Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The 1% talks back

At a recent investors conference held in New York earlier this month, the 1% had a chance to talk back and educate the 99% about various things economic and financial.

One of the billionaire educators attending was Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernard Marcus. Bernard said a number of things, including making the case for fighting back and not allowing the 99% to set the economic agenda.

Mr Marcus also said: “Who gives a crap about some imbecile? Are you kidding me?”

Time to pick up some paint at Home Depot?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Donald Trump Claims Independence

Donald Trump claims he is worth $7 billion.

Forbes says it is more like $2.9 billion (#128 on the Forbes 400 list).

Now Donald Trump is no longer a registered Republican in the state of New York. He is now a registered independent.

When asked if this is an opening for a potential run for the White House, his spokesman said no. The Donald fully expects to endorse a GOP candidate.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ralph Lauren: A sick dog of a stock for the holiday's

Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) continues to look for hope and economic signs of life on the NYSE, with the stock down over 4% over the past month of trading. Analysts are asking questions about how the company can continue to stay anywhere near its 52-week high of $164 amid dismal personal consumption data and awful economic news from Europe daily.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Zynga: Just another billion dollar 2011 IPO washout

The buzz on Wall Street last week was supposed to be the latest social gaming stock designed to put money in your pocket.

It didn't buzz.

Sorry gaming investors. Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), the latest billion-dollar IPO launched at $10 and gradually just faded away. (It is beginning this week on the big fade as well). Happy holidays, gaming investors.

One site headlined: "Zynga Stock Falls 5% as Retail Investors Get Sandbagged." Yeah, sandbagged is the polite term.

Why is this happening to IPO's? It is simple, really. Companies such as Zynga (and Facebook) take advantage of “D round” financing. Their prices have already been bid up and maxed out by investors during this very late round of private equity financing. Sorry noobie gaming investors suckers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Next Class Warfare Target: The Waltons

Just in time for the 2011 Holiday Season, we have another opportunity to ponder more class inequality questions.

This time courtesy of Jeffrey Mark Goldberg, activist writer of The Atlantic.

Jeff, after spending some time reading some old issues of Forbes magazine, points out that six members of the Walton family (the original owners of WalMart) have more wealth than the bottom 30 % of Americans. Shocking. Is this still legal in America?
In 2007, according to the labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. bottom 30 percent of all Americans. The Waltons are now collectively worth about $93 billion, according to Forbes.
So, what is the point here, Jeffrey?

Well, once again class, because next year is a presidential election year, we will hear and read this refrain over and over again.

Also, it is now so very, very cool to compare 99% with 1%. Statistically or politically.

If you have the time to research who Jeffrey Mark Goldberg exactly is (on Wikipedia, for instance), you'll find:
In 2007, he was hired by David G. Bradley to write for The Atlantic. Bradley had tried to convince Goldberg to come work for The Atlantic for nearly two years, and was finally successful after renting ponies for Goldberg's children
So there we have it. We all have our price. For some it is millions or billions. For Jeffrey Mark Goldberg, we  discover he can be bribed with ponies.

Oh, and BTW, it looks as if Walmart has some good values on flat-screen televisions this week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Game On In Russia: Billionaire to take on Putin

It is JUMP BALL ball in Russia for the 2012 presidential election.

It looks like Nets basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov vs. Vladmir Putin.

The Russian billionaire tycoon and world sports fan said he will run against Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential election. 
"These past two-and-a-half months, my colleagues and I have been quietly and calmly working to build an infrastructure that will allow us to gather two million signatures."
Orlando Magic basketball star Dwight Howard could not be reached for comment by your Think Billion$ blog.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Forbes Likes (+1) HP

The Think Billion$ blog, once again, is with or ahead of the curve with its thinking on HP (NYSE: HPQ), the Palo Alto, California computer company.

Forever remaining skeptical on most business stories from The Economist, Think Billion$ thought the socialist business magazine went a little over the top with its recent denouncement of Meg Whitman (The Economist Hates both Meg Whitman and HP).

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes and Silicon Valley insider, understands the dynamics of HP differently (Whitman Is Not Jobs, But HP Is a Buy. Forbes, December 19, 2011, p. 40):

"Even if you remain skeptical about Whitman, HP is a buy on the price. Consider that IBM and HP have comparable revenue numbers, yet IBM is worth $220 billion. Warren Buffett plopped $10.7 billion into IBM at this valuation. HP is worth $56 billion. It's dirt cheap. For all of HP's problems, the company still generates about $10 billion a year in free cash flow. A modest multiplier of ten times cash flow would get HP to $100 billion."

