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24 июля, 15:14

Арне Соренсон, Marriott: «Как отец четверых детей я знаю, что все миллениалы разные»

Как глава Marriott International делает людей счастливыми и зачем ему понадобилось читать «Тихий Дон»

24 июля, 03:47

"It Feels Like An Avalanche": China's Crackdown On Conglomerates Has Sent A "Shock Wave" Across Markets

The first to suffer Beijing's crackdown against China's private merger-crazy conglomerates, wave was the acquisitive "insurance" behemoth, Anbang, whose CEO Wu Xiaohui briefly disappeared as the Politburo made it clear that the "old way" of money laundering - via offshore deals - is no longer tolerated. Then, several weeks later and shortly after the stocks of the "famous four" Chinese conglomerates plunged after China officially launched a crackdown on foreign acquirers amid concerns of "systemic risk", it was HNA's turn, which as we described last week, risks becoming a "reverse rollup from hell", as HNA's stock tumbled, sending the LTV of billions in loans collateralized by the company's shares soaring and in danger of unleashing an catastrophic margin call among the company's lenders. Then Beijing's attention shifted to the biggest conglomerate of them all: billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group, which as the WSJ and Bloomberg reported was being "punished" by Beijing, and would see its funding cutoff after China "concluded the conglomerate breached restrictions for overseas investments." The scrutiny could rein in Wang’s ambitious attempt to create a global entertainment empire, including Hollywood production companies and a giant cinema chain he’s built up through acquisitions from the U.S. to the U.K. Six investments, such as the purchases of Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB and Carmike Cinemas Inc., were found to have violations, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. The retaliatory measures will include banning banks from providing Wanda with financial support linked to these projects and barring the company from selling those assets to any local companies, the people said.   The move is an unprecedented setback for the country’s second-richest man, who has announced more than $20 billion of deals since the beginning of 2016. By targeting one of the nation’s top businessmen, the government is escalating its broader crackdown on capital outflows and further chilling the prospects of overseas acquisitions during a politically sensitive year in China. Summarizing the abrupt shift in sentiment in China was Castor Pang, head of research at Core-Pacific Yamaichi, who said that “to investors, political risk is now the biggest concern when investing in Chinese companies. Not only Wanda, every Chinese company won’t find it easy anymore to acquire assets overseas. Stabilizing the yuan is the top priority for Beijing now.” While it is not exactly clear just why Beijing so quickly soured on foreign transactions - as we explained back in 2015, it was abundantly clear back then these were nothing more than a less than sophisticated way to launder money offshore - unless of course the capital flight out of China is far worse than what Beijing would disclose, what has become quite clear is that Wanda was among the conglomerates including Fosun International, HNA Group and Anbang Insurance whose loans are under government scrutiny after China’s banking regulator asked some lenders to provide information on overseas loans to the companies. In other words, the foreign merger party is over. In fact, for some of the above listed 4 conglomerates, the party may be over, period. And now as the WSJ reported over the weekend, it has become clear that China’s government reined in one of its brashest conglomerates with the explicit approval of President Xi Jinping, "according to people with knowledge of the action—a mark that the broader government clampdown on large private companies comes right from the top of China’s leadership." The measures, with President Xi’s previously unreported approval last month, bar state-owned banks from making new loans to property giant Dalian Wanda Group to help fuel its foreign expansion. The cutoff in bank financing for the company’s foreign investments highlights Beijing’s changing view of a series of Wanda’s recent overseas acquisitions as irrational and overpriced. In short, and as noted above, Yuan stability above all. For the local market, the shift in Beijing's strategy is nothing short of a seismic shift: “It feels like an avalanche,” said Jingzhou Tao, a lawyer at Dechert LLP in Beijing, who does mergers and acquisitions work. “This is sending a shock wave through the business community.” * * * Regular readers are aware of what, until recently, was China's unquenchable thirst for foreign money laundering transactions, something we first pointed out at the start of 2016, and which had - until recently - grown exponentially. Since 2015, the four companies completed a combined $55 billion in overseas acquisitions, 18% of Chinese companies’ total. In recent days, however, as reported here 2 weeks ago, Wanda’s billionaire founder Wang Jianlin has been shrinking his empire by selling off assets and paying back the company’s bank loans. What is surprising about the sudden shift, is that Beijing had for years been encouraged Chinese companies to scour the globe for deals. Now, in a dramatic U-turn, it is reining in some of its highest-profile private entrepreneurs in what officials say is growing unease with their high leverage and growing influence. As the WSJ notes, "the measures serve as a stern warning for other big companies that loaded up on debt to buy overseas assets, officials and analysts say." How does the president fit into all of this? According to the WSJ, "Xi acted after China’s cabinet set the government machinery in gear by directing financial regulators, the economic planning agency and other bureaucracies to take a hard look at foreign acquisitions, once seen as a means for China to showcase its economic might." And, as previously reported, the crackdown started at Anbang and HNA, when Chinese banking regulators first ordered banks to scrutinize loans to Anbang in June, and other highfliers including airlines-and-hotels conglomerate HNA Group, which has pulled back on overseas investments. HNA said in a statement it continues to take a “disciplined approach” to identifying “strategic acquisitions across our core areas of focus.” Discussing the government's crackdown on conglomerates, officials at Fosun said the firm has “overseas funds and other stable financing channels,” including a fund of around U.S. $1 billion to invest, but emphasized it “fully respects the government regulations both in China and overseas markets.” Fosun has a listed unit in Hong Kong, and its strategy to invest in health care and technology “adheres to China’s global investment strategy,” said a spokesman, Chen Bo. In any case, the most likely outcome is that in the future China’s private companies will have trouble getting capital, which would help shift financial clout further in favor of big state-owned enterprises, which may also explain President Xi's change in opinion. Beijing’s sterner line comes as big private businesses and others have been amassing capital and influence that challenge the authoritarian Chinese leadership’s firm hold on the economy. Its grip has been tested over a bumpy few years. After a 2015 stock market meltdown and a botched government rescue, a gush of money flowed out of the country looking for better returns. That in turn put pressure on China’s tightly controlled yuan and foreign-exchange reserves, both seen by Beijing as barometers of confidence in the economy. It has also led to a chilling effect on Chinese outbound investment which has crashed as shown in the chart below. Putting the foreign merger spree in context, Chinese firms completed $187 billion in outbound deals last year, according to Dealogic, as private companies snapped up trophy properties, soccer clubs and hotels, while Chinese with means bought homes and pushed up real-estate prices from Texas to Sydney. The private sector’s share of overseas spending shot up from barely above zero about a decade ago to nearly half of China’s total overseas investments in 2016, before slipping back to 36.9% in the first half of 2017, according to Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute. But the most important factor, and among the main reasons for the current crackdown, is that amid the rush of investments, Beijing burned through nearly a trillion dollars in foreign-exchange reserves trying to steady the yuan. That ultimately led government regulators to clamp controls on money exiting the country and to scrutinize all proposed major offshore investments. Just as we predicted over a year ago would happen, once the government finally realized that all that M&A is nothing more than capital flight. As the WSJ puts it, "the latest scrutiny is a watershed moment in the Communist government’s relations with a private sector it has never been comfortable with. Though some senior leaders, particularly Premier Li Keqiang, are urging a new culture of startups and small businesses, Mr. Xi has promoted plans to make already-large state enterprises larger and strengthen their sway over the economy." There are other reasons for the crackdown too: one is the still fresh memory of what happened in Japan when it did the exact same thing. China is acutely aware that as Japan rose to economic prominence in the 1980s, its companies splurged on American real estate and other trophy assets, resulting in losses that cascaded through Japan’s banking sector. But mostly, it is about power and control: Mr. Tao, the Beijing lawyer, says the government’s new aggressive posture is driven in large measure by a need for control. “State-owned assets, whether in China or abroad, are still state assets,” he said. “But when private entrepreneurs take their money out, it’s gone. It’s no longer something that China can benefit from or the Chinese government can get a handle on.” And since in any power struggle between Chinese companies and Beijing in general, and Xi Jinping in particular, the latter will always win, the market's reaction was to violently selloff any big Chinese conglomerate stocks. An early sign of government discomfort with overseas spending was Anbang’s unsuccessful $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in 2016. Authorities expressed displeasure with the bold move, believing that Anbang had offered too much, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Anbang, which had appeared unstoppable in 2014 when it struck a $2 billion deal to buy the U.S. Waldorf Astoria hotel, fell deeper in trouble. This past June, special government investigators looking into economic crimes detained Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, who hasn’t appeared in public since. Separately, in the case of Wanda, regulators acted in the belief the company overpaid in efforts to expand beyond shopping centers and hotels and into entertainment, according to the people with knowledge of the action. Its largest such acquisition was of Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood producer and financier behind films including “Jurassic World” and “The Dark Knight.” Wanda spent $3.5 billion to buy Legendary in 2016; In Hollywood, industry insiders widely believed the company paid too much. Legendary said this week that it is well-capitalized, operating normally and able to fund its film and television productions. As for HNA, recall that it was the stealthy buyer of Anthony Scaramucci's SkyBridge Capital, another deal which will soon fall under tremendous scrutiny, and which could be unwound in the coming weeks if concerns about conflicts of interest emerge again, only this time not between the US and Russia - especially once the "Russia collusion" story is finally over - but the White House and Beijing.

