Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Top 5 bad billionaires for the year 2008

Here at Think Billion$, we've been doing some thinking and serious research. The outcome of which is our First Annual "The Top 5 bad billionaires for the year 2008" list. How about that?

So here's the list and let us know what you think:

1. Jim Clark, the Silicon Graphics founder and serial entrepreneur for being bad in a good way!!?? It was discovered that Jim, 64, has inked Australian super-model Kristy Hinze, 28, to a term sheet as wife number four. You rascal, Jim. Best of luck to both of you from Think Billion$.

2. Donald Trump, for insisting he is still a billionaire, when he is not. And even suing the newspaper reporter for discovering it. Bad form Donald. Very bad.

3. Mark Cuban, for being Mark Cuban, for getting tangled up with the SEC and for thinking that he could buy the Chicago Cubs, and for being Mark Cuban.

4. Jerry Yang, for not maximizing Yahoo shareholder value while the money was on the damn table, Jerry!

5. Michael Bloomberg, for not respecting motherhood in the office and for appointing himself King of New York City.

Happy New Year to one and all!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jeff Bezos and Amazon Win the Holiday Season Again

Amazon and billionaire Jeff Bezos once again prove they know how to get business done and that they have a sustainable business model no matter what the macroeconomic conditions deliver.

Amazon once again added to its market share and has enjoyed a wonderful holiday season sales-wise. Amazon announced its 14th record holiday season, with 72.9 items ordered every second, up from 62.5 last year. Amazon has proven once again that what really counts is revenues and profits.

Congratulations to Jeff Bezos and the Amazon.com gang!

Friday, December 26, 2008

French L'Oreal billionaire Bettencourt takes a big financial hit from Madoff

The fortune of billionaire heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the world's richest woman, may have had significant investment exposure to Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff.

Liliane Bettencourt is the principal shareholder of L'Oreal, one of the world's leading cosmetics and beauty companies.

In an unrelated story, Bettencourt announced this month that: "... she would never see her daughter again as a family dispute over allegations that she had been abused by a photographer friend reached new depths."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bill Gates and friends go zoom zoom

Billionaire investors Bill Gates and Edward S. Lampert are increasing their stakes in AutoNation Inc.

According to recent filings with the SEC, the two investors have accumulated more than 57% of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based car dealer’s shares.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Casino billionaires crap out in Las Vegas

The casino empires are still in place for Nevada gaming moguls Sheldon Adelson and Kirk Kerkorian.

However, that doesn't mean both billionaires are going to have a Merry Christmas.

Forbes magazine has placed both Adelson and Kerkorian at number one and number four, respectively, on their list of America's Biggest Billionaire Losers Of 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Censorship of Nicole Buffett

Nicole Buffett, granddaughter of billionaire Warren Buffett, bumped up to #1 in popularity for several hours today on the Google Trends list. And, why not, Warren Buffett is #1 on his list too - it simply runs in the family.

So why all the interest in the young and pretty Nicole Buffett???

Well it is the story of her documentary appearance saying things that Warren Buffett simply didn't believe should be revealed or said by proper young ladies like Nicole. Warren even wrote her a letter! Nicole has said publicly that: “I’ve been very blessed to have my education taken care of, and I have had my living expenses taken care of while I’m in school”..... and other such things. Goodness.

According to Warren Buffett, Nicole must be the type of granddaughter that should be seen and not heard.

Mark Zuckerberg is now the formerly "Youngest Billionaire In World History"

Henry Blodget, in this week's Silicon Valley Insider, writes how Mark Zuckerberg, through no fault of his own, is now the guy who used to be the "Youngest Billionaire In World History."

According to the never-wrong Wikipedia, Forbes recently declared Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg "possibly the youngest self-made billionaire ever." That was before this year's stock market crash.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A billion dollar Ponzi scheme

When friends and family are gathered together for the holidays this month, one of the little children may come up to you and ask the following probing question:

"What's a Ponzi scheme?"