The Think Billions blog continues to wish Meg Whitman well at HP.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bill Gates Likes (+1) Communists

Those awake in the world over the past couple of decades know and understand that the People's Republic of China has been one of the world's worst serial polluters in the history of mankind.

Microsoft co-founder, and Think Billions VBF, Bill Gates believes he has a solution.

The billionaire software guru says he is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new kind of nuclear reactor.

Yes, you read that correctly. Bill Gates. China. Communists. Nuclear Energy.

At a talk this week at China's Ministry of Science & Technology, Gates said: "The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste."

Gates backs Washington-based TerraPower, which is developing a nuclear reactor that can run on depleted uranium. He says he is thinking about tossing perhaps as much as a billion dollars into R&D over the next couple of years.

Bill Gates Likes (+1) Communists.

We know that China Likes (+1) Bill Gates. Since the country has been using Microsoft software largely on a freeware basis over many, many years.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still working on that security flaw

Private photos belonging to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were revealed as a result of a recent glitch in the system used to report inappropriate images on the social network. They got attention after being uploaded to an album on photo-sharing service Imgur.

(Mr. Sunshine) Warren Buffett goes solar

Despite being rocked by scandal and corruption industry-wide (see: George Kaiser: Oil Magnate and Crony Capitalist) billionaire Warren Buffett has decided to take a shot at the solar industry.

Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility has agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in Southern California, thus, branching into solar power after the industry has been battered by poor stock market performance.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Leon Cooperman bottom fishes with RIM

Ex-Goldman Sachs honcho, and current Omega Advisors hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman has taken a bullish position on RIM - Research in Motion. [RIM is down 73% YTD 2011]

Our Think Billions research department has yet to determine if old' Leon Cooperman owns a cell phone or knows how to spell smartphone or even thinks that RIM is still IN MOTION.

"RIM could rise again when it finally gets its new QNX operating system. It’s still got a hell of a user base. “We think the new operating system is constructive,” Cooperman told CNBC. “RIM has over 70 million users. … There is tremendous intellectual property and the possibility they could resurrect themselves and go on a better track. We took a speculative position.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A $100 billion IPO for Facebook in 2012

Facebook Inc., the private social networking service located in Palo Alto, California will be going IPO in 2012 (initial public offering).

Will you be an investor?

Facebook, currently, is targeting dates between April 2012 and June 2012 for an initial public offering of its common stock. The company would raise approximately $10 billion in an IPO that would result in Facebook being valued at more than $100 billion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wow! A proposed billion dollar casino for Miami

From the 11/29/11  WSJ:

A Malaysian gambling company wants to build what could be the world's largest casino on prime land along Miami's waterfront. It has spent about $450 million on real estate, pledged to help rebuild part of an interstate highway and hired 23 lobbyists to press for a new Florida law. The focus of Genting Bhd.'s costly campaign is a proposed $3.8 billion casino resort with six towers, 50 restaurants and a shopping mall overlooking Biscayne Bay.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Economist Hates both Meg Whitman and HP

What can one say when a "business" magazine (like The Economist) becomes far less a business magazine and far more like an entertainment news weekly which emphasizes the sizzle rather than the steak. One could say many things.

Sounding ever so much like shill advertising for or a regurgitated version of Jim Collins' Good to Great with strong warnings against charismatic corporate leaders, The Economist recently sounded off on Meg Whitman and the HP decision to bring her in as CEO [The Economist, October 1, 2011, p.74.]

Let us count the ways.

The Economist doesn't like what Meg did at eBay, doesn't like she lost the race for governor of California, just doesn't like her period.

Not once does The Economist recognize Meg Whitman's smart decision to review the decision to cancel the proposed sale or spin-off of its $40 billion PSG business. This decision was made, in haste, by the previous administration.

Not once does The Economist recognize the critical need for replacing the incompetent CEO, who had held the job for only 11 months, known as Leo Apotheker. Perhaps it is because Leo is a former European hero of the magazine, by way of as the CEO of SAP, the huge software company based in Germany.

 Sometimes software and hardware do not mix well.

