The Daily Ten – Trump taxes, Uber is back in London, Big Hit IPO, Amazon’s Prime Day, JP Morgan trading desk “Crime Ring”
The Daily Ten
1. Here’s Who’s Giving What to Trump and Biden in Commercial Real Estate | Commercial Observer
The industry is spending millions on both, but what does it really want from either?
When Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, Elie Hirschfeld switched parties.
The Manhattan developer known for building the Crowne Plaza Hotel and residential towers Grand Sutton and Park Avenue Court had given sporadically to candidates in both parties in the past, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and members of the Bush clan, and considered himself a Democrat.
But Hirschfeld has known Trump personally for decades. When Hirschfeld had an opportunity to develop the site that would become Riverside South on Manhattan’s Far West Side, he brought Trump into the deal. And he once rented office space in one of Trump Tower’s lower floors in the early 1980s.
“We became one of his first tenants in his office portion,” Hirschfeld told CO. “He built offices because he didn’t want to be alone. The apartments sold well, but the offices were slow.”
Trump behaved more like a real estate mogul than a political power broker back then, writing checks for politicians in both parties who could loosen regulations and advance zoning applications. He has sprinkled approximately $1.5 million in contributions to national candidates and party committees since 1979, according to federal election records. Many were Democratic officeholders in New York and New Jersey.
2. Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter | WSJ
Resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush prompt retailers to sideline lean-inventory strategies
Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.
Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of…
3. San Francisco housing has cooled as some flee the city, but demand is still there | CNBC
Greg Tribulato is having trouble getting buyers interested in two extensively renovated condominiums he’s trying to sell in San Francisco’s Mission district.
They’ve been on the market for three months. The one with two bedrooms is going for $1.5 million, and the four-bedroom unit costs $2.3 million. He said he and his father, Gary, are talking with the seller about renting out the homes or lowering their prices.
“We did everything under the planet that’s humanly possible,” he said. They staged the homes, they created websites with custom domain names, videos and 3D digital tours, and they sent out flyers and emails to get people’s attention.
The coronavirus pandemic and corresponding recession have shaken the dynamics of the second-most expensive city to buy a home in the U.S. (The Silicon Valley city of San Jose boasts the highest median home sale price, according to data maintained by Zillow). Brokers say many people simply no longer wish to live in densely populated areas, especially apartment buildings where they have to share common areas such as elevators. People are looking for enough space for a home office or two.
They want their own outdoor space, and some people even want garages because they expect to buy cars in order to commute safely when they have to return to work. Plus, some people who have lost their jobs have been flocking to less expensive places.
4. Uber wins back London licence despite ‘historical failings’ | Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) – Uber has won a legal bid to restore its London operating licence which was taken away by the city’s transport regulator over safety concerns, after a judge decided on Monday that it was a fit and proper operator.
Transport for London (TfL) refused to grant the Silicon Valley-based company a new licence in 2019 due to what it called a “pattern of failures”. Uber argued it has since assuaged concerns over insurance verification and driver identification.
The U.S. company was also denied a licence by TfL in 2017, a major blow in one of its most important markets, before a different judge restored it on a probationary basis.
“Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London PHV (private hire vehicle) operator’s licence,” Judge Tan Ikram said in his written verdict.
5. The Murky Case for Mass Telecommuting | Bloomberg City Lab
To cut climate emissions, Bay Area planners propose a work-from-home requirement for 60% of office employees. But critics warn of unintended consequences.
Predictions that telecommuting will transform the workplace have been around since the term was coined in 1973. But with as much as half of the U.S. workforce clocking in from home amid the pandemic, this time really could be different. Many employers have indicated that their relaxed work-from-home policies will outlast Covid-19, and several tech giants, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, have blessed workers going permanently remote.
Now an influential body of urban planners is aiming to capitalize on the trend — by mandating it. During its September 23 meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional authority that finances and coordinates local mobility plans in California’s Bay Area, set a requirement that large office-based employers should have at least 60% of their employees work remotely on any given workday by 2050. The remote-work order is one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050, the group’s 30-year roadmap to guide regional transportation funding, as required by state and federal law. The work-from-home directive aims to bring the region’s climate-changing carbon emissions down.
The 60% benchmark for office workers was designed to bring the telecommute share of the region’s overall workforce as high as 25%, Matt Maloney, the commission’s regional planning director, said during the meeting. With a goal to achieve a 19% reduction in per capita greenhouse gases by 2035, the blueprint’s strategies “must be ones that local governments are poised to deliver,” he said. The telecommuting strategy, Maloney said later, was “one of the most necessary pieces.”
6. Big Hit IPO makes BTS millionaires and their producer a billionaire | CNN Business
Hong Kong (CNN Business)All seven members of boy band BTS have become multimillionaires after their label, Big Hit Entertainment, pulled off South Korea’s biggest stock market listing in three years.
The K-pop label is issuing its shares at 135,000 won ($115) each, Big Hit said in a filing on Monday, raising 962.55 million won ($822 million) and valuing the company at 4.8 trillion won ($4.1 billion). That makes the deal South Korea’s largest stock offering since July 2017, according to data compiled by Dealogic.
The company is run by CEO Bang Si-Hyuk, a longtime music producer who is credited with creating BTS and setting it on the road to stardom in 2013. Bang owns about 43% of Big Hit, according to a stock exchange filing. The IPO has made Bang a billionaire.
Bang gave each of the BTS band members 68,385 shares in August. Those holdings are now worth nearly $7.9 million each at the issue price. The shares start trading on October 15.
7. Who Killed Sears? Fifty Years on the Road to Ruin | Investopedia
Sears Holdings (SHLD) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 15, 2018.1 A wave of store closures and deals in desperate attempts to stay afloat failed to save the struggling retailer, which listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in the filing.2
The company announced in a statement that CEO, Edward Lampert, would step down, with day-to-day operations managed by three high-ranking executives. Lampert remained chairman of the board.1
The firm began to restructure after it failed to pay back $134 million that was due on Oct. 15
A bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the company’s assets for $5.2 billion to Lampert in a bankruptcy auction. About 425 stores remained open as of April 2019, with nearly 45,000 jobs intact. When its Chapter 11 filing was announced, Sears had nearly 700 stores open in the U.S., compared to 3,500 Sears and Kmart when they merged in 2005.6
The company stopped selling Whirlpool appliances in 2017, which it carried since 1916. An internal company memo reportedly cited pricing disputes.7 In August 2018, Lampert offered to buy the Kenmore appliance brand for $400 million in cash through his hedge fund ESL Investments after the company failed to find other takers.8 ESL also offered to buy Sears’ Home Improvement business for $80 million in cash.
8. Inside the JPMorgan Trading Desk the U.S. Called a Crime Ring | Yahoo Finance
(Bloomberg) — Billionaires have Davos. For filmmakers, there’s Sundance. For the people who mine and trade and ship everything from iron ore to platinum, there’s London Metal Exchange Week. It’s a blur of symposiums and drinks, with a reliably lavish lunch thrown by JPMorgan Chase & Co. On a balmy October day in 2018, hundreds of guests crossed a courtyard in the shadow of the Bank of England to a medieval guild hall for champagne and sashimi courtesy of the bank and its top metals trader, Mike Nowak.
Nowak had plenty to celebrate. His global trading desk at JPMorgan was the powerhouse in futures contracts for gold, silver, platinum and palladium that account for tens of trillions of dollars in transactions annually. In his mid-40s, Nowak had run the precious metals desk for more than a decade. He had a young family, a house outside Manhattan and a seven-bedroom vacation home a few blocks from the beach in New Jersey.
But that world was unraveling. Unbeknown to Nowak, one of his former employees was turning on him.
That same day, the sun was barely up in Brooklyn when a trader named John Edmonds set off for a meeting with federal prosecutors. Edmonds, who’d worked for years on Nowak’s desk, took a four-hour car trip to Hartford, Connecticut, where he told authorities that Nowak’s crew wasn’t just buying and selling precious metals, but systematically cheating to help themselves and their top clients. Edmonds admitted to fraudulent trades that day in a sealed guilty plea. Soon, others from the precious metals desk provided accounts, setting off events leading to criminal charges against Nowak and four others from the bank.
9. Amazon announces Prime Day 2020 dates: How to sign up for access to deals | New York Post
Jeff Bezos’ Black Friday is nearly upon us.
Amazon’s annual sales event, Prime Day, is usually held in July but was pushed until autumn this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the online shopping behemoth delayed the blowout so it would have additional time to lay the groundwork for shipments of a wider variety of products and create room for more inventory, according to a Wall Street Journal report at the time.
The marketing event, which first began in 2015, is now set for Oct. 13 and 14, the company announced Monday.
Here are the basics of what to know ahead of the e-giant’s discount event next month.
When is Prime Day?Prime Day is “an annual deal event exclusively for Prime members, delivering two days of special savings on products from small businesses and top brands,” reads the official description on Amazon’s Prime Day landing page.
After much speculation, the company officially confirmed the dates and this year’s Prime Day will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13 and 14.
10. LONG-CONCEALED RECORDS SHOW TRUMP’S CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE | New York Times
The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.
Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.
He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.
As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.