Since you visited the Think Billion$ blog today, you'll have the answer. Not only a answer, the answer, since it is an SEC approved answer.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission: "Ponzi schemes are a type of illegal pyramid scheme named for Charles Ponzi, who duped thousands of New England residents into investing in a postage stamp speculation scheme back in the 1920s."

So, that is the textbook definition of a Ponzi scheme. Not answered, of course, is why Bernard Madoff did it. Will we ever truly know?

Interestingly, billionaire bad boy Mark (Momma) Cuban, has repeatedly called the stock market a Ponzi scheme over the years.

Twice as interesting is the fact that both Bernie Madoff and Mark Cuban are now in trouble stock market-wise, SEC-wise and otherwise this year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dick Fuld 2.0

Dick Fuld? You mean that Dick Fuld?

Yes, according to the Financial Times today, Dick Fuld is planning a comeback.

Dick "what-the-hell-did-I-do-wrong?" Fuld. Dick, the NYU MBA, Fuld. Dick, who's employees playfully called him The Gorilla, Fuld. Dick, the guy who used to own Lehman shares valued over a billion, Fuld.

Yeah, that Dick. Former billionaire on the comeback trail.

Here's the FT comeback story: Fuld weighs comeback with advisory boutique.

Hey, Dick, David Einhorn was right:

Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey, Jerry Yang, this one is on YOU!

Yes, you Jerry!

And some people actually think that maximizing shareholder value is a bad thing. That crappy, brain dead executive management doesn’t matter. That washed up, co-founders of a company actually care about their employees.

No, Jerry, this is what happens when you really, really, screw it all the hell up!!!

Yahoo begins telling workers who's being laid off

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Virgin America adds Boston to the route structure

Virgin America adds Boston to the route structure

How many billionaires own an airline? Answer – very few. Richard Branson is one of them.

This week Virgin American announced that it will be adding daily service to Boston’s Logan International Airport from the West Coast in February 2009. Chicago will wait.

We will keep you informed of when Virgin America will begin service in a city near you.

Aricle - Virgin America

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sam Zell's diversification plan outside of real estate comes up short

Sam Zell's Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, other daily newspapers and media properties — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week.

As we now know, Sam Zell's diversification plan outside of real estate didn't work out, nor did his frantic search for more revenue for his newspapers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Clearly, John Thain wants to be a billionaire

People all across the country today now know who John Thain is. And they know that John Thain wants his money.

Here is John Thain, the ex-Goldman Sachs who eventually moved to the New York Stock Exchange and then to Merrill Lynch to restructure the brokerage firm to move to bigger and better things. Instead, he sold the damn firm!

Here is John Thain, who when he took over as the CEO of Merrill Lynch at the end of 2007, he received a $15 million signing bonus. At the time, shares of Merrill Lynch were priced at $50.

Today, Merrill Lynch is trading at $13 share, and is being taken over by Bank of America.

So now, here is that very same John Thain that now wants a $10 million bonus for himself and others at the firm for all of his hard work.

Clearly, John Thain wants to be a billionaire. Because, if he didn't, he wouldn't want these 10 and 15 billion dollar payments if he didn't aspire to bigger and better things. Just like he assured the brokers at Merrill Lynch.

John Chambers, a billionaire with perspective

Cisco, John Chamber’s company, has $26 billion in available cash on the corporate balance sheet, two dozen promising products in the pipeline and the acquired wisdom of many market cycles.

"If you watch what is occurring today, people are acting like the sky is falling. Every time, we have gained market share, and two years later, our customer and employee satisfaction was greater," Chambers says.

Here's the FastCompany cover story

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bill Gates, a concerned taxpayer, thinks the auto bailout idea stinks

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates thinks the bailout idea for the Big Three US automakers is a pretty ridiculous proposal. His comments are grounded in sound investment principles and business realities, not politics.

Interestingly, Mr. Gates’ strong comments contrasts a great deal with his good billionaire friend Warren Buffett who seemingly has no problem with the bailout idea (read: Warren Buffett Mouths off about General Motors).

