Nation of Rentiers?

Monopolies Alone Don’t Explain Why Stocks Soar There are many reasons share prices can outpace U.S. economic growth. Bloomberg, February 23, 2018     Is America becoming a nation of price-fixing, monopolistic rent extractors? That is the question raised recently in a working paper by a trio of researchers at Brown University. This question is also working its way… Read More The post Nation of Rentiers? appeared first on The Big Picture.

Friday links: returns not promised

U.S. fund I Squared expresses interest for Telecom Italia’s Persidera unit, say sources: Reuters

A sole non-binding expression of interest for Telecom Italia’s (TLIT.MI) majority-owned broadcasting unit Persidera unit came from U.S.-based infrastructure fund I Squared Capital, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. One of the sources had said previously that the non-binding expression of interest valued the unit at 290 million euros ($356.6 million). I Squared could not immediately be reached for comment.

Z Capital announces promotions

Z Capital has made a number of promotions to its private equity investment and operations team. They include Matthew Kane, Neal Nath and Pascale Thomas, who are now all managing directors and Ian Delehanty, who has become a director. Also, Conor O’Grady is now managing director and head of private equity reporting. PRESS RELEASE NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Z Capital Group, L.L.C. (“Z Capital”), a leading alternative asset manager focused on opportunistic, value-oriented private equity and credit funds, today announced the following promotions and addition across Z Capital’s Private Equity Investment and Operations teams. Stephen Parsons, has been added to the Management Committee as an ad hoc member. Since joining Z Capital in 2016, Mr. Parsons has served as an Operating Partner, assisting in the management and oversight of portfolio company initiatives, including leading the development and implementation of human capital strategies across
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President and CEO of PE-backed Art Van Furniture to retire

Kim Yost, president and CEO of Warren, Michigan-based Art Van Furniture, a furniture and mattress retailer, is planning on retiring. Yost will stay with the company until a successor is named. Art Van Furniture is backed by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. PRESS RELEASE WARREN, Mich., Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Art Van Furniture (“Art Van” or “the company”) President and CEO Kim Yost today announced plans to retire after nine years with the company. In order to ensure a seamless leadership transition, Mr. Yost will maintain his current role until a successor has been appointed. Art Van has commenced a process to identify and evaluate candidates for the President and CEO position. “I am very proud of what the company and its associates have achieved during our time together over the past nine years – growing from $350 million to over $1.3 billion in sales,
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Fire-Torn Northern California Becomes ‘Living Lab’ for Microgrids

When Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery looked to build out a new property in the Mayacamas Mountains straddling Napa and Sonoma counties, the owners found themselves in a multimillion-dollar quandary. 

The secluded spot made it an excellent site for a vineyard, but it would cost Pacific Gas & Electric a lot of money to run the 480-volt 3-phase power lines to the property to run the necessary winery equipment. In order to make it work, Mac and Leslie McQuown had to find a more economical way. 

Stone Edge isn&rsquo;t the typical farm. It&rsquo;s a 16-acre property that uses 10 different kinds of inverters, a fuel-cell &ldquo;hive,&rdquo; and seven battery systems, with another on the way. The property was recently in the news for its <a href="" >microgrid system</a> that held up <a href="">during the devastating fires</a> in Northern California. In January, the microgrid project <a href="" >won</a> a Governor&rsquo;s Environmental and <div class="post-limited-image"><img src="" border="0"></div>
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Links for 02-23-18

Paul Krugman: Nasty, Brutish and Trump

"there’s a faction in our country that sees public action for the public good, no matter how justified, as part of a conspiracy to destroy our freedom":
Nasty, Brutish and Trump, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: On Wednesday, after listening to the heart-rending stories of those who lost children and friends in the Parkland school shooting — while holding a cue card with empathetic-sounding phrases — Donald Trump proposed his answer: arming schoolteachers.
It says something about the state of our national discourse that this wasn’t even among the vilest, stupidest reactions to the atrocity. No, those honors go to the assertions by many conservative figures that bereaved students were being manipulated by sinister forces, or even that they were paid actors.
Still, Trump’s horrible idea, taken straight from the N.R.A. playbook, was deeply revealing...
To see why, consider the very case often used to illustrate how
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Economic Fluctuations and Growth Research Meeting