Not once does The Economist recognize the need for sound business research.

The Think Billions blog wishes Meg Whitman well at HP.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Get out of my Park!

UPDATE! A court order has emerged allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters back into New York's Zuccotti Park only a few hours after the group was forcibly evicted from the encampment by police in a pre-dawn raid.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Steve Wynn: Pro Growth billionaire

"I am watching my employees standard of living drop off because of deficits. I think that the American public is beginning to make the connection between deficits and their own loss of the standard... I say right now that the Democratic agenda of spend and bribe the public has bankrupt this country, and until it stops, the citizens of this country are in for more hard times. And fancy speeches aren't going to change that. Only a fundamental realization that citizens are going to have to take real, sophisticated responsibility for how we allocate the resources of this country."

Polo Ralph Lauren: How Real is this Momentum Play?

What a momentum play Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) has been during 2011 so far.

This retailer thinks it is a dot.com from the Web 1.0 days.

Currently trading at about $ 155 per share, it is up a cool 37 % so far in 2011.

Investors, speculators and fashionable people around the world are looking at RL and asking whether it can continue. Well can it? The answer is no Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL ) carries over a billion of goodwill and other intangibles on its balance sheet. Not a good sign. Other issues such as global consumer spending in Europe is raising red flags. Enjoy the lofty values with RL while they last.

There are OTM put options on RL that are surprisingly not that expensive.

Bill Gates: Tax Me and Tax Me Again

At a recent talk at the University of Washington, software billionaire Bill Gates explains why he is an enthusiastic "tax and tax again" billionaire.

(After all, it is all very cool talk these days, this "tax me" stuff; since very few billionaires like Mr. Gates were even close to being greedy billionaires on the way up. Correct? So, these billionaire public relations tours are just all very, very cool to listen to if you enjoy listening to a re-writing of U.S. business history.)

Gates gave a talk at the University of Washington's computer science building regarding a whole ranges of subjects. He commented:
"I didn’t start out with the dream of being super-rich. And even after we started Microsoft, and the guys who ran Intel -- Gordon Moore and those guys -- were billionaires, I was like, 'Wow, that must be strange.' And so -- it is, it's quite strange."
Jee, Bill, wow.
"So I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, because there's meaningful freedom that comes with that. But once you get much beyond that -- you know, I have to tell you, it's the same hamburger. Dick's has not raised their prices enough. But, you know, being ambitious is good. You just have to pick what you enjoy doing."
Yeah, hamburgers.
"In terms of the very rich ... Warren Buffett and I are the two wealthiest Americans -- are certainly believing that the rich should be taxed a lot more...and the rich should give away more wealth than they currently do. And we've certainly been willing to speak out about that."
Speak out! And and reach out, Bill! Keep reaching out.

Billionaire Donates $18M to Andre Agassi's Charter School

Billionaire Donates $18M to Andre Agassi's Charter School

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mr. Greene goes to #OWS

Real estate billionaire Jeff Greene, who enjoys some truly interesting Hollywood friends such as Oliver Stone, Heidi Fleiss, and Mike Tyson, recently got a chance to visit New York City and Occupy Wall Street.

These are some of the things he discovered and commented on: 
"To me Occupy Wall Street is symbolic ... right now it's like a college sit-in"

"It looks like a street fair to me ... people are buying cookies, musicians are singing"

"To me it's much ado about nothing ... they complained about the 1% versus the 99% and how the 1% rules government, and I said that it only takes 51% to put the person you want in office." 

> Undercover Billionaire Forbes: November 7, 2011; p.22

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Get off my street!

"I don't appreciate the bashing of all the hard working people who live and work here and pay the taxes that support our city." 

 "The city depends on Wall Street. Let's not forget, those taxes pay our teachers, pay our police officers, pay our firefighters. Those taxes we get from the profits companies and the incomes, they go to pay for this library."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Raj Raj gets 11-year sentence in fraud case

Raj Rajaratnam sets a record for the longest prison term in U.S. history for insider trading. Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund billionaire at the center of one of the largest insider trading cases in history, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

George Kaiser: Oil Magnate and Crony Capitalist

The George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa, OK was the largest shareholder in the now-bankrupt solar [waste project] company, Solyndra.