Mr. Gates made the following comments to CNN and others last week:

"After all, they have to say 'if no one else is willing to invest, why is that? What is it that investors are seeing about this business model or cost structure that makes them unwilling, and why, in that case, is the government alone stepping forward in this way?"

"When you don't have any private investors you really have to say, is taxpayer money going to have the desired effect?"

"There are very few industries that aren't going to suffer this (economic) downturn.... How does government take its finite resources and decide how much restructuring or change is expected there?"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

J.K. Rowling’s net proceeds from new book donated to charity

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is published by The Children’s High Level Group a charity co-founded in 2005 by the British billionaire writer J.K. Rowling to make life better for vulnerable children.

All net proceeds from the sale will be donated to The Children's Voice campaign.

The Children's Voice campaign is run by CHLG. It campaigns for child rights across Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe where over a million children and teenagers are growing up in institutions, often in unacceptable conditions. In most cases they are without adequate human or emotional contact and stimulation, while many only just survive without life's basics such as adequate shelter and food.

CHLG's Children's Voice campaign helps around a quarter of a million children each year through education activities; outreach work in institutions; and a dedicated telephone and email help line.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jeff Bezos and the Kindle blooper at Amazon

Hey, online holiday shoppers, billionaires too can get the math wrong on occasion as well.

"Sorry!" (says Jeff)

For the second year in a row, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos neglected to correctly forecast and build the required amount of Kindles necessary to satisfy market demand for the 2008 Holiday Shopping Season.


For all you economic students out there, this is a lesson in (lost) opportunity cost analysis.

Sure this isn’t a billionaire dollar mistake, but Amazon has lost many, many millions of dollars in lost sales for not having the Kindle ready to ship.

So what is a Kindle buyer to do? Well, there is always a market somewhere and that market is called: eBay.

Yes friends, eBay like last year is providing a marketplace of new and used Kindles to satisfy your Holiday shopping demand.

Have a Merry Christmas no matter where you buy your Kindle.

Article: Kindle Shopping Holiday Update

Kindle at eBay

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ausie billionaire James Packer name used in scam

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Internet scammers masquerading online as billionaire James Packer tricked more than 150 professionals and managers into passing on contacts, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why has Warren Buffett not managed the Berkshire Hathaway fall better?

With Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holdings of American Express, Conoco and Coco-Cola down dramatically, Reuters asks the question: Is the Buffett magic gone?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deutsche Bank tells Donald Trump to pay up

Deutsche Bank Trust Co. filed the suit last week in New York state court, alleging Donald Trump didn't pay off a remaining $334.2 million loan due on Nov. 7 to Deutsche Bank and its syndicate of lenders.

Trump Chicago

Liquidity problems at the casino that Donald Trump built

Trump Entertainment to miss interest payment

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Facing tough competition and sliding revenue amid the economic meltdown, Trump Entertainment Resorts will have to skip a $53.1 million interest payment scheduled for Monday on its 8.5% senior secured notes due 2015 in order to maintain sufficient liquidity.

full article

also read - Is Donald Trump a Millionaire?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What the hell was Sam Zell thinking?

The newspaper death spiral continues as noted on TechCrunch this week.

So, we decided to check in with one of our more favorite billionaires to determine what the hell happened.

In a recent interview, Sam Zell explains that a small forecasting assumption apparently turned into a big forecasting error relative to his recent purchase of the Chicago Tribune.

Think Billion$ comment: Oops.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Carl Icahn averages down with Yahoo! shares

Carl Icahn, the billionaire corporate raider and takeover artist, has picked up another 6.8 million shares of Yahoo (YHOO) stock this week for just under $10 a share (about a third of what he paid in May when he started building his position)

Icahn now holds 75.6 million shares (just under 5 percent of total outstanding shares)

He also controls three seats on Yahoo’s board. Jerry Yang, the Yahoo co-founder on his way to early retirement, issued no official comment on the Yahoo! share pick up by Carl Icahn.

