021, he was pleading with her to do the right thing and avoid a lawsuit. He wrote that “I am shocked and saddened to see how your side has behaved in response to my repeated attempts to get an agreement from you to rightfully and legally reaffirm my 50% of the Celsius shares..which have been locked up with the government after being used for your husband’s bail money.”

What’s Next:

A representative for Kimora Lee said “Kimora and her children are shocked by the extortive harassment coming from her ex-husband, Russell Simmons, who has decided to sue her for shares and dividends of Celsius stock in which Kimora and Tim Leissner invested millions of dollars.” At this point Russell is asking a judge for damages against Kimora and Leissner and believes he should be awarded restitution for interest and equal value for the wrongfully obtained shares.

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