I am here today:
Economic Fluctuations and Growth Research Meeting
Andrew Atkeson and Monika Piazzesi, Organizers
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
February 23, 2018 Friday, February 23 9:00 am
Fatih Guvenen, University of Minnesota and NBER
Gueorgui Kambourov, University of Toronto
Burhanettin Kuruscu, University of Toronto
Sergio Ocampo-Diaz, University of Minnesota
Daphne Chen, Florida State University
Use It Or Lose It: Efficiency Gains from Wealth Taxation
Discussant: Roger H. Gordon, University of California at San Diego and NBER 10:15 am
Matteo Maggiori, Harvard University and NBER
Brent Neiman, University of Chicago and NBER
Jesse Schreger, Columbia University and NBER
International Currencies and Capital Allocation
Discussant: Harald Uhlig, University of Chicago and NBER 11:30 am
Katarína Borovičková, New York University
Robert Shimer, University of Chicago and NBER
High Wage Workers Work for High Wage Firms
Discussant: Isaac Sorkin, Stanford University and NBER 1:30 pm
Marcus Hagedorn, University of Oslo
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Trade Desk Soars 23%: ‘The Size of the Opportunity is Humongous’ Says CEO

Jeff Green, chief executive of recently public The Trade Desk, which traffics in technology for placing ads "programmatically," waxes enthusiastic in an interview with Barron's about the $700 billion global advertising opportunity. Bulls such as Youssef Squali at SunTrust are equally convinced the opportunity is "humongous," as Green puts it. The stock is up 23% after the company's better-than-expected Q4 report Thursday afternoon.

Podcast links: CEO departures

Foresight exits stake in ICA Digital

Foresight Group has sold its stake in UK-based ICA Digital, a managed print services business. ICA’s buyer is ASL Group, a portfolio company of Mobeus Equity Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. PRESS RELEASE LONDON, 23 February 2018: Foresight Group (“Foresight”) has sold its investment in ICA Digital (“ICA”), realising a 2.4x return, through a trade sale to ASL Group. Foresight originally invested £2 million to fund the management buyout of ICA Digital, a managed print services business based in Horley, UK. During the course of the investment, Foresight supported management to execute a focused sales strategy, in particular developing high-margin contracted service revenues. ICA will continue to offer the high quality of service to its customers across the south east of England, working with the experienced senior team at Cambridge-based ASL Group. This marks the first exit in 2018 for Foresight, following a year during which the
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Founder of private equity firm Abraaj steps down from day-to-day control of fund: Reuters

Arif Naqvi, the founder of Dubai-based emerging markets private equity fund, Abraaj Group, has handed the running of the fund to two co-chief executives and halted investments during a review of the structure of the business. The reorganisation comes weeks after Abraaj said it had hired global auditing firm KPMG to look into the finances of its healthcare fund after a reported dispute with some its investors in the fund. Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu were appointed as co-chief executive officers of the fund management business, Abraaj Investment Management Limited, a statement from the firm said, adding that they would take over with immediate effect from Naqvi, who founded Abraaj in 2002. The group said Naqvi has passed the reins of the fund management entity to the co-chief executives in order to further grow the business. Abraaj said it had commissioned a comprehensive review of its corporate structure
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Tech Today: Buy Nvidia’s Crypto, Two Hewletts Rising, Stop Shorting Applied Opto

Both Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP inc. are rising after upbeat reports Thursday, two startups, The Trade Desk and Appian delivered nice results, Nvidia and AMD have good prospects in both gaming and crypto-currency use, says Merrill Lynch, identity manager Okta gets a new fan at Deutsche Bank, Yahoo!'s Altaba offspring is too cheap relative to those Asian assets, the easy money is over with struggling fiber-optic name Applied Optoelectronics, says its most devoted short seller, while the pain continues for fiber name Acacia Communications, Western Digital has good prospects, says Stifel, and Universal Display, the maker of OLED technology, is plunging after its year outlook disappointed, though it has plenty of defenders.

Funding Friday: The L-Ternative Bridge

Every day 300,000 people take the L train to and from work. I am not sure if that is 300,000 people or 150,000 people going in and out, but either way, it’s a lot of people. And the MTA is going to shut down the L train for 15 months, starting in April 2019. So this is a big deal for NYC, and a big deal for NYC tech companies. In an informal and unscientific poll I took this week of NYC tech company CEOs, about 20-25% of the employees of NYC tech companies in Manhattan take the L train to work. So how are these people going to commute for those 15 months (which is almost certainly going to take longer than 15 months)? The best answer I have heard from the NYC government is “more buses going over the Williamsburg bridge.” Which is an option but not
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