Think Billion$ comment: What else is he going to do at this point???

Just what the hell does Michael Bloomberg have against pregnant women?

This is not a thread about politics, because we talk only business here at Think Billions.

This is a thread about motherhood! and questioning a billionaire's sanity.

The title of the article we are referencing is not the title of the thread. Instead the title of the article is: "Mayor Bloomberg's Delicate Condition."

The article mentions the class action lawsuit, the disturbing sexist behavior and raunchy comments from Bloomberg Himself over the years; but, ultimately resorts to a puff and praise piece for the mayor at the end. Too bad for Portfolio. Read it anyway.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Carlos Slim Fattens up on Stocks

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has purchased shares in both Citigroup and Saks recently.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Warren Buffett Mouths Off About General Motors

The Oracle of Omaha, aka Warren Buffet the number one billionaire in the whole wide world, has commented once again about the fate of General Motors.

(BTW, Doesn’t this guy have a day job?)

According to Uncle Warren it is either: bankruptcy or bailout for GM.

Very odd talk, indeed, from this self-professed capitalist.

Maybe Warren Buffett is really a renounced or retired capitalist or maybe is now a member of the: “I’ve got mine club ….. suckers!”

Update (for Warren): No sympathy for Detroit at a Kia plant in Georgia

Thursday, November 20, 2008

German billionaire Adolf Merckle cries "Uncle"

Dr. Adolf Merckle, one of the richest people in Germany, has incurred significant losses from wrong-way bets on Volkswagen shares, putting him under pressure to restructure or sell assets.

Speculation has been sparked that he could sell his Ratiopharm generic drug business.

Merckle has now turned to the government of Germany for bailout assistance. If agreed to, a Merckle bailout would be one of the first non-banking state bail-outs in Germany since the start of the financial crisis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Love and the Billionaire: Are Paris Hilton and Stavros Niachros Back on?

Paris Hilton and ex-boyfriend, shipping Billionaire Stavros Niachros were recently (very) publicly reunited at the exclusive Miami nightclub Mokai. Paris' boyfriend Benji Madden was absolutely nowhere in sight.

Following the Victoria's Secret fashion show an eye witness reported:

"Paris and Stavros were all over each other. They were at the same table for about an hour and then they left together. It didn't seem like Benji was on her mind at all!"

Billionaire bad boy Mark (Mamma) Cuban

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Billionaires, Soccer and Risk

What does Keith Harris say when some billionaire comes to him wanting to buy an English football club? Harris reaches for the inside pocket of his immaculate blue suit. "The first thing I do," says football's premier dealmaker, "is I produce an imaginary pack of cigarettes and say that buying, owning and actually running a football club is more risky than these are."

And so begins the Financial Times in the Weekend Edition regarding the financial stupidity of billionaires buying English football clubs. For the full article read: Soccer’s billion dollar brain.

This month seems to be the month to be writing about this subject. Forbes has gotten into the act with its article entitled: The Billionaire Soccer Club.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Billionaire boy bozo Jerry Yang finally steps down

Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang finally faced the music and decided to step down as CEO.

Boy billionaire Yang, as the whole world remembers, had more than a rocky 2008. This year was punctuated by Yang's absolute foolishness and stupidity by his refusal to sell YHOO to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion -- more than triple Yahoo's current market value.

And get this, Jerry had the audacity of saying the following via a statement today: ""I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation."

If you want to see how Jerry Yang destroyed YHOO shareholder value, go here.

The following CNET poll got it right when Jerry decided he needed his old job back.

Mark Cuban, insider trading?

The SEC has charged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with insider trading.

According to the WSJ:

The SEC alleges in a civil action that Mr. Cuban sold his entire 6% ownership stake on June 28, 2004, after learning that Mamma.com was raising money through a private investment in a public entity, or PIPE. The next day, on June 29, the company announced the PIPE financing and shares of the company dropped by more than 10%. By selling his stake, the SEC alleges, Mr. Cuban avoided more than $750,000 in losses.