Kaiser, a Harvard MBA, is just another one of those rich oil guys you read about who's latest billionaire brainstorm idea was to put his guilty [oil]  conscience to rest by putting taxpayers on the hook for his pet solar cause. He is famous for saying things like:

"There's never before been more money shoved out the government's door in world history ... And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can."

Only when George Kaiser speaks of "Tulsa and Oklahoma" - he really means The George Kaiser Family Foundation and crony capitalism.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Meg Whitman is taking a $1 annual salary for her position as HP CEO

Meg Whitman, Harvard MBA and the fourth wealthiest woman in the state of California with a net worth of $1.3 billion in 2010, might be taking a $1 salary, but she is getting more than enough compensation with stock options.

As reported by the LA Times:

Whitman was also awarded the option to buy nearly 2 million shares of HP stock, which if vested today would be worth nearly $45 million. As with many executive-level options packages, however, the shares won't vest immediately: Whitman won't be able to cash in at least 900,000 of them in until a year from now.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Warren Buffett's favorite bank, BAC, to start charging debit card fees

Bank Of America is about to slap bank customers with a $5 Debit Card Usage Fee.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yahoo! Sports wages class warfare against NBA owners

Yahoo! Sports, trying to give its NBA reporters something to do and stay somewhat relevant, begins the political charged discussion with:

Think NBA owners are sweating out each day of the lockout? Maybe you should check the number of league bosses on the latest Forbes 400 list. A dozen NBA owners made the rankings of the richest people in America. With 30 teams in the conference, that means 42.8 percent of the owners are sitting pretty.

Joshua Harris has an impressive resume that includes a bachelor's degree from Penn’s Wharton School of Business and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. The 46-year-old is one of the youngest on our list and worth $1.45 billion.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Barry Diller hires Chelsea Clinton

Barry Diller, the UCLA drop-out and billionaire chairman of IAC/InterActive Corp., has just hired 31-year old grad student Chelsea Clinton for a board of directors seat with the global multimedia company.

Chelsea Clinton is the daughter of President Clinton and will be paid $50,000 for her work on the board.

Other board members include Michael Eisner, the embattled former head Mouse-man of Walt Disney, and Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman of Warner Music Group.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Groupon discounts its revenue

From the NYT Deal Book column: Accounting Change Cuts Groupon’s Revenue

For example, in a version of the prospectus filed last month, Groupon
reported $1.52 billion in revenue for the first six months of the year.
In Friday’s filing, that number is now called net revenue and is $688
million. The original $1.52 billion figure is now counted as gross

Groupon’s accounting change is the inverse of what Google
did before its own public debut in 2004. The search giant initially
excluded cash that was shared with distribution partners in its revenue
figures. It later changed its revenue to include those payouts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bill Gates Wins in Phoenix (Again)

Bill Gates (not the billionaire) wins his Phoenix City Council spot again during the August 2011 election.


Registered Voters 90,014
Voter Turnout 22.89%

Votes Percent
BILL S GATES 15,326 74.37%
STEVEN GROSS 5,281 25.63%
Write-In* 0 0.00%
Total 20,607 100.00%


Monday, September 19, 2011

Societe Generale gets a call from the Department of Justice

The Justice Department is investigating whether French bank Société Générale SA helped facilitate Texas financier R. Allen Stanford's $7 billion ponzi scheme and network.

Societe Generale SA is at $17.91, down 55% 2011 YTD.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Get rid of Jerry Yang and the rest of his Yahoo! cronies

Is it possible that there can be Two! Yahoo! idiots in the world??!!

The short answer is Yes!

We know of the first Yahoo! idiot. Non other than Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang.


He has done it several times, folks.

The second Yahooo! idiot is Daniel Loeb. Daniel is a hedge fund manager who apparently forgot to sell his Yahoo shares recently and still owns 5.15% of the dying web company.

"Get rid of Jerry Yang and the rest of his Yahoo! cronies" is essentially what Daniel announced to Yahoo!, the Wall Street Journal! and the World! this week!


Daniel wrote this week that " ... this Board's failures have destroyed value for all Yahoo stakeholders." And this guy manages money for other people.

Yahoo! stock (NASDAQ:YHOO) closed at $14.88 today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Groupon Inc. canceled its roadshow

Groupon Inc. canceled its roadshow and is reevaluating its plans to go public in the face of stock market volatility.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

David Lauren to wed Lauren Bush

Laura Bush, currently a handbag designer and philanthropist, plans to wed David Lauren, son of designer Ralph Lauren this Sunday in Colorado.

