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Fortress to Blackstone Say Now Is Time to Sell on Surge; “It’s almost biblical: there is a time to reap and there’s a time to sow,” Apollo’s Leon Black

Fortress to Blackstone Say Now Is Time to Sell on Surge

By Devin Banerjee  Aug 2, 2013

Private-equity managers from Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) to Blackstone Group LP (BX), which made billions by buying low and selling high, say now is the time to exit investments as stocks rally and interest rates start to rise. Fortress, the first publicly traded buyout firm in the U.S., is preparing holdings for public offerings while struggling to find attractive new deals, Wesley Edens, who runs Fortress’s $14.3 billion private-equity business, said on a conference call with investors yesterday. That environment extends to credit and distressed investments, said Pete Briger, who oversees the New York-based firm’s $12.5 billion credit business. “This is a better time for selling our existing investments than making new investments,” Briger said on the call. “There’s been more uncertainty that’s been fed into the markets.” Read more of this post

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Ecommerce Giant Alibaba Tackles Counterfeits in China as Fake Goods Proliferate; “Counterfeiting is a cancer we have to deal with,” Alibaba founder Jack Ma said

August 5, 2013, 5:23 a.m. ET

Alibaba Tackles Counterfeits in China

E-Commerce Giant Faces Big Challenge as Fake Goods Proliferate

JURO OSAWA

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HONG KONG—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is stepping up its battle against rampant counterfeiting in China, as it gears up for one of the technology industry’s biggest initial public offerings. For the past several years, the Chinese e-commerce giant has been working to remove fake items from its Taobao shopping site. But counterfeiters are persistent, posing a challenge for Alibaba just as bankers and investors are raising their expectations for the company ahead of its initial public offering. The IPO is likely to raise about $70 billion based on analysts’ estimates and bankers said it could take place as soon as this year, but Alibaba hasn’t set a specific date. “Counterfeiting is a cancer we have to deal with,” Alibaba founder Jack Ma said at a news conference in April, when the company announced its partnership with government agencies to fight piracy online and offline. Later this month, a group of Alibaba officials will travel to the U.S. to meet with representatives from brands, industry associations and the government in Los Angeles, New York and Washington to discuss intellectual property issues, the company said. Read more of this post

With few big deals, private equity moves to be Asia’s new banker

With few big deals, private equity moves to be Asia’s new banker

5:58am EDT

By Stephen Aldred

HONG KONG (Reuters) – In three years, global private equity firm KKR & Co (KKR.N: QuoteProfileResearch,Stock Buzz) has provided over $1.5 billion in loans to companies in India, a business traditionally handled by state-owned and private sector banks. Encouraged by that success, KKR – which rose to prominence with its hostile $25 billion takeover of U.S. food and tobacco giant RJR Nabisco in 1989 – plans to expand the niche business in China and across Asia. The move by private equity into lending comes at a time when buyout deals in Asia are few and far between and as traditional banks retreat. Apollo Global Management (APO.N: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz), KKR and Olympus Capital are raising credit funds as they seek out alternative sources of income. At least $6.6 billion is being raised by 12 funds for investment in Asia, according to Private Equity International and Thomson Reuters data. At the same time, credit across Asia has grown tight, leaving small businesses and family-owned firms short of capital as the big banks focus their attention on top-tier clients. Read more of this post

61-year-old hidden billionaire Rick Cohen has transformed C&S into the world’s largest grocery wholesaler since taking the helm of the business in 1989, making money in an industry bedeviled by small profit margins and mismanagement

There’s a reason why Richard B. Cohen escapes attention.

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Lester Cohen and his sons, including Rick Cohen (right), who joined C&S in 1974.

The chairman of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. works out of a nondescript office park once slated to house a county jail in Keene, New Hampshire, a leafy mountain hamlet 90 miles northwest of Boston. The truckers who deliver goods from the company’s 54 distribution centers drive unmarked tractor-trailers. Cohen’s last interview was published a decade ago. Even the Keene Chamber of Commerce overlooked C&S as one of the town’s largest employers. “We’re the biggest company no one has ever heard of,” Bryan T. Granger, a company spokesman, said by phone. The 61-year-old — who goes by “Rick” — has transformed C&S into the world’s largest grocery wholesaler since taking the helm of the business in 1989, making him one of the 100 richest people in the world and the wealthiest man in New England after Connecticut hedge-fund manager Raymond T. Dalio, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The company had sales of $21.7 billion in 2012, distributing more than 95,000 products to 4,000 supermarkets from Maine to Hawaii. Cohen is the business’ sole owner, Granger said. He has a net worth of $11.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg index, and has never appeared on an international wealth ranking — a status one associate said suits him just fine. “I tried to put our name on the trucks and he didn’t want any part of it,” said Edward Albertian, 58, a former C&S president and now chief executive officer of Citysports, a 22-store Boston-based retailer owned by Highland Capital Partners LP. “He wanted to continue to be stealth and operate in this little, dinky Keene, New Hampshire, marketplace.” Read more of this post

Dyson’s chief is not standing in the eponymous inventor’s shadow

August 4, 2013 2:53 pm

Enough limelight for both bosses

By Andy Sharman

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The ‘other’ of invention: Max Conze with a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner

Aplain white room in a warehouse in rural Wiltshire. Futuristic vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans are stood on plinths. Empty shelves line the wall. And a 6ft 2in former German army lieutenant is pirouetting around the room, vacuuming up detritus. It’s a fantastical scenario worthy of the mind of Sir James Dyson, the inspiredinventor, eponymous overlord and chief engineer of the UK manufacturing group behind bagless vacuum cleaners, towel-less hand dryers and bladeless fans. However, the star of today’s show is not Sir James, but Max Conze, the Dyson chief executive who is demonstrating the company’s latest innovation – the curiously named Dyson Hard, a cordless vacuum-mop hybrid. “If you work for Dyson,” he says, “you have to have fun with vacuum cleaners.” Read more of this post

Beyond Blame: Would we better off in a world without blame?

Beyond Blame: Would we better off in a world without blame?

Barbara H. Fried

Friday, June 28, 2013

In an article published shortly before his death, the political scientist James Q. Wilson took on the large question of free will and moral responsibility:  Does the fact that biology determines more of our thinking and conduct than we had previously imagined undermine the notion of free will? And does this possibility in turn undermine, if not entirely destroy, our ability to hold people accountable for their actions? Wilson’s answer was an unequivocal no. He has lots of company, which should come as a surprise given what scientific research into the determinants of human behavior has told us over the past four decades. Most of that research, as Wilson says, points to the same conclusion: our worldviews, aspirations, temperaments, conduct, and achievements—everything we conventionally think of as “us”—are in significant part determined by accidents of biology and circumstance. The study of the brain is in its infancy; as it advances, the evidence for determinism will surely grow. One might have expected those developments to temper enthusiasm for blame mongering. Instead, the same four decades have been boom years for blame.  Read more of this post

Life in a Toxic Country

August 3, 2013

Life in a Toxic Country

By EDWARD WONG

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A baby being given nebulizer therapy at Beijing Children’s Hospital.

BEIJING — I RECENTLY found myself hauling a bag filled with 12 boxes of milk powder and a cardboard container with two sets of air filters through San Francisco International Airport. I was heading to my home in Beijing at the end of a work trip, bringing back what have become two of the most sought-after items among parents here, and which were desperately needed in my own household. China is the world’s second largest economy, but the enormous costs of its growth are becoming apparent. Residents of its boom cities and a growing number of rural regions question the safety of the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. It is as if they were living in the Chinese equivalent of the Chernobyl or Fukushima nuclear disaster areas. Read more of this post

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