WSJ article


mamma.com - the mother of all search engines

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Year of the Rat takes a bite from China's billionaires

The Year of the Rat has been challenging for China's billionaires as well.

According to Forbes: "the combined net worth of the 400 richest [Chinese] dropped to $173 billion from $288 billion."

Liu Yongxing, president of East Hope Group, is now number one in China as his wealth has risen from $0.6 billion to $3 billion.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More billionaires hit with margin calls

Forbes, in its November 17 issue, identified the following five global billionaires hit with substantial margin calls:

Aubrey McClendon
- sold most of his shares in Chesapeake Energy for well over a $1 billion loss

Sumner Redstone
- dumped half his shares in Viacom and CBS, at half its value just a couple of months ago

Oleg Deripaska
- sold $1.5 billion of Magna Intl. and Hochtief for a net loss

Alisher Usmanov
- is "forced to give back a stake now worth $700 million in ... Gazprom"

Kostyantin Zhevago
- the Ukranian billionaire unloaded 21% of Ferrexpo at a sizeable loss

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yellowstone Club, the club for Billionaries, goes bust

Tim Blixseth, co-founder of Yellowstone Club—the world’s only private ski and golf community located in Big Sky, Montana—has filed for bankruptcy.

The Yellowstone Club, which includes Bill Gates as a member, can't pay its creditors.

“Yellowstone Club World membership is capped at 150, offered by invitation only. Entry fee to the first 25 is $3 million and $10 million to the 150th member.”

— Tim Blixseth, Co-Founder & Chairman

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Steve Jobs and Apple, billions of cash

Steve Jobs, with an estimated net worth of over $5 billion, has Apple's cash position on the balance sheet nicely reaching over $24 billion.

How does he do it? Well, last month's conference call noted the iPhone now surpassing RIM's blackberry.

Looks like more billions ahead for chairman Steve Jobs and the folks at Apple.

Forbes article

Friday, November 7, 2008

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens says a Greener U.S. would boost the economy

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens says the following during an interview with CNN chief national correspondent John King:

Pickens: You've got to fix the energy issue because just look at the 40 years that have passed. No energy plan, zero. If we go forward for 10 years with no energy plan, we got the picture in the last year. Go back five years and the [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] nations' revenues were $250 billion. This year, 2008, will be $1.25 trillion.

Now go forward 10 years and say we have no energy plan; we will be importing at that point 75 percent of our oil, which is a huge security problem for America. And we will be paying $300 a barrel for the oil.

CNN article

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Village Billionaire Idiot, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Now Loves Microsoft

Readers, we cannot make this stuff up.

Billionaire Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang is now ready to bargain with Microsoft over the sale of his company after screwing over shareholders and many others all year long.

"To this day, I believe the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo," Yang said from the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco this week.

Microsoft withdrew its $33 per share bid offer earlier this year after Village Idiot Yang demanded $37. Current price: $13.96. Where did this guy go to school?

Steve ... offer $9 bucks a share. See what happens. LOL!

Jim Rogers, billionaire investor commentary

John D. Rockefeller - the 1st Billionaire

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

David Murdock awarded the first “Living Award” from Martha Stewart

David Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food, is the recipient of the first “Living Award” from Martha Stewart.


other articles:

David Murdock: ‘Failure is a great teacher’

Forbes article

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison are billions less rich

Sure, billionaire guys like Buffett, Ellison and Steve Ballmer have ridden the capitalistic market cycle quite in their favor over the past 20 or 30 years.

However, each of these guys have something in common other than being billionaires. They have each dropped over a billion, as in several billions, in net worth over the past year or so due to the stock market crash. It may not hurt, but it has to sting.

Ouch. Payday loan guys? lol.

Read all about it in - Billionaire Blues

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Russian Welfare Program for Billionaires

The government of Russia has begun a series of billionaire bailouts to help save some of the Kremlin's favored oligarchs from massive debts owed to foreign banks and other entities.

Some examples include:

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's aluminum company RusAl would be the main beneficiary of a $10 billion state credit bailout to be disbursed by development bank VEB.

Some $3 billion was provided to billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group and state-controlled Rosneft to help refinance their foreign debts.

And that, friends, is still a lot of rubles. More to come from Mother Russia.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Billionaire Pickens gives additional US$63 million to Oklahoma State athletics

Billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens will give another US$63 million to Oklahoma State to finish athletic projects.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is Donald Trump a Millionaire?

A New Jersey state appeals court ruled yesterday that a New York Times reporter does not have to reveal the identity of three sources who told him that Donald Trump's true worth lies in the millions of dollars, rather than in the billions as the mogul maintains.

Trump sued Timothy L. O'Brien for $5 billion in Superior Court in Camden, arguing that O'Brien hurt his "brand and reputation" by labeling him a mere millionaire in TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Your World With ... Carl Icahn

Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn is interviewed by Neil Cavuto on the global sell-off, credit crunch, shareholder issues and other topics.

Read: transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 24, 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oprah "just loves" the Kindle

Already very good friends with Jeff Bezos, Billionaire Oprah Winfrey today endorsed Amazon's Kindle on her show because, as she tells it ... she just loves it and it has changed her life, etc, etc...

And Jeff is even knocking off $50 bucks off the price of Kindle for you just because you're an Oprah fan and he knows you'll love it too! ( Just use secret code: OPRAHWINFREY )

Kindle: Amazon's Wireless Reading Device

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jim Clark, engaged to an Australian Supermodel

Billionaire Jim Clark, 64, former Stanford computer professor, co-founder of Netscape and dozens of other startups has put another business plan in motion - the acquisition of wife #4 - Kristy Hinze, 28, the host of Project Runway Australia.

You be the judge. (there are better pictures online, btw)


Citizen Journalism 101 by Philip Anschutz

There's an interesting article on TechCrunch about the "citizen journalism" efforts by Examiner.com and owner Philip Anschutz.

Philip Frederick Anschutz has an estimated net worth of around $7.8 billion. He is ranked by Forbes as the 31st richest person in the USA by the Forbes 400.

article - TechCrunch

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Margin Call from Ford for Kirk

Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian - the Armenian-American billionaire and 90 something-year-old president/CEO of Tracinda Corporation has just initiated his own margin call by selling a good chunk of Ford Motor common stock, with the appropriate NYSE symbol of – F.

Kirk, if you would have asked us here at Think Billions, we could have forewarned you about this looooooser of an investment idea. We really would have.

The business press is writing amazing sentences about this portfolio adjustment, such as: “In an apparent vote of no confidence ….. “ Kirk has dumped Ford. You think???

In April “Kirk” began buying shares around $7.73. This week, Kerkorian's investment company, Tracinda Corp., sold over 7 million shares for an average price of $2.43 apiece. Yikes.

Overall, Kerkorian spent about $1 billion to acquire his stake in Ford. Yesterday, that stake was valued at $289.7 million - down 71%. He'll get rid of the rest on the next 5 cent up tick.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Carl Icahn places a buy order for Lions Gate

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has bought into Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF).

LGF opened gap-up this morning in NYSE trading before settling down 6 cents per share to $7.31. Lions Gate has traded as high as 10.97 per share over the past 52 weeks.

Hopefully, for our billionaire investor, LGF will do much more for him than Oliver Stone and the movie 'W' has done for Lions Gate Entertainment.


Monday, October 20, 2008

T. Boone Pickens to Lehman Brothers: You Screwed Me!

Billionaire Oilman T. Boone Pickens files $60 million lawsuit against Lehman Brothers

Pickens' lawsuit demands $60 million plus interest and attorney fees from a unit of the late great Lehman Brothers investment bank. Pickens personally claims the largest share of this money—$18.2 million. Four of his BP Capital hedge funds claim the balance (including one registered in the Cayman Islands, a popular tax haven).


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

T. Boone Pickens should have shorted Yahoo, instead

Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens just took a hard, cold tech bath by going long YHOO, with his buddy Carl Icahn, in the yearlong battle to takeover Yahoo! and toss it to Steve Balmer and Microsoft. He has sold all of his shares.

T. Boone's loss is estimated at $50 million.


San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The lunch tab with Warren Buffett: $2 million, plus tip

Warren Buffett's investment portfolio, we are told, has averaged a meager 5% total return over the past 10 years.

That small detail apparently did not come close to stopping Zhao Danyang of Hong Kong from bidding (and winning) $2,110,100 to break bread with the Oracle of Omaha. Zhao runs Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund (which may differ somewhat to Buffett's more value based investing style). Last year, the proceeds of the auction, all of which go to the Glide Foundation, amounted to $650,100.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summertime for Billionaires

Dealbreaker today reminds us in Where Wall Street Summers that billionaires such as Henry Kravis and Pete Peterson will soon be heading up the coast to the east end of Long Island for a little billionaire R&R. Enjoy guys.

For you old timers, this is how daybreak on the island looked to Gordon Gekko many years ago. "Money never sleeps, pal."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jerry Yang Continues to Hate Microsoft and Yahoo! shareholders. The end.

As reported on ThinkBillion$ here, here, and here, Boy Billionaire, Yahoo! co-founder, and Microsoft hater Jerry Yang has now totally and officially jumped the financial shark with his rejection of any and all things Microsoft.

The only thing we could approriately conclude with here is with Michael Arrington's piece in TechCrunch, ("Massive Destruction Of Shareholder Value, Employee Morale and Internet Balance Of Power") reporting the whole affair this way: "I don’t believe that there is anything Yahoo could do at this point to further destroy their business that would surprise me."

YHOO ended today's trading at $23.47 a share, down 5 cents.

article -

WSJ: Microsoft Studies Strategy as Yahoo Talks End

Eike Batista Brings it in Brazil

This week in Brazil, Eike Batista, bet a couple of his millions and several of Brazil's investing public billion's that OGX Petroleo e Gas SA, and its undersea leases off the coast, will yield a gusher. Thursday's initial offering of oil venture OGX Petroleo e Gas SA raised nearly $3.6 billion, the exchange's biggest IPO.

Eike, a self-made billionaire in the gold and iron mining sector, is now making this big bet in the oil industry. It is a story and entrepreneur to closely follow.

His friends call him "a serial entrepreneur doings things on a massive scale." (WSJ 6/12/08).

links -

Eike Batista ranks 142 on The World's Billionaires 2008

Brazil's Batista Is `Creator of Wealth,' Turning Gold Into Iron

Eike Fuhrken Batista, Founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO of EBX,MMX Mineração e Metálicos S.A.,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fast Eddie Lampert bets on a housing rebound

Edward S. Lampert, last mentioned here at Think Billion$ during the Sears meltdown, has been profiled today by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ, June 12, 2008, p. C4) for his new bets on the housing sector.

Eddie has recently added the following stocks to his ESL Investments, Inc. portfolio; which owns half of Sears and 40% of AutoNation. As a public service to our readers, here's what Eddie likes:

CIT Group
Home Depot
KB Home
And remember, buy low and sell high (except when shorting). Good luck and happy investing!

update -

I just noticed this YouTube video posted on Dealbreaker. Can you spot Eddie???

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Steve Ballmer of Microsoft is "The World's Hardest-Working Billionaire"

According to Forbes Magazine .....

Ballmer has been working especially hard this year to revamp Microsoft and make it more competitive with tech's new "it girl," Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ). The major battle is for online search advertising, which the Internet king all but created--and dominates.

Ballmer will go to any length to sell a product, and doesn't worry about looking like a fool. In public appearances, he jumps and screeches like a monkey, drenches himself in sweat and sticks out his tongue when he's really pumped up about something.