The mega-wedding event will take place at Ralph Lauren's exclusive Double RL Ranch in Telluride, Colorado.

Laura Bush, 27, will not be using the name Mrs. Lauren Lauren; rather Bush will go by Lauren Bush-Lauren.

Congratulations to all the Laurens!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lions Gate no longer worth it for Carl Icahn

Icahn ends battle with Lions Gate, agrees to sell stake

Los Angeles Times

Activist investor Carl Icahn has agreed to sell all of his holdings in Lions Gate Entertainment, ending his bitter, three-year-long battle to take over the film and television studio and oust its management.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Warren Buffett tosses $5 billion into BAC

Warren Buffett, the bottom-feeding investor from Nebraska, is picking up shares of Bank of America just when major hedge fund managers are dumping shares with record losses. And, right on cue, the financial media is applauding his daring, wisdom and good looks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Polo and David Lauren Discover the Internet Independently Without Help from Al Gore

Fast Company, the business magazine that has still not discovered what it wants to be after all this time and that continues to see circulation fall year after year; has fallen in love with Polo's David Lauren.


Polo [the "acquired" trademark of Ralph Lauren] continues to get on magazine covers with ease [regardless of any actual measurable successes]

Meanwhile, it is true that Fast Company has still not discovered itself after all these years.

Here is the central question that Fast Company editors have been toying with over the past 10-15 years: Should Fast Company be a) a Silicon Valley version of GQ? b) a hip-hop business rag? c) a contra-company indicator for hedge fund shorting d) [supply your own idea here].

Yeah, Fast Company has provided some really amazing winners on their covers over the recent months: Arnold Love Child Schwarzenegger, Matt Water Boy Damon, John Chambers and Cisco, Lance EverReady Armstrong, Barack Unemployment Rate Obama, Conan Where's My Ratings O'Brien, and far too many others to list.

David Lauren: who talked you into the "interview" and cover of ..... Fast ?? Company???

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carl Icahn Sets to White-Wash Clorox


Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Friday he intends to nominate 11 people, including himself, to replace Clorox Co.'s whole board at the company's next shareholder meeting.

The move, revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, further escalates the battle between the household-products company and the activist shareholder, who owns about a 9.4% stake between him and his affiliate entities.

"We believe that Mr. Icahn is nominating candidates solely to advance his own agenda," Clorox said Friday. "Clorox has an outstanding board of directors that has demonstrated its commitment to acting in the best interests of all Clorox stockholders."

WSJ Article

Monday, August 8, 2011

David Tepper out of BAC and WFC

David Tepper, billionaire hedge fund manager of Appaloosa Management LP; aka David "Balls to the Wall" Tepper; aka Mr. "Tepper School of Business" at Carnegie Mellon University, where he achieved his MBA has zeroed out his stock positions in Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) according to CNBC.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Warren Buffett is Wrong Again

Over the years, Warren Buffett has been noted for his (solicited and unsolicited) comments across a wide range of subjects. Interpersonal relationships included.

For example, Warren Buffett really thinks this quote regarding the subjects of money and marriage is one of his true all-time gems:
"Marrying for money under any circumstance is never a good idea, and that is especially true when you're already rich!" 
And if you really consider the above quote, you'll come to see that it is always all about Warren.

But, in this case, it does not universally apply. Warren!

Take the case of billionaire Stan Kroenke. Who? Yes Stan Kroenke.

Many years ago Stan married into billionaire quality money with the last name Walton. Yes, Walton as in WalMart Walton.

You see, Stan has done the smart thing contrary to Warren Buffett's thoughts on marriage. (Would he have voided the transaction?)

Stan has stayed married and has done the smart financial thing. He has diversified!

He has diversified into sports!

Check this list of teams Stan owns:
Colorado Avalanche - NHL
Denver Nuggets - NBA
St. Louis Rams - NFL
And, Stan's latest addition, is Arsenal - the third most valuable soccer club in the world behind Real Madrid and Manchester United. Arsenal's value is $1.1 billion and very profitable!

By contrast, Warren Buffett continues to hang out at Omaha Storm Chasers games watching minor league baseball.

To summarize, getting marriage advise from Warren Buffett on "not marrying rich" just isn't a good idea. What is Warren thinking? Why is Warren preaching? (Yes, because Warren is always on the pulpit).

