Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Italy: how to ditch the Euro

Many 'Experts' agree that leaving the Euro would have catastrophic consequences for a country like Italy. In particular, (foreign) debts would explode bankrupting the state, banks and companies with debts denominated in Euros.
But a simple solution is overlooked - Italy, or any other country - could simply re denominate these debts as it can do it with any internal debts. There would be an outcry but extreme situations call for extreme solutions.
And anyone who arranges his financial affairs in a way so as not to take this possibility into account can only blame himself. Quite a few years ago - and before the Financial Crash - we said that a narrow spread of BTP to Bunds of just 15 bp or so was not viable and any investor was foolish to hold on to the Italian paper.
So you have been warned!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Time to break up Tech Oligopolies

Are politicians in the pockets of Big Tech? All these firms use strength in their core business to expand their dominating position. Remember: In the USA film studios were forced to divest their cinema chains - so Netflix should stay out of film production, Amazon not offer third-party selling, Apple get out of music business etc
The Global Domination of Big Tech | FS Staff | FINANCIAL SENSE

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Absurd: Inflation was too low

Amusing - if it would not be sad - to read that 'prominent' 'star' economists like Barry Eichengreen  still regurgitate the fable of  'too low inflation'. So what is the right level of inflation for these confused thinkers? One shudders to think how many young students get indoctrinated by his kind.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Trusts: mostly avoidance vehicle for the 1%

Trusts may have some justification to ensure the continuance of a fortune (as when knights left for an extended period during the Crusades). But that does not meam that they should not be subject to the same tax regime as any other taxpayer or business. In this case the wealth piled up by Ross (mostly by financial speculation) may escape inheritance taxes - so close to a billion passes to a group of beneficiaries while working income is heavily taxed.
New York Post via MarketWatch

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Rich Get Richer: The Mathematics of Inequality

This Model hits the nail on its head! And if you add a myriad of other poor policies you have to wonder when the top 100 own the world! Just take copyright, corporate structures, weak inheritance laws, lack of antitrust enforcement to name the most blatant abuses. The rich and their media control politics and there is no end in sight to the tendency to rising inequality.
Tufts University

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

How to