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The need for weed: why Wall Street is getting hooked on cannabis
MARCH 15, 2019 | Financial Times | by Nicole Bullock in New York.

a “sea change in attitude” towards the sector.  “You don’t get an opportunity every day to participate in the very early stages of the creation of a large global industry and that is what is happening now,”
Aurora  Cambrian_explosion  cannabis  Canopy_Growth  FDA  investors  start_ups  Wall_Street 
6 days ago by jerryking
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
23 days ago by jerryking
Store wars: short sellers expect more pain in US retail
February 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Alistair Gray in New York.

Short sellers who made big bets against US retailers a couple of years ago had hoped for carnage across the board. No one could compete with the rise and rise of Amazon...which would make life hard for every mall tenant across America.

But after a period in which internet shopping seemed to hit almost every brick-and-mortar retailer, the industry seems to be dividing into winners and losers. Casualties are still piling up: bankruptcies since the turn of the year....Payless Shoes ....Sears, the once dominant department store chain, narrowly avoided outright liquidation.

However, some of the biggest companies e.g. Walmart & Best Buy are reporting their healthiest metrics in years......For short sellers trying to profit from falling share prices, it makes for a perilous environment.

“It’s a slow death by a thousand paper cuts, and not the kind of ‘mall-mageddon’ originally anticipated by that trade,”.....“Retail has been much more volatile than many would have expected. It hasn’t been decidedly one way down.”....an over-reaction in 2017 and that led to pretty nice opportunities [for longs] in 2018,”.....Investors who put money on the demise of retail that summer have lost out in many cases......It was almost as if they [shorts] were acting like no retail real estate space can work,” ....overcapacity doesn’t mean retail real estate is dead.”...Shares in the sector have been volatile in part because investors have had to consider a series of seemingly contradictory data points about the health of both the US consumer and the retail business.....Traditional chains are also trying to take on Amazon by improving their online offerings and making their stores more enticing. Both require hefty investment, although successful examples include Lululemon, which offers yoga lessons in its stores. Shares in the company have tripled since a 2017 low.

“Those who are innovating and investing in ecommerce, marketing and social media tend to be doing well...“The US is still over-stored,” ...Ecommerce meant “more of the store base is not economic. That’s going be a secular pressure for years to come. For those retailers that don’t have a digital strategy, it’s just a matter of time before they fall.”
Amazon  apocalypses  bankruptcies  barbell_effect  bear_markets  bricks-and-mortar  department_stores  digital_strategies  e-commerce  innovation  investors  investment_thesis  Lululemon  pain_points  overcapacity  retailers  shopping_malls  short_selling  structural_decline  Wal-Mart  commercial_real_estate 
25 days ago by jerryking
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4 weeks ago by dkirsch
JAB’s Peter Harf: hire ambitious talent and give them a mission
February 16, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud and Arash Massoudi.

JAB oversees its portfolio of coffee, beverages, and casual dining companies. .....When everything was going wrong last year at Coty, the cosmetics company backed by investment group JAB Holdings, Peter Harf reacted with characteristic ruthlessness, replacing Coty’s chief financial officer and chief executive, and taking back the Coty chairmanship from his longtime associate, Bart Becht. Describing last year’s share price decline of more than 60% as “unacceptable” for JAB and its co-investors, Mr Harf says the situation “had to have serious consequences” even for his inner circle......Harf believes that identifying talented people — and incentivising them through performance-based pay — have been key to his success over his nearly 40-year career..... just as important to Harf is knowing when to jettison those who are no longer serving the mission he has overseen since he was 35: growing the wealth of Germany’s reclusive Reimann family who are behind JAB....Harf's vision was for JAB to be modelled on Berkshire Hathaway, the investment conglomerate built by his idol, Warren Buffett. Success would come not only from backing the right leaders but by patiently building brands, embarking on deals and taking companies public to cash in on bets....Harf felt he had assembled a dream team: “My mantra has always been that I need to hire people who are better than me. Lions hire lions and sheep hire other sheep.”

Three questions for Peter Harf
(1) Who is your leadership hero?

“Warren Buffett. Hands down. All this stuff that I intend to do to make JAB into a long-term investment vehicle, he does it to perfection. He’s the greatest investor in the world, and I want to be like him. If we invest as well as Warren, we’ve won. Very simple.”

(3) What was your first leadership lesson?

One of my biggest role models was Bruce Henderson, the founder of Boston Consulting Group. When I worked for him, I prepared a three-page analysis about a problem. It had 10 bullet points as the conclusion. He dismissed it as way too complicated and said: “Don’t try to field every ball.” He meant that if you wanted to be a good leader, you have to be able to focus on the important stuff first.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The trouble often starts when leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities. As Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” is fond of saying: “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”
BCG  Berkshire_Hathaway  beverages  casual_dining  coffee  commitment  CPG  dealmakers  dealmaking  departures  exits  family_office  family-owned_businesses  HBS  hiring  investors  JAB  Keurig  lifelong  mission-driven  private_equity  portfolio_management  ruthlessness  talent  troubleshooting  Warren_Buffett 
5 weeks ago by jerryking

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