18 июля, 16:56

What’ll Happen to US Commercial Real Estate as Chinese Money Dries Up?

In the second quarter in Manhattan, Chinese entities accounted for half of the commercial real estate purchases with prices over $10 million. By comparison, in 2011 through 2014, total cross-border purchases from all over the world (not just from China) were in the mid-20% range. “At a time when domestic investors have pulled back, foreign parties have ramped up their holdings in Manhattan,” according to Avison Young’s Second Quarter Manhattan Market Report. This includes the $2.2 billion purchase in May of 245 Park Avenue by the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, the sixth largest transaction ever in Manhattan. And at $1,282 per square foot, it was “among the highest price per pound for this type of asset.” The purchase of the 45-story trophy tower is being funded in part by money borrowed in the US via a $508 million loan from JPMorgan Chase, Natixis, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and Societe Generale, according to CommercialCafé. The rest is funded by HNA’s other sources, presumably in China. The influx of Chinese money and the propensity by Chinese companies to hunt down trophy assets have propped up prices in Manhattan. And yet, despite the Chinese hunger, total sales volume has plunged, according to Avison Young: At the end of the first half of 2017, the annualized forecast of total transaction volume was on pace to be 40% lower than 2016, and a 60% drop-off from 2015. At the current pace, 2017 is shaping up to have the lowest sales count since the period from 2008 to 2010, the last market trough. Dollar volumes tell a similar story at the year’s halfway mark. The first quarter’s $3.2 billion in dollar transactions was improved to $5.6 billion in the second quarter, but this increase was largely attributable to a single $2.2 billion purchase while the first quarter lacked any billion dollar transactions. From the third quarter of 2013 through the second quarter of 2016, the Manhattan market averaged 141 transactions per quarter and never recorded less than 112 in that 12-quarter span. In the trailing four quarters ending 2Q 2017, the average transaction count dropped to 71, with the most recent tally [in Q2] at 66 for this second quarter. This chart by Avison Young shows the peak in 2015 and the plunge since (click to enlarge): That’s the gloomy data on investment activity. Office leasing activity, the underpinning of the office market, isn’t exactly booming either. According to Avison Young’s report, office leasing volume in the second quarter plunged 32% year-over-year to 5.0 million square feet. Both in Midtown and Downtown, leasing volume in Q2 plunged 35%. In Midtown, the vacancy rate rose to 11.0%, up from 10.1% a year ago; Downtown, it rose to 12.1%, up from 10.4% a year ago. So the Chinese money is sorely needed to prop up the market. “Since the beginning of 2013, Chinese companies alone have poured nearly $18 billion into Manhattan real estate,” the report says, but cautions: “This flow of funds, however, may soon be threatened.” Last year, the Chinese government got serious about imposing capital control. This year, it’s trying to crack down on lenders to get a grip on the ballooning risks threatening its financial system.Just over the weekend, top Chinese authorities struggled at the National Financial Work Conference with the rampant risk-taking and leverage. The Wall Street Journal: Fear permeated markets, which tumbled Monday after President Xi Jinping gave a speech that supported efforts to tamp down complicated lending along with other financial-system risks. Frightened investors – seeing room for yet more policy tightening after cheery GDP growth data – are now searching for signs of the regulators’ next hit. At hand is an ever-growing asset-management industry – now around 60 trillion yuan ($8.8 trillion) – and the deepening nexus of banks, brokers, trusts and insurance companies. The central bank elaborated on the linkages it uncovered in the asset-management industry in its recently published financial-stability report. That is likely telling of where regulators will go digging. If regulators do take on the asset-management business, it could spell trouble for corporate borrowers. Corporate bonds account for more than 40% of underlying assets in wealth-management products sold by banks. Asset managers have been the only active buyers of these bonds so far this year. On Monday, following the conference, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.4%, and the small-cap index, ChiNext, which includes a lot of tech companies, plunged 5.1%, to the lowest level since January 2015. China’s crackdown on leverage and fund-flows already had some consequences in the US and elsewhere: quashing a slew of Chinese cross-border deals, including Anbang Insurance Group’s $14 billion bid to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts. These efforts by Chinese authorities to get financial risks and capital flows under control could have the effect, according Avison Young’s report, that “the major Chinese players may be regulated out of the market.” And with Manhattan being “a primary target for funds, it is likely to experience the greatest impact.” This will happen just when domestic buyers have lost their appetite for overpriced commercial real estate after a breath-taking seven-year boom. The report identified “near-term impediments” to the commercial property market, among them: “Chinese governmental regulations on capital allocations outside the country.” “General investor sentiment.” “Rising interest rates.” Pre-recession 10-year commercial mortgages that have been packaged into Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities that are now struggling to refinance. Ratings agencies have also been warning about CMBS. “Slumping residential market, slow condo sales, and heavy concessions in rental market” as asking rents have been declining. “Dearth of construction financing and stalled construction sites needing funding.” “E-retail depressing brick-and-mortar retail values.” This meltdown has reached the Crown Jewel in American retailing as seen in haunting photos of Shuttered Stores on Madison Avenue But unlike last time, there’s no Financial Crisis tripping up the property market. Stocks and bonds are booming. Wall Street is exuberant. There’s “no catastrophic event causing the current correction,” as the report explains. In other words, these are still the best of times. And it’s not just in Manhattan. Chilling photos of for-lease signs are lining the Great America Parkway in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley. Read… Silicon Valley Begins to Crack Visibly

14 июля, 23:38

The Rise of WeWork: An IPO on the Horizon?

Now operating 156 locations in 15 countries that host 120,000 members, WeWork has exploded over the last seven years. But how has this start-up used the sharing economy to become the success it is today? Will WeWork IPO in 2017?