And on second thought, if you do the corresponding research, Warren's advise on a whole host of issues outside of his core investment holdings have been very poor over the past 5 to 10 years.

For instance, he has advised both ex-Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Obama on economic matters. The economy is down, not up.

Warren has been very bullish on the stock market this year. The S&P500 is now down 4.6%, not up.

And, not surprisingly, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), the giant tax-sheltered company that Buffett mostly owns is down this year as well, down 10.9%.

So why would we be surprised that Warren's advise on marrying the wealthy is also a downer!

In conclusion, Stan Kroenke is happily married and happily rich. And most of his sports teams are doing well on the field and on his financial statements.

Warren Buffett is also happily married and happily rich. Yet, one must hedge or avoid altogether these days some of his very random comments distributed to the mass market. Risk is always "on" with commentary supplied by Warren Buffett, Himself.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Eric Savitz: Not a fan of Groupon, Not a fan of Bubbles

In a recent Forbes article, tech writer Eric Savitz explains why he is an old school investor in Google and Microsoft, rather than a bubble-school one with Groupon and LinkedIn.

article: You Call This A Bubble?

Wildcat optimist loves his oil

Wild-Eyed Optimist
Christopher Helman
Forbes Magazine dated July 18, 2011

Billionaire wildcatter Harold Hamm says he's sitting on one of the biggest oilfields in the world, right in America. Really?

Forbes article

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Minority partners in the Mavericks basketball team sue Mark Cuban

Minority partners in the Dallas Mavericks basketball (Hillwood Investment Properties, Ross Perot Jr., etc) have sued majority owner Mark Cuban, alleging that he spent too much money on the team, among other items.

Cuban responded to this idiocy and lawsuit by using a photo of the team winning the 2011 NBA Championship (see above).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Glasgow hairdresser defeats Ralph Lauren

In a defeat for the global brand that has largely gone unnoticed, Lord Glennie of the Court of Session decided that a Glasgow hairdresser was entitled to lease the space in a shopping district, which had been empty for ten years.

Lawyers for Ralph Lauren attempted to bully the court and bully the hairdresser into not allowing this. Lawyers for Ralph Lauren lost this one.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Gisele Bundchen: The hottest next future supermodel billionaire

We all know Gisele Bundchen (aka Mrs. Brady) is a little on the HOT side, right?

But her personal balance sheet is on fire. Five alarm financial fire.

Her bod made her a multi-millionaire - she has been the highest-paid supermodel since 2004. Now her brain and business savy could make Bundchen the world’s first billionaire supermodel (by the time she turns 32 next summer).

The Brazilian bombshell is branding herself so effectively, via licensing agreements and her own lingerie company, that Forbes estimates she could very well be worth more than a billion dollars in the very future.

Bundchen has been the top-earning model in the world for seven consecutive years, thanks in part to endorsements for labels such as Versace and Dior.

Now you can help her to earn more by buying products from her new eco-friendly cosmetics company (Sejaa Pure Skincare) and also Gisele Bundchen Brazilian Intimates.

Forbes estimates her cumulative earnings over the past ten years at more than $250 million. Bundchen and husband NFL player Tom Brady also have a number of significant real estate investments.

If all of this happens according to Gisele's strategic plan, Bundchen would be Brazil’s first female self-made billionaire.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where was Warren Buffett?

As readers of Think Billions know and realize, we think Warren Buffett (yes, that Warren Buffett) has been given a completely free pass when it comes to Moody's, the credit scandal and the recent financial meltdown.

Well, now the SEC might not be giving away those free passes away any longer. Statute of limitations nonewithstanding.

Today's Wall Street Journal headline on page c1 reports: Raters Drawing SEC Scrutiny.

"U.S. securities regulators are weighing civil fraud charges against some credit-rating companies [Moody's] for their role in developing the mortgage-bond deals that helped unleash the financial crisis..."

Now, we don't think Uncle Warren will be called in front of a congressional sub-committee anytime soon. Our continued bet is on another appearance on MSNBC with his friends explaining it was really no big deal.


As part owner of Moody's [via Berkshire Hathaway] the question will remain until the end of time: Where was Warren Buffett?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Congratulations Dallas Mavericks!

Congratulations Dallas Mavericks on winning the 2011 NBA World Championship!

