Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Media Mogul Invades Britania

  Liberty Global, John Malone's international media conglomerate, wants to buy Virgin Media.  This would be his biggest move into the UK. 
Will the deal work?   Liberty is loaded with debt.  Although Virgin Media is selling at a significant discount from comperable European media properties, Malone will have to pay a premium.  Will the price be a bridge too far?
In this February 4th video, Lex's Stuart Kirk and Nikki Tait discuss the financing of a potential buyout, and whether Virgin Media's shareholders see Liberty as a good enough suitor for the UK cable operator:

Fashion, Conglomerates, & Calvin Klein

French company PPR is a mix of things.  Is there any synergy between its businesses?  PPR's shares rose after it announced strong earnings, driven its luxury division, which includes brands such as Gucci and Bottega Veneta. The group's sport and lifestyle business – dominated by Puma – was less glittering with operating profit down 12 per cent.

In this video (2 minutes and 51 seconds) Lex's Nikki Tait and Oliver Ralph consider whether it's time for PPR to divest Puma:

In this February 15, 2013 video, Vanessa Friedman, the FT's fashion editor, speaks to Paul Thomas Murry, president of Calvin Klein about how couture fits into the business of running a global lifestyle brand. She also talks with Francisco Costa, women's creative director at Calvin Klein, about the new fall collection.

Danger: Low Returns Ahead

In this video James Mackintosh talks about his article, "Be prepared for future low returns," which appeared in the Financial Times on February 10th.  Low interest rates now mean lousy returns for both stocks and bonds.  This is based on work by three academics from the London School of Economics:  "Looking across 20 countries since 1900, Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of London Business School found a clear link between real interest rates and future returns."  Their research can be found in the Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2013. It is free.

Is Capitalism Moral? Is Wall Street Capitalism?

George Gilder has a new edition of his justly famous Wealth & Poverty. (Available in print form and audio book.)  I would argue that the case against capitalism is a failure of imagination.  Gilder goes a long way to address that void.

He makes the case that seeing capitalism as the blind pursuit of self interest is myopic.  Capitalism is moral in a way that socialism is not: the entrepreneur wants to help people and is utterly dependent on others. As Schumpeter stressed, greed is not what motivates entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs are the ones that make an economy dynamic.

It has been said that Gilder's book was the economic bible of the Regan revolution.  In this new edition, he addresses more recent phenomena such as the financial crisis.  Far from being entrepreneurial capitalism, he sees Wall Street as the corrupt collusion of big government and big finance. The financial crisis was the inevitable result of "the usurpation [by] crony capitalism of real capitalism."  He exponds his views in this interview that runs close to ten minutes:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Six High-Dividend Stocks With Upside Potential

On MarketWatch, Laura Mandaro discusses six stocks in the S&P 500 that currently pay a dividend yield in excess of four percentage points and sport market capitalizations greater than $10 billion and therefore are among hedge funds' favorites.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Yen's Down; the Nikkei's Up

The Nikkei 225 jumped nearly 4 per cent on Wednesday, Since the financial crisis, thaat is its tenth best day since the financial crisis. 

In this four minute, nine second video, the FT's investment editor, James Mackintosh, attributes this primarily to the weakening of the yen. 

Careful: the return recently in $s is not the same as that in ¥s.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Blankfein Is Bullish on the U.S. Economy & Stocks

Davos, Switzerland is where the world's fanciest people get together, network, and opine about the world.  

In this video, CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs chairman & CEO, discuss the global economic outlook. 
From the World Economic Forum:

Thursday, February 07, 2013

IT & Banks

What has IT got to Marketing?  Or banking for that matter?  With a bank, when you think infrastructure and operations, think IT.  
In this February 6th, 2013 video, Butch Leonardson, Boeing Employees' Credit Union's chief information officer, tells Paul Taylor, the FT's Connected Business editor, about the opportunities and challenges facing the CIO of this leading credit union, and how IT supports BECU's strategic objectives.  The video lasts 5 minutes and 17seconds.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Interview with Ford CEO Alan Mulally

Joshua Topolsky interviews Ford CEO Alan Mulally at Hotel on Rivington in New York City. They talk about Alan Mulally's time at Boeing, new alternative energy sources, and how space exploration inspired Mulally to become an engineer.

Alan Mullay on Successful Teams

In this Thirty Second MBA video, Alan Mullay tells what he learned about making successful teams: