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?