As readers of the Think Billions blog know, we have been frequent critics over the years of Dallas owner Mark Cuban. But because we feel that he did a great job of keeping this team together and keeping them focused, we can easily say.......

Congratulations Dallas Mavericks!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Nice Billionaire That Saves You Money

Yes, there are nice billionaires out there and Eric Lefkofsky is one of them.

It just so happens that this 41-year old family man living in suburban Chicago will be worth $4 billion or so after his start-up company goes public (IPO) later this year.

That company is Groupon of course.

Enjoy the savings North America.

Enjoy the financial rewards, Mr. Lefkofsky.

WSJ article

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Should You Short Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) ?

Update On Ralph Lauren (RL) Short

via Serge Berger, Head Trader at Blue Oak Advisors LLC

Billionaires that back "The Weiner"

According to a Forbes blog post, billionaires that have financially supported and/or currently back U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner include:
Sumner Redstone: Net Worth $3.8 billion; Beverly Hills, CA.
Alex Rovt: Net Worth $1.7 billion; Brooklyn, NY
This list is still under development and further research is pending.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why Does Everybody Love Ralph Lauren?

Everybody loves Ralph Lauren.

Excepting, the Think Billions blog, we suppose.

For some particular reason, there have been an incredible recent flury of articles from Barron's, Forbes, and elsewhere on Ralph Lauren Inc. It is like the Ralph Lauren public relations department is compensated solely by direct article placements these days.

Now, everybody loves Ralph's daughter. There she is on another magazine.

“When your dad is worth $5.8 billion, it’s not like you need to work for a living. But Dylan Lauren, 36, daughter of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren, devotes round-the-clock energy to her ten-year-old retail sweets business, Dylan’s Candy Bar.” (Forbes)

How sweet and touching, Dylan.

Again, we applaud the Lauren public relations department (wherever they are). Really. Here's Dylan, doing her best to increase blood sugar levels and maximize diabetes victims worldwide and nothing but admiration and praise are sent her way. Sweet. Very sweet.

What we at Think Billions don't get is why some enterprising business writer or blogger hasn't looked into Ralph Lauren's business practices over the years. (see Ralph Lauren: Engine of Style )

Yes, we get the part that there are huge advertising budgets at play here. But still, some writer somewhere should consider looking into his business practices and looking into how his business was formed.

It would be a great article, book or even movie.

Best of luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Of Wiretaps, Raj and the Courts

Expose Corrupt Courts: But What Did Corrupt Lawyers Know....: "U.S. Wins Convictions in Inside Trading Case The New York Law Journal by Mark Hamblett - May 11, 2011 Devastating wiretap evidence and ..."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raj Rajaratnam goes down and goes down hard!

Hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam was convicted on all 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy on Wednesday (May 11, 2011) in the biggest insider trading case and decision ever!

No one on plant earth is surprised. No one.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ralph Lauren: Engine of Style

He is 71 years old. He is a college-drop-out and former store salesman with Brooks Brothers.

In 2010, Forbes estimates his wealth at $4.6 billion dollars which would make him the 173rd richest person in the world.

He is the world famous fashion designer and business executive, best-known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand. He is Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren is applauded and lionized in the Wall Street Journal's (weekend edition) "OFF DUTY" section with the article entitled "Engine of Style."

It is rather interesting that Mr. Lauren is never asked how he happened to "acquire" the Polo brand name. You'd probably have to ask someone who was playing Polo at the time for the most interesting and true story.

Enjoy your auto collection, Mr. Lauren.

WSJ article

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Corrupt is the Berkshire-Hathaway Audit Committee?

As Berkshire-Hathaway continues to whitewash Warren Buffett, a report on David Sokol's conduct by its "audit committee" has opened itself to more questions and confusion.

The audit committee, which consists of three “independent” directors, concluded Sokol had violated Berkshire’s insider-trading policies and code of ethics, an allegation he denies.

The report itself, however, was anything but independent.

Rather than hire its own separate legal counsel, as the company’s charter authorizes it to do, the audit committee relied on Berkshire’s longtime law firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson, to help conduct its probe and prepare the report. And the committee allowed Ronald Olson, a Munger Tolles partner and Berkshire director who isn’t independent of the company’s management, to act as its public spokesman, all of which underscores weaknesses in Berkshire’s own corporate governance.