14 июля, 00:35

U.S. Hotel Industry Outlook - July 2017

U.S. Hotel Industry Outlook - July 2017

11 июля, 00:04

Aloft подступает к Москве

Структура Внешэкономбанка (ВЭБ) – «ВЭБ капитал» ведет переговоры с крупнейшим в мире гостиничным оператором Marriott International об управлении отелями, запланированными в проекте многофункционального комплекса (МФК) на территории второго московского часового завода «Слава» на Ленинградском проспекте. Об этом «Ведомостям» рассказали три консультанта, работавших с проектом; информацию подтвердил один из партнеров банка. Правда, из-за постоянной смены концепции комплекса договоренности между сторонами не окончательны, отметил он. Гостиничный оператор Starwood Hotel & Resorts проводил заключение по операционным затратам на гостиничный комплекс проекта, сказано в отчете завода «Слава» за 2016 г. Осенью прошлого года Marriott International приобрела Starwood Hotel & Resorts за $13,6 млрд.

11 июля, 00:04

В Москве может появиться первая гостиница Aloft

Структура Внешэкономбанка (ВЭБ) – «ВЭБ капитал» ведет переговоры с крупнейшим в мире гостиничным оператором Marriott International об управлении отелями, запланированными в проекте многофункционального комплекса (МФК) на территории второго московского часового завода «Слава» на Ленинградском проспекте. Об этом «Ведомостям» рассказали три консультанта, работавших с проектом; информацию подтвердил один из партнеров банка. Правда, из-за постоянной смены концепции комплекса договоренности между сторонами не окончательны, отметил он. Гостиничный оператор Starwood Hotel & Resorts проводил заключение по операционным затратам на гостиничный комплекс проекта, сказано в отчете завода «Слава» за 2016 г. Осенью прошлого года Marriott International приобрела Starwood Hotel & Resorts за $13,6 млрд.

07 июля, 16:40

Marriot's (MAR) W Hotels Brand Marks its Entry in Shanghai

W Hotels Worldwide recently announced the opening of W Shanghai - The Bund.

04 июля, 12:01

Куба после Фиделя: первый Kempinski открыт

В 2017 году иностранные компании строят на Кубе 110 отелей

Выбор редакции
22 июня, 15:00

The Ritz-Carlton Is Diving Into The Yachting Cruise Market With Three Ships

Last year Marriott International's big news was buying Starwood Hotels and Resorts. This year it's launching a cruise line under The Ritz-Carlton flag. We talk to luxury brand's President and COO Herve Humler about the official announcement later this morning.

19 июня, 20:07

Did Trump Revive Failed Cold War Cuba Policy To Buy Rubio’s Loyalty?

Donald Trump has made clear that there’s little room in his “America First” foreign policy for pressure on authoritarian foreign governments—whether Russia, Saudi Arabia, or China—to improve their human rights record. The one exception is Cuba where, on Friday, he reimposed failed Cold War sanctions, ostensibly to pressure Cuba to improve human rights. Trump’s Cuba move had been opposed by the Departments of Commerce, Defense, State, Treasury, Agriculture and Homeland Security; by the generally Republican-leaning Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers; and by Human Rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, all of whom believe that Americas 57-year old policy of isolating Cuba has been a failure and is bad for Americans and Cubans. As former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote, Trump’s new hard line Cuba policies, “will hurt ordinary Cubans, harm the image of the United States, and make it harder for Americans to do business and travel somewhere they want to go.” A CORRUPT DEAL BETWEEN TRUMP AND RUBIO? But as reported by The Miami Herald, Politico, and Mother Jones, one man in particular—Marco Rubio—intensively lobbied Trump behind the scenes to reimpose sanctions. Trump sided with Rubio, who was standing directly behind Trump as he announced his new Cuba policy. Rubio, in turn, defended Trump against Comey in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. The headline to a Washington Post article on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Comey hearings read, “Rubio defends Trump in Comey Questioning”. As Miami Herald journalist Fabiola Santiogo wrote, Rubio seemed more interested in getting Comey to publicly admit that President Trump ‘was not personally under investigation’ than in obtaining any new evidence for the Senate investigation. It was as if Rubio…was acting as Trump’s defense attorney instead of as a member of a bipartisan committee investigating crucial national security issues. Hmm... it’s fair to ask if there was an implicit or explicit deal here? Trump reinstates sanctions on Cuba; Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee― which is actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and now possible obstruction of justice—goes easy on Trump and hard on Comey and uses his position on the Intelligence Committee to defend Trump. Indeed, it’s fair to ask if such a possible deal between Trump and Rubio itself constituted Obstruction of Justice. Special Prosecutor Mueller and Congressional Committees should require Rubio, Rubio staff members, and others with knowledge of the dealings between Trump and Rubio on Cuba policy to answer whether Trump directly or indirectly asked for Rubio’s loyalty in the Russia investigation, or at least for Rubio to go easy, and whether Rubio directly or indirectly promised any loyalty in exchange for Trump accepting Rubio’s Cuba policy. THE RUSSIA CONNECTION Adding to the suspicions, Trump’s policy of isolating Cuba from America helps Russia. The loss of revenues from American tourists and business will likely lead Cuba to turn back to Russia as an economic, and even military, patron. Russian has recently forgiven billions of dollars of debt owed by Cuba and become a major supplier of oil to Cuba, replacing Venezuala which has its own economic crisis. There is talk of Russia reopening military bases in Cuba, which could put Russian signal intelligence 90 miles from US shores. As Sen. Patrick Leahy wrote in an op-ed piece last week, One obvious way to mitigate Russian influence in our hemisphere is through enhanced engagement with Cuba…As two retired US military generals wrote in an op-ed in Politico last month, cooperation with Cuba has been a game changer for regional security. Since the thaw in US-Cuba relations, our two governments have signed nine formal bilateral agreements on issues related to matters of national security, including human trafficking, counter-narcotics, and cybersecurity. Why cast aside this opportunity to coordinate on cross border and maritime law enforcement…and instead cede the playing field to Putin? Hmm, again... Trump’s new policy of isolating Cuba helps Russia and Putin. More grounds for questions from Mueller and Congressional Committees. TRUMP LINING HIS OWN POCKETS? Finally, Trump Cuba policies may gain him personal economic advantage over The Trump Organization’s competitors in the hotel industry. Starwood Hotels, which was recently acquired by Marriot, has negotiated deals to manage several hotels in Cuba, some of which are partly owned by Gaviota, a tourism company owned by the Cuban military, which, in socialist Cuba, is widely involved in the Cuban economy. Other major American hotel chains hope to use the Starwood deal as a template for their own expansion into Cuba. These efforts by the American hotel industry to invest in Cuba will likely be slowed or halted by Trump’s new Cuba sanctions. But Trump himself told CNN last year that he would like to open a hotel in Cuba “at the right time.” And The Trump Organization has been exploring investing in Cuba hotels as early as 1998, sometimes in violation of US law. According to Newsweek, A company controlled by Donald Trump…secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings. Documents show that the Trump company spend a minimum of $68,000 for its 1968 foray into Cuba at a time when corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. In 2012 and 2013, Trump Organization officials again travelled to Cuba—also possibly in violation of US law ― to explore opportunities to open golf courses, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The Trump official included Trump Organization executive V.P. Larry Glick, environmental consultant for golf Edward Russo, chief legal officer Jason Greenblatt, and Trump golf executive Rob Lieberman. Russo referred questions about the trips to Eric Trump who responded, “[M]any major competitors have sought opportunities in Cuba… [I]t is important for us to understand the dynamics of the markets that our competitors are exploring.” Hmm, hmm, hmm a third time... Trump’s new Cuba sanctions will harm his business competitors like Marriott/Starwood and potentially give the Trump Organization time to catch up before his competitors get too far ahead in establishing American-managed hotels in Cuba. Along with gaining little Marco’s help in the Russia and conflict of interest investigations, and aiding Russian interests in Cuba, are Trump’s new hard-line Cuba policies designed to help his own personal business interests? There’s plenty here for Special Counsel Mueller and Congressional Committees to investigate in connection with Trump’s decision to reimpose Cold War Sanctions on Cuba—potential Obstruction of Justice, foreign policy moves that help Russia, and possible conflicts of interest with Trump’s businesses. Things could start to get even more interesting. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 июня, 14:24

5 Reasons that Make Marriott (MAR) a Compelling Stock to Buy

We believe that Marriott International, Inc.'s (MAR) unmatched portfolio of lodging brands, an increased demand for travel, and continual expansion efforts will pave the way for its growth this year.

16 июня, 16:53

Donald Trump's 'America Second' Cuba Policy

The president is pursuing a course that will harm American citizens––and that may help his family’s business interests by hurting its corporate rivals.

16 июня, 16:53

Donald Trump's 'America Second' Cuba Policy

The president is pursuing a course that will harm American citizens––and that may help his family’s business interests by hurting its corporate rivals.

16 июня, 13:39

N.Y. DAILY NEWS: Trump’s new NY HUD director planned Eric Trump’s wedding, has no housing experience -- DEMS drub GOP at baseball game -- A RECORD 24,959 tickets sold -- PENCE hires McGuireWoods’ Cullen -- B’DAY: Bres

Good Friday morning. THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: “President Trump chooses inexperienced woman who planned his son Eric’s wedding to run N.Y. federal housing programs,” by Greg Smith: “She’s arranged tournaments at Trump golf courses, served as the liaison to the Trump family during his presidential campaign, and even arranged Eric Trump’s wedding. Now President Trump has appointed longtime loyalist Lynne Patton -- who has zero housing experience and claims a law degree the school says she never earned -- to run the office that oversees federal housing programs in New York. “Patton was appointed Wednesday to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, where she’ll oversee distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars. Patton’s tight relationship with the Trump clan dates back to 2009, when she began serving as the family’s ‘event planner.’ … She also claims on her LinkedIn page to have obtained a juris doctorate degree in 2000 from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut. Next to the J.D. notation is written (N/A) without explanation. On Thursday school registrar Jim Benson said Patton attended for two semesters but did not graduate. She also listed Yale University but HUD officials couldn’t explain why that was there. Patton, who begins her Region II job July 5, did not return calls seeking comment.“As head of the biggest HUD regional office in the U.S., Patton will oversee distribution of billions in cash to public housing authorities -- including NYCHA -- as well as tens of thousands of rental vouchers and block grants that fund housing inspections and senior citizen programs.” http://nydn.us/2sikxU8 -- N.Y. DAILY NEWS COVER: “She planned Eric Trump’s nups & falsely touts law degree. Now Prez has decided new housing boss in N.Y. is ... THE WEDDING SCAMMER” http://nydn.us/2turnp6 -- LYNNE’S LinkedIn page says she has the following specialties: “Public Engagement, Community Outreach & Revitalization, Strategic Networking, High-Net Worth Fundraising, Client Ambassador, Celebrity Talent Acquisition, Event Planning, Promotions, Social Media Strategy, Philanthropic Auctions & Tournaments, Public & Media Relations.” http://bit.ly/2ryfdiE THE U.S. is sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, per the AP. http://apne.ws/2s88SsE Donald Trump ran for president saying he’d end foreign entanglements. PRESIDENT TRUMP is going to Miami today to announce changes to the U.S. policy toward Cuba. FLASH -- AP at 5:09 a.m.: “Russia claims it has killed IS leader al-Baghdadi,” by Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow: “The Russian Defense Ministry said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in late May along with other senior group commanders. There had been previous reports of al-Baghdadi being killed but they did not turn out to be true. The IS leader last released an audio on Nov. 3, urging his followers to keep up the fight for Mosul as they defend the city against a major offensive that began weeks earlier. The spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition said in a statement Friday he could not confirm the Russian claim.” http://apne.ws/2rCXIJ5 THE CONGRESSIONAL BASEBALL SCORE -- 11-2, DEMOCRATS WIN. RACHAEL BADE and KYLE CHENEY bring us the scene from the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park: “Rodney Davis stood in the shadow of the Nationals Park scoreboard and wiped away a tear. Just a day earlier, the Republican congressman from Illinois — and catcher for the Republican congressional baseball team -- watched his colleague Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, get shot on a practice baseball field in Virginia, while other lawmakers and aides scrambled for cover. …“‘This is what our country needs after such a tragic act,’ said Davis, his arm still scabbed and scraped from diving away from the gunman’s bullets on Wednesday….Florida Democrat Charlie Crist was spotted walking around in a suit, a young staffer trailing him carrying his suit jacket.” http://politi.co/2ttQWGH -- COLD WATER ALERT. This is a kumbaya moment -- and we’d emphasize moment. It is, of course, impossible to predict the future. Remember: a gunman shot then-Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords in the head. Nothing changed. We’re skeptical much will change this time. Speaker Paul Ryan told Jake Tapper on CNN that “we can have different ideas without being vitriolic.” Yes, they can. But there is no evidence to show they will. We hope we’re wrong. TAPPER had a joint interview with Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, and Anderson Cooper had Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. A good night for CNN. -- COOPER got this gem of an interaction. Classic line from McConnell when asked about Trump calling the investigation a witch hunt: COOPER: "President Trump made a statement last night with Congressman Scalise. It was getting bipartisan praise for his tone. Today tweeting about -- calling this a witch hunt against him, just talking about the people leading it being disturbed, I think was his term, or conflicted. Is that appropriate? MCCONNELL: "I typically don't comment on the president's tweeting habits." COOPER: "Do you think it is a witch hunt?" MCCONNELL: "I don't have any observations about that. We had here an example of a horrendous event that we all condemn, and we're here together tonight to make the point to the American people that there's a whole lot of cooperation in the Congress, even though it may not be covered, on a daily basis."THE WHITE HOUSE SHOWED UP! -- “At congressional baseball game, newfound unity has its limits,” by Yahoo’s Hunter Walker: “As she talked to Yahoo News, [Kellyanne] Conway spotted top White House adviser Gary Cohn, who was in a dark suit. She called Cohn over. ‘Look how Gary Cohn dresses for a baseball game. He dresses like Gary Cohn! Gary come here!’ Conway beckoned. ‘He came out of the womb looking like that,’ quipped Mulvaney as Cohn strolled over. ‘This is New York chic,’ said Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs banker. As Cohn posed for photos with Conway, Mulvaney reached over and put an LSU hat on his head. Cohn couldn’t see the cap. ‘Does it make me a hillbilly?’ Cohn asked. ‘We couldn’t make you a hillbilly if we tried,’ Mulvaney said.” https://yhoo.it/2ttWtNu NYT NATIONAL BASEBALL WRITER TYLER KEPNER on the game. Good nugget: “A record 24,959 tickets were sold for the charity exhibition -- a higher attendance than Thursday’s major league games in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota and Oakland.” http://nyti.ms/2rmUQAK CLICKERS -- “Prayers and pitches: Scenes from the congressional baseball game” -- 33 pix http://politi.co/2rCV4Tz … 27 PHOTOS by the Washington Post http://wapo.st/2rCXhhC SPOTTED at the Anheuser-Busch and Buffalo Wild Wings game watch party in the PNC Diamond Club: Sean and Rebecca Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Reps. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), John Delaney (R-Md.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Carl Hulse, Cate Martel, Naomi Jagoda, Allison Brennan, Roland Foster, Kate Pointer.-- Photo of Tyson’s lobbyist Matt Mika’s friends and colleagues http://bit.ly/2t9fXI4 THE LATEST ON SCALISE -- RACHAEL BADE: “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican shot during a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, is doing better but remains in critical condition and will be hospitalized for an extended period of time, according to a statement from his doctors. MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement Thursday evening that Scalise underwent another surgery ‘related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg.’ ‘He remains in critical condition, but has improved in the last 24 hours,’ the statement said. ‘The Congressman will require additional operations, and will be in the hospital for some time. At the request of the family, we will continue to provide periodic updates.’” Bade on the emotional times on the Hill http://politi.co/2swDk15-- KEY LINE HERE: Scalise will be hospitalized for an “extended period of time.” This will be a long recovery.THE NEXT FRONTIER -- “Rattled by shooting, lawmakers want more personal protection,” by Seung Min Kim and Rachael Bade: “Lawmakers are debating a range of heightened security measures following Wednesday’s shooting that critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, with a growing number of Republicans even seeking to carry their own guns into the Capitol for personal safety. Rattled by the mass shooting by a gunman with an apparent political agenda, lawmakers are struggling with how to balance ensuring security for members of Congress while keeping themselves accessible to voters. “The gamut of options includes new rules ramping up the law enforcement presence at big group events with lawmakers, equipping Capitol Police with more advanced weapons, and allowing individual members to spend taxpayer or campaign dollars on personal security measures. And several GOP lawmakers want the green light to bring their personal firearms onto Capitol grounds, a move that immediately alarmed Democrats who favor tougher gun restrictions.” http://politi.co/2ry7KQy-- MANY LAWMAKERS have mused about each getting their own Capitol Police officer. But that would be a hugely pricey government expense. ON THE ALLEGED GUNMAN -- “Scalise Gunman Dodged 2006 Charge That Would Bar Gun Purchases,” by Bloomberg’s Ari Natter: “James Hodgkinson, 66, was arrested after a 2006 incident in which he was accused of beating his foster daughter, according to court records. The case crumbled after the victim decided not to testify ... Under federal law, someone found guilty of domestic battery of a family member can be barred from legally owning a firearm.” https://bloom.bg/2ttKeR1WAPO’S ASHLEY PARKER, the pride of Montgomery County, scooped that Vice President Mike Pence has hired Richard Cullen, the chairman of McGuireWoods, to represent him. http://wapo.st/2s7VoNE MATT NUSSBAUM reminds us that McGuireWoods also once employed Jim Comey! And the firm also currently represents former Rep. Aaron Schock, who is facing 24 counts of criminal charges related to alleged crimes during his time in office. SCOOP -- “Trump transition officials ordered to save Russia documents,” by Josh Dawsey: “Aides and volunteers on Donald Trump’s presidential transition were instructed Thursday to save any records related to ‘several pending investigations into potential attempts by Russia interests to influence the 2016 election,’ according to a memo provided to POLITICO. In the memo from a transition lawyer, campaign officials were told to preserve all documents related to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and a number of campaign advisers and officials, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, advisers Carter Page, Rick Gates and Roger Stone, and former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.” http://politi.co/2sFQA36-- GOLDEN BOY ALERT: “Special counsel is investigating Jared Kushner’s business dealings,” by WaPo’s Sari Horowitz, Matt Zapotosky and Adam Entous: “FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Carter Page, who was listed as a foreign-policy adviser for the campaign.” http://wapo.st/2shPVCa THE PUSHBACK -- “Rosenstein prods media for ‘anonymous allegations’ on Russia probe,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “A top Trump Justice Department official issued an unusual, vague statement Thursday night, casting doubt on a series of recent media reports detailing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's growing probe into the Trump campaign for potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared to be taking issue with recent Washington Post and New York Times stories that President Donald Trump himself is now the subject of an obstruction of justice probe, as well as a separate new report from the Post that Mueller is looking into White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s finances. ..."’Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country - let alone the branch or agency of government - with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated,’ Rosenstein said. ‘Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.’ “Rosenstein’s statement caught many in Washington off guard, in part because it was so generic and didn't actually specify which news reports it was addressing. It’s also notable because of who issued it: With Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused from all things related to the Russia probe, Rosenstein as the No. 2 DOJ official has the reins over the Mueller probe. He’ll get Mueller’s budget and he also has the power to block major investigative steps -- with the caveat he must report to Congress if that happens.” http://politi.co/2ttUBEo--@jbarro: “The Washington Post has updated the Kushner story to reflect the officials cited are indeed U.S. officials.”JOSH DAWSEY, “White House aides fret over Trump’s Russia probe obsession”: “The greatest threat to Trump and his presidency, say administration officials and outside advisers, comes from his own conduct and obsessive behavior after he took office. While congressional and FBI investigations may prove Trump or his team broke laws before he took office, his advisers say they’re more worried that the things he’s done since the inauguration may have left him exposed to obstruction of justice or other charges. Trump, for months, has bristled almost daily about the ongoing probes. He has sometimes, without prompting, injected. ‘I’m not under investigation’ into conversations with associates and allies. He has watched hours of TV coverage every day -- sometimes even storing morning news shows on his TiVo to watch in the evening -- and complained nonstop.” http://politi.co/2sFWm4NTHE COUNSEL -- “Mueller, Known for Being Above the Fray, Is Now in the Thick of It,” by NYT’s Scott Shane and Charlie Savage: “Veterans of past Washington battles on the borders of law and politics said that the president’s pushback was to be expected, but that its ferocity and timing were unusual. Just one month into the job, Mr. Mueller has not yet finished hiring staff members or installing a computer network -- deliberately segregated from the main Justice Department -- in the Patrick Henry Building in downtown Washington.