Update -

WSJ: Gates-Ballmer clash

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Billionaire Proxy Battle: Icahn vs. Yang

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Carl Icahn will seek to remove Jerry Yang as chief executive of Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) if Icahn succeeds in a proxy battle against the company over its failure to reach a deal with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

full story

Saturday, May 31, 2008

It is a Red Light earnings special for Sears and Eddie Lampert

We like Eddie Lampert, we really do. He is a self-made billionaire who did it the hard way, not the easy way.

But, let's face it, he is an investor, not a CEO type.

Yesterday, we opened to the second section of the Financial Times and saw the headline: Sears suffers dismal quarter of poor sales. It was more of the same for Eddie.

What is more of the same, you ask? More poor branding strategy, more management defections, more financial problems, more of everything going wrong.

Sears announced a further share repurchase program. However, Think Billion$ has a better idea: Take the damn company PRIVATE! This is the only sensible thing to do from a financial re-engineering standpoint. Let us break it down for one and all -

Step 1: more share repurchases for the rest of 2008. Step 2: take Sears private next year. Step 3: re-engineer the damn thing. Step 4: years later, take it public to an unsuspecting public and to Wall Street accolades.

Come on Eddie, you know what to do.

Stock chart

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Barry, Barry, Barry

No we don't mean the lovable Barry Bonds.

We mean the lovable billionaire (#317 on the Forbes The 400 Richest Americans list resting at $1.5b), Barry Diller.

This UCLA drop-out, born in Beverly Hills, and married to Diane von Furstenberg has recently come out victorious from a well-publicized lawsuit with former business buddy John Malone.

And it is all described, and more, in the June Conde Nast Portfolio article: The Confessions of Barry Diller.

Read it so that you too can understand all-things-Barry.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jerry Yang, Yahoo billionaire, tells both Microsoft and his own shareholders to "get lost!!!"

Jerry Yang, of Los Altos, CA is 38 years old, worth $1.9 billion (according to Forbes) and is the 261st richest person in the United States of America.

This weekend he has told both Microsoft and his own shareholders to "get lost!!!"

As the whole world now knows, Microsoft has abandoned the Yahoo bid after sides can't agree on acceptable sales price

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft says it's dropping its three-month-old bid to buy Yahoo because the two sides can't agree on an acceptable sale price.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer says in a letter sent to Yahoo on Saturday that the software maker was willing to pay $47.5 billion for Yahoo. That's $33 per share.

Ballmer says Yahoo insisted that Microsoft pay at least $53 billion. That's $37 per share.

We, think this is absolutely insane. Jerry Yang is taking an anti-capitalistic, anti-shareholder approach to this proposed buyout. He clearly believes in a eastern Asian philosophy that corporations are made for its employees, not the shareholders. This is very anti-Think Billion$ as well, since Jerry clearly believes that he should be the billionaire and not anybody else. Good luck Jerr. Good luck in managing investor lawsuits in the upcoming months.

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang on hot seat after rebuffing Microsoft's $47.5 ...
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Jerry Yang has gotten what he wanted:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LeBron James: A Future Brooklyn Billionaire?

This is a story that has it all and will continue to have it all in the years ahead.

It is about current billionaires (Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, investor Warren Buffett) and future billionaires (Jay-Z and LeBron James).

It is about big money, the NBA, marketing, future trades and possible movement from the small town to the big city.

Will it happen? Will he do it? We will have to wait and see. It is not going to occur during the next couple of weeks to be sure.

Enjoy the drama that is LeBron James. When LeBron lets us know, you'll know.

Related -

Yahoo! Sports: Jay-Z, James relationship should worry Cavs

ThinkBillion$: LeBron James: Witness a (future) Billionaire

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Billionaire Buffett Blasts Granddaughter! Must see billionaire tv!

"The One Percent," a documentary about people who are richer than not ninety-six, not ninety-seven, not ninety-eight but ninety-nine percent of the world (I went to college) premiers Thursday on Cinemax and though filmmaker Jamie Johnson couldn't secure a cameo with Warren Buffett, he does include a dramatic reading of the scathing letter the old guy sent to granddaughter Nicole Buffett......