Bloomberg article

Glencore's IPO will mine 6 new billionaires

Glencore, the global commodities producer and marketer based in Switzerland, has released its long anticipated prospectus for its upcoming IPO (initial public offering) this year.

As a result of the IPO, which will value the company at roughly $60 billion, six new billionaires including CEO Ivan Glasenberg, aged 54, will be created.


Forbes article

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet the billionaire's parents

Once upon a time, Richard Branson was a high-school dropout with some big ideas. Today, his Virgin Group controls more than 300 companies. His parents, Eve and Ted, reflect on the less-than-traditional child-rearing methods that brought up a billionaire.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Billionaire Goes All-In on Gold

Gold is setting records .... But few individuals stand to benefit as much as low-profile billionaire Thomas Kaplan. A New York-born commodities magnate who earned a doctorate in British colonial history at Oxford, Mr. Kaplan oversees an empire devoted largely to gold.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sokol scandal that is not going away

Mason Kirby, a shareholder of Berkshire has just sued Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett, David Sokol among other BRK directors, over the alleged Lubrizol frontrunning by David Sokol.

Kirby v Sokol

Monday, April 18, 2011

S&P Downgrades U.S. Debt - Moody's Still Loves U.S. Debt

Per Moody's: "Moody's Maintain Top US Rating, Outlook Positive."

Berkshire Hathaway owns a small and declining shareholder interest in Moody's.

Sean “Diddy” Combs - on his way to becoming rap’s first billionaire.

Rap mogul and hip hop powerhouse Sean “Diddy” Combs made news earlier this month, when an article forecast that Combs is well on his way to becoming rap’s first billionaire. The financial magazine Forbes recently ranked Combs at the top of the hip hop mountain in terms of net worth at $475 million and growing.


Glee Cast- Billionaire Lyrics

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Glee Cast- Billionaire Lyrics

I wanna be a billionaire so freakin’ bad.
Buy all of the things I never had.
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine,
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.

Oh every time I close my eyes,
I see my name in shinin’ lights.
Yeah, a different city every night.
Oh I, I swear, the world better prepare for when I’m a billionaire.

Yeah, I would have a show like Oprah.
I would be the host of, everyday Christmas.
Give Artie a wish list.
I’d probably pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt,
And adopt a bunch of babies that ain’t never had shit.

Give away a few Mercedes like “here lady, have this”,
And last but not least grant somebody their last wish.
It’s been a couple months since I’ve single so,
You can call me Travie Claus minus the Ho Ho.
Haa, get it?

I’d probably visit where Katrina hit,
And damn sure do a lot more than FEMA did.
Yeah, can’t forget about me stupid,
Everywhere I go Imma have my own theme music.

Oh, every time I close my eyes,
(what chu see, what chu see bro?)
I see my name in shiny lights.
(uh huh).
Ahh, yeah yeah.
(what else?)
A different city every night.
Oh I, I swear, the world better prepare..
(for what?)
For when I’m a billionaire.
Oh oooh oh oooh,
When I’m a Billionaire.
Oh oooh oh oooh.
(let’s go)

I’ll be playing basketball with the President,
Dunking on his delegates.
Then I’ll compliment him on his political etiquette.
Toss a couple million in the air just for the heck of it.
But keep the fives, twentys, tens and bens completely separate.

Yeah, I’ll be in a whole new tax bracket.
We in recession but let me take a crack at it.
I’ll probably take whatevers left and just split it up.
So everybody that I love can have a couple bucks.

And, not a single tummy around me would know what hungry was.
Eating good, sleeping soundly.
I know we all have a similar dream.
Go in your pocket, pull out your wallet, put it in the air and sing…

I wanna be a billionaire so freakin’ bad.
(So bad)
Buy all of the things I never had.
(Buy everything, haa)
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine.
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.
(What up Oprah? Haaa!)

Oh every time I close my eyes,
(what chu see, what chu see bro?)
I see my name in shinin’ lights.
(uh huh).
Ahh, yeah yeah.
(what else?)
A different city every night.
Oh (yeah yeah yeah)
I – I swear, the world better prepare..
(for what?)
For when I’m a billionaire.
Oh oooh oh oooh,
(Sing it)
When I’m a Billionaire.
Oh oooh oh oooh.

I wanna be a billionaire
so freakin’ bad.

[Glee Cast- Billionaire Lyrics]

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