“‘It’s early in the game to begin to impugn the prosecutors,’ said Philip Allen Lacovara, a Watergate prosecutor and a Republican. ‘It’s a pre-emptive nuclear strike. If you’re afraid of what the prosecutors are going to find out, you try to debunk anything they might come up with in advance by attacking them.’” http://nyti.ms/2shLOX2JUST POSTED -- POLITICO MAGAZINE'S TIM ALBERTA: "Man on a Wire: Mike Pence’s Tightrope Act... He might be the most consequential vice president ever. He could well be the next commander in chief. And the one person in America he can’t have thinking about that is his boss." http://politi.co/2tunArX SHOCKING! -- “Senate likely to miss its Obamacare repeal deadline,” by Jen Haberkorn: “Senate Republicans are getting dangerously close to missing their deadline to hold a Senate health care vote by month’s end, potentially derailing fulfillment of their seven-year-old campaign promise to repeal Obamacare. The Senate left Washington on Thursday with a seemingly insurmountable health care to-do list: When they return on Monday, Republicans will have just two weeks before the Fourth of July recess to overcome the remaining big divides on policy – including what year to roll back Medicaid expansion and how deeply to cut the program that covers health care for low-income people. They also must settle on how to bring down health insurance premiums and when to cut the taxes that paid for Obamacare -- not to mention the vexing issue of whether to defund Planned Parenthood.” http://politi.co/2rDiWGuALEX ISENSTADT, “GOP sirens blaze over Georgia special election”: “The GOP is bracing for the prospect of a loss in Tuesday’s Georgia’s special election that could have far-reaching implications for President Donald Trump and his party’s fortunes in 2018. As grim confidential polling data circulates among GOP strategists, interviews with nearly two dozen Republican operatives and officials reveal that they are preparing for the possibility of an unnerving defeat that could spur lawmakers to distance themselves from Trump and his already-troubled legislative agenda, and potentially encourage a wave of retirements. ...“While Republicans privately lampoon Ossoff’s campaign skills -- deriding him as an inexperienced, talking-point driven candidate -- they acknowledge his cash advantage has made him a lethal opponent. ‘We’re going to find out if a monkey banging cymbals together spending $25 million can get elected,’ the NRCC’s executive director John Rogers told a group of Capitol Hill chiefs of staff this week, said one person present for the meeting. His meaning was clear to those in attendance: Ossoff might seem like a mechanical candidate, but he had to be taken seriously.” http://politi.co/2rxCDocSORRY MEGYN! Alex Jones says he will release a tape of his entire day with Megyn Kelly tonight. http://bit.ly/2swg9mM Her interview is slated to run Sunday. -- PAGE SIX: “Megyn Kelly interview completely overhauled after backlash” http://pge.sx/2ry1R5Q FASCINATING LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES -- “At Last, Jeff Bezos Offers a Hint of His Philanthropic Plans,” by NYT’s Robert Frank: Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, is well on his way to becoming the richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $80 billion. What’s less certain is what he plans to do with his fortune, and how he could reinvent philanthropy.“On Thursday, after questions from The New York Times about the level of his giving, Mr. Bezos posted on Twitter a ‘request for ideas’ for philanthropy. ‘I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time -- working on the long term,’ he wrote. ‘For philanthropy, I find I’m drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now.’” http://nyti.ms/2rncunL TRUMP INC. -- “With shift on Cuba, Trump could undercut his company’s hotel-industry rivals,” by WaPo’s Drew Harwell and Jonathan O'Connell: “[A]s the owner of a real estate company with a big stake in hotels and resorts, Trump brings an added element to an issue that is unique to his presidency — the ability, through his official actions, to undermine a growth area for his industry rivals who have raced in recent years to establish a foothold in a lucrative new market. Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which merged with Marriott International to form the world’s largest hotel chain, last year debuted the first Cuban hotel managed by a U.S. company in nearly 60 years, taking advantage of President Barack Obama’s 2014 move to normalize relations with Cuba and lighten regulations enforcing the U.S. embargo on the island.” http://wapo.st/2sFYZUgK-STREET FILES -- “Sudan Ramps Up Washington Lobbying as Sanctions Deadline Looms,” by Bloomberg’s Jen Jacobs and Nick Wadhams: “Sudan is on the cusp of ending its long status as a pariah in Washington, and the African nation is bolstering its stable of lobbyists to ensure that it happens soon. The government of President Umar al-Bashir -- which is listed by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism -- has hired Washington law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP at a cost of $40,000 a month to lobby on its behalf as part of its accelerating campaign to ensure that President Donald Trump permanently lifts sanctions against the country ahead of a deadline next month, according to a filing with the Justice Department.” https://bloom.bg/2t8WIhPBREAKING LATE LAST NIGHT -- “Trump won’t alter status of current Dreamers,” by Josh Gerstein: “President Donald Trump’s administration has issued its most explicit promise to date that so-called Dreamers can keep their permission to work legally in the U.S. ‘No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates,’ the Department of Homeland Security said in guidance posted on its website Thursday night. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said recently that the administration is not seeking to deport those who received quasi-legal status under a policy President Barack Obama adopted in 2012. However, the new statement from DHS seems to be a forward-looking promise not to take action against those in the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, an initiative for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children.” http://politi.co/2shGwLcLISTEN IN -- The Pollsters -- Kristen Soltis Anderson and Margie Omero -- had Anna on their podcast to talk all things Playbook. The bipartisan duo is @thepollsters on Twitter and Facebook. Listen and subscribe http://apple.co/2jJaEKUHOW A STREET IN BROOKLYN IS CHANGING THE ENERGY GRID: The shared economy is flourishing, with companies like Airbnb and Lyft capitalizing on the growing popularity of shared services. Can their success be replicated in the energy industry? In the latest installment of POLITICO Magazine’s “What Works” series, we look at Brooklyn-based LO3 that devised a micro grid system that uses a phone app and smart meters to enable neighbors with solar panels to strike deals amongst themselves on the amount of electricity they buy from each other and at what price. We also look at the revitalization of Tampa, Florida – a broken down deep water port revitalized after 40 years of public and private investment. Read more on Tampa’s revitalization http://politi.co/2tsAvuq … about Brooklyn’s energy grid http://politi.co/2rwOymb … Photo gallery http://politi.co/2szxlsjSUNDAY SO FAR – “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) ... Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) ... Jay Sekulow ... Robert Scheer. Panel: Brit Hume, Julie Pace, Lisa Boothe, Juan Williams-- CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) ... Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Political panel: Ramesh Ponnuru, Phil Rucker, Nancy Cordes, and Jamelle Bouie-- NBC’s “Meet the Press”: panel: David Brooks, Danielle Pletka, Amy Walters and Eugene Robinson-- CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) ... Jay Sekulow ... Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)-- CNN’s “Inside Politics”: Karoun Demirjian, Abby Phillip, Jeff Zeleny, Phil MattinglySPOTTED: Georgetown coach and NBA legend Patrick Ewing stopping by Wolf Blitzer’s table at Cafe Milano last night to pay his respects ... Carly Fiorina at the American/JetBlue terminal at DCA yesterday.OUT AND ABOUT --- POOL REPORT: “President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attended the official investiture ceremony for Justice Neil Gorsuch Thursday afternoon at the Supreme Court. After the other eight justices took their seats on the dais, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein presented the Justice’s commission, which was read by the court’s clerk. Chief Justice Roberts then administered the judicial oath to Justice Gorsuch. The courtroom was filled with friends and family of the Justice, as well as his devoted clerks Mike Davis, Jameel Jaffer, Janie Nitze, Matt Owen, and David Feder.”-- SPOTTED: retired Justice John Paul Stevens, Maureen Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), (who voted against Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Don McGahn (whose birthday is today) and wife Shannon, Mark Paoletta, Marc Short, Makan Delrahim, James Burnham, Mike McGinley, Chris Grieco, Lucas Walker, Leonard Leo, Jonathan Bunch, Rob Collins, Ann Donaldson, Ed Whelan, Michael Keneally, Liz Horning, Gustav Eyler, Ryan Newman, Brett Talley, Patrick Bumatay, Wan Kim, Eric Tung, Tobi and Evan Young, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Kenneth Starr, Liz Johnson, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Bopp, Rachel Brand, Greg Katsas, Ted Lehman, Theresa Wardon, Nicole Gustafson, Greg Garre, Megan Lacey.-- Last night, the Picnic Theatre Company staged its second sold-out performance of Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” at Dumbarton House gardens, directed by Steve Rochlin and featuring Christina Sevilla, Emily Lenzner, Nova Daly, Charles Kovatch, Fran Holuba, Daniela Kelley, Antonio Olivo, Kevin Rooney and Bob Gerber. Pics http://bit.ly/2sifLpL … http://bit.ly/2s8bZ3O SPOTTED: Peter Cherukuri, Jay Newton-Small, Anu Rangappa, Matea Gold, Jon Lenzner, Debbie Berger, Courtney Carlson, Amb. Abdulwahab Al-Hajjri, Amb. Tatiana Gfoeller, Sanna Kangasharju, David Van Ongevalle, Andreas Ledergerber and Andy Oros.-- Collective SuperPAC, a national PAC dedicated to building black political power, kicked off the first ever Black Campaign School with a special reception last night at the Blackburn Center at Howard University. The event was co-sponsored by Priorities USA, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and ActBlue. SPOTTED: Quentin and Stefanie Brown James, Stacey Abrams, Shavonda Sumter, Tishaura Jones, Guy Cecil, Donna Brazile, Symone Sanders, Jamal Simmons, Leah Daughtry, Dan McNally and Tim Lim.-- Longtime friends and colleagues of Carolyn Brehm gathered at Jones Day last night to celebrate her retirement and welcome Selina Jackson into her position as VP of global government affairs for Proctor & Gamble. SPOTTED: Amb. Richard Boucher, Jay Timmons, Joel Johnson, Poppy McDonald, William Lane, Sean Mulvaney, Mike Prentiss, Richard Goodstein, Ira Shapiro, Sean Broderick, DJ Peterson.TRANSITIONS – KIKI BURGER has started at PR firm Sunshine Sachs, where she’s helping manage political and non-profit clients out of their LA office. She is an alum of Rock the Vote and Susan G. Komen. … Linda Chavez, the president of the Becoming American Institute and a syndicated columnist, has joined the Niskanen Center as a senior fellow.WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- POLITICO night editor Craig Howie (who helps edit Playbook on the weekend), and wife, Niki, a landscape designer at Through the Garden, early this morning welcomed Leif Diño Howie, born 2:52 a.m. in Winchester, Va., to 7lb 14oz. “Everyone happy and healthy hooray!” Pic http://bit.ly/2si1VUo -- Joanne Denyeau, planning producer at MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” and Mike Kramer, SVP at Westchester Chubb company, recently welcomed Ruth Anne Kramer. “We lovingly call her Ruthie. Ruthie has a big brother, Joey Kramer. He turns 2 in August.” Pic http://bit.ly/2rCZKZxBIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Phil Singer, CEO and founder of Marathon Strategies. How he’s celebrating: “Israel. Kim and I are taking the kids on their first big overseas trip.” How he thinks the Trump presidency is going: “Amazing if you work at the Kremlin.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2sGn8db BIRTHDAYS: Don McGahn is 49 ... Politico’s John Bresnahan and Zach Stanton ... Brandi Hoffine, associate VP for comms and strategy at UC ... NPR’s Steve Inskeep, the pride of Carmel, Indiana … Marcus Brauchli, co-founder and managing partner of North Base Media and a WSJ and WaPo alum ... Phil Cox, founding partner at 50-State and former RGA exec. director, is 43 … former Rep. Robert Hurt (R-Va.) is 48 ... Adam Talbot, director at West Wing Writers ... Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) is 37 ... Jim Dau is 41 ... Indira Lakshmanan, journalism ethics chair at Poynter and columnist for the Boston Globe, celebrating with her husband at Fiola Mare (h/t Nihal Krishan) ... Caity Rogowski (h/t Jon Haber) ... Jenna Galper (h/ts Alexandra De Luca and Helen Brosnan) ... PBS NewsHour politics producer Rachel Wellford (h/ts Nick Massella and Simone Pathe) ... Reid Wilson, national correspondent at The Hill … Liz Bourgeois, executive comms manager at Facebook ... Jessica Boulanger, SVP of comms. at Business Roundtable ... former Amb. Daniel C. Kurtzer is 68 ... Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman is 45 (h/ts Jewish Insider) … Brett Bethune, intern for Sen. Claire McCaskill (R-Mo), is 2-1 (h/t mom Anne) ...... Aaron McLear, director of public affairs for the West at Uber, is 4-0, celebrating at The Battery in SF (h/t Niki Christoff) ... Matt Vari, a digital strategist at Mothership Strategies, email aficionado and Diet Coke enthusiast, is 25 (h/t Jonas Murphy) ... Angie Kelley, VP for immigration policy at CAP ... Reid Wilson, former Clinton EPA ... Sarah Schoeffel ... Matthew Bartlett … WTOP alum Bob Madigan … John Leo ... Snap’s Kara Rivers ... Nicole Luna ... Mark Tapscott … Francisco “Frank” Sanchez, chairman of CNS Global Advisors ... Jill McNaughton … Pat Roth of Phoenix ... Pedro Moreno ... Katie Nelson Thomson ... NPR’s Jessica Taylor ... Joel R. Maliniak ... Jeffrey Block ... Don Harris ... Peter O’Toole, alum of Burson-Marsteller, GE and Pfizer ... David J. Jones ... Jon Kevin Lauck ... Traci Nobles ... John Shaw ... David Eades … Jill McNaughton ... Steve Welchert, star of the 1977-1981 University of Iowa Football team ... Caryl Terrell ... Troy Perry (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... author Joyce Carol Oates is 79 ... golfer Phil Mickelson is 47 (h/ts AP)

16 июня, 12:06

Trump's Cuba Policy Reversal

The president announced changes meant to make it harder to travel and do business with the island.

Выбор редакции
15 июня, 22:36

Anbang Just Became A "Systemic Risk": Revenues Crash 90% As Its Chairman Is "Detained"

As reported earlier this week, overnight Bloomberg confirmed that Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of China's insurance conglomerate which recently made headlines in the US for nearly reaching a deal with Jared Kushner over 666 Fifth Ave., was detained by a joint team of Central Commission for "Discipline Inspection" and police for questioning. It adds that that Chinese investigators who detained Wu are carrying out a wide probe that includes looking into the sources of funding for the firm’s acquisitions overseas, possible market manipulation by insurers, and “economic crimes." The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that investigators were een checking whether Wu - whose fortune last year was calculated to be just over $1 billion - was involved in bribery and other economic crimes at Anbang and that Wu couldn't be contacted for comment. As noted on Wednesday, Anbang said Wu couldn’t perform his duties for personal reasons, a story which has since been disproved.  The authorities are said to be examining Anbang transactions including acquisitions overseas and their funding. According to Bloomberg;s sources, the probe also fits into a broader investigation of possible market manipulation by insurers, although they didn’t specifically define the term “economic crimes.” The action is the result of the government’s crackdown on a sector that is "supposed to help families and companies cut their financial risks, but has recently become a hub for rampant financial speculation." Yet while Wu's fate now appears sealed, swallowed by China and unlikely to reemerge any time soon if ever, questions have emerged about the viability of Anbang Insurance Group itself, which as the NYT reported overnight, has seen its growth come to a "screeching halt" as Chinese investors who helped fund its meteoric rise no longer want to have anything to do with the politically connected company which is "no longer in Beijing’s good graces." Specifically, according to government data released on Thursday, Anbang’s sales of life insurance policies and investment products, an key source of cash, stopped almost completely in April after tumbling sharply in March. It wasn't just Anbang: across the insurance industry, where the (ab)use of Wealth Management Products is prevalent, sales slowed in April compared with earlier in the year. More details: From January through March of this year, Anbang raised three-fifths as much money as it raised all of last year, government data shows. It has maintained a large stockpile of cash after a series of big investments fell apart, including a $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts and a deal for a Manhattan office tower with Kushner Companies, the family real estate firm partly owned by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump and an administration adviser.   But Anbang’s latest figures are eye-catching for the opposite reason. Including new kinds of policies and wealth management products, it took in only $218 million in April this year, down from $5.92 billion in the same month last year, the government data on Thursday showed. That was the biggest Y/Y collapse in the company's premium income on record, and as a result Anbang is now under "acute" financial pressure. The NYT notes that "its revenue from existing life insurance policies and certain wealth management products was down 88 percent in April compared with the same month the previous year. The rest of the industry was up 4.5 percent in the same period." While largely ignored on the list of potential Chinese risk factors, Anbang's troubles could soon become systemic. In early May, Chinese insurance regulators ordered Anbang to stop selling two investment products. One, they said, was improperly marketed as long-term insurance while a crucial application for the other lacked an actuary’s signature. By that point, Anbang was already in trouble. Questions about Anbang’s financial strength had begun circulating on social media in China in March and April, as Chinese officials publicly raised questions about sales of wealth management products by some insurers. If the drop in revenue is steep enough, Anbang could eventually be forced to liquidate assets. A big factor will be what happens with its existing policies and investment products, which comprise China's shadow banking system. As the NYT adds, Anbang’s annual report provides little information on the monthly tempo at which its previously issued investments are maturing. The company might need to pay them out if they are not rolled over into further investments with the company. The company’s policies do have very stiff penalties on early redemption to discourage holders from turning them in early for cash. Anbang could raise money by selling some of its investments, but that could take time. Additionally, the conglomerate, which over the past 3 years was nothing short of the world's most aggressive "roll up" has been an active investor in Western hedge funds, in addition to making outright acquisitions of overseas companies. And those terms tend to impose severe limits on Anbang’s ability to ask for its money back quickly. That said, a firesale of Anbang assets, which include the Waldorf Astoria, should be a fascinating event. The biggest risk from a potential unwind of Anbang, however, is the fate of its billions in  WMP "assets" and whether any troubles at the insurer lead to investor impairment, and a potential run on China's $8.5 billion "shadow bank" considered by many as the Achilles heel of China's massively overlevered financial system.

15 июня, 20:36

Trump to clamp down on Cuba travel and trade

The president’s policy, set to be issued Friday, will roll back Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with the island.

14 июня, 18:15

В Китае задержан глава финансового конгломерата Anbang Insurance

Сегодня утром стало известно, что глава одного из крупнейших китайских финансовых конгломератов, Anbang Insurance Group, У Сяохуэй арестован. Арест состоялся еще на прошлой неделе, но сообщения об этом появились только сегодня. Официально причины ареста на сообщаются, компания уже заявила о сложении господином У своих полномочий по «личным причинам».Anbang Insurance Group управляет активами на $130 млрд, портфель состоит не только из финансовых активов: в 2014 году Anbang приобрела культовую нью-йоркскую гостиницу Waldorf Astoria за $1,95 млрд, а в 2016 году совершила попытку приобрести за $14 млрд сеть гостиниц Starwood Hotels & Resorts, однако по ряду причин отказалась от продолжения борьбы за сеть. Западные СМИ сообщают, что задержание главы Anbang может быть частью кампании китайских властей по борьбе с коррупцией или ужесточению контроля над финансовым рынком страны.Евгений Хвостик

14 июня, 00:54

Billionaire Chairman Of Chinese Conglomerate Anbang, Linked To Jared Kushner, Has Been Detained

Anbang Insurance, China's hyperacquisitive insurance rollup, which was responsible for a sizable portion of China's merger spree between 2014 and 2016, and which has since been accused of being a money laundering vehicle, of wreaking "havoc" with the Chinese insurance market, and was a potential investor in Jared Kushner's 666 Fifth Avenue building until the deal fell apart in March, announced that its billionaire Chairman Wu Xiaohui, is "unable to perform his duties" due to personal reasons, confirming Chinese media reports that the tycoon had recently been detained by authorities. On Tuesday, China's Caijing reported that Wu - whose net worth was recently estimated at over $1 billion - was taken away by Chinese authorities, citing unidentified people. The report said that officials from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission met with a small group of Anbang staff on June 10 and didn’t provide specific reasons for Wu being taken. Curiously the report, which did not explain if Wu was assisting with a government investigation or was himself the target of a price, was later deleted from the magazine’s website. A person familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post that Wu had been “assisting relevant investigations” and previously had always returned to his office or home after a few hours of questioning. Wu hasn’t returned since he was taken away at the end of last week, the person said. Last week, the FT reported that Wu was barred by Chinese authorities from leaving the country, however Anbang denied the report. Xiaohui led Anbang’s rapid rise and abrupt emergence in the international business arena,  where the company became known for its ambitious takeover bids. In October of 2014, Anbabg bought the Waldorf Astoria in New York for $1.95 billion, a record for a single American hotel, and later closed the property while it converts most of the rooms to luxury condominiums. In early 2016, Anbang agreed to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts, owner of 16 high-end hotels in the U.S., from Blackstone for about $6.5 billion. One hotel next to a major naval base later dropped out of the purchase amid national security concerns. About the same time as Anbang agreed to the Strategic purchase, it made a surprise $14 billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, starting a bidding war with Marriott International Inc. A few weeks later, Anbang unexpectedly walked away from the bid, having forced Marriott to increase its offer by about $1 billion. Anbang also had an agreement to buy Fidelity & Guaranty Life, however the deal was canceled in April after the Chinese company failed to meet transaction deadlines. Most notably, Anbang had been in talks to invest in the proposed redevelopment of 666 Fifth Ave. in New York, the marquee building of Kushner Cos., the family company of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Talks broke off in March. However, once Beijing cooled on offshore M&A amid a crackdown on shady financial dealings encouraging capital flight, the company quickly became a target for dometic anger, suffering the wrath of local regulators over his company’s risky reliance on life insurance policies to raise funds, as well as an opaque corporate structure, profiled extenisvely by the NYT. In a statement posted on its website, Anbang announced that other senior managers have been authorized to carry out Wu’s responsibilities and operations are normal. As Bloomberg notes, the news adds to the intrigue surrounding one of the country’s most aggressive overseas dealmakers, which only came into being in 2004. Since it embarked on a global takeover spree three years ago, Anbang has drawn attention for making preemptive offers and disrupting transactions already in place. Wu has personally negotiated deals without using traditional investment banks. Wu, who is married to the granddaughter of Chinese revolutionary and statesman, Deng Xiaoping, doesn’t speak English and often travels with translators. The vast majority of Anbang is collectively owned by relatives of Wu or his wife, Zhuo Ran, the New York Times has reported, although its corporate structure is so opaque it is difficult to trace ownership. As the FT reported earlier, Xiaohui's detention is the highest-profile development in a sweep of China’s financial industry by corruption investigators that began in earnest in January, when a well-known financier was escorted from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong by Chinese police and taken across the border. Xiao Jianhua has not been heard from since, and there has been no official confirmation that he is under arrest.

31 марта 2016, 19:22

КНР: $113 млрд на зарубежные покупки за 3 месяца

За 3 месяца 2016 г. Китай успел объявить о зарубежных сделках M&A на $113 млрд. Впервые Поднебесная проявила больше интереса не к нефти, газу и металлам, а к прочим секторам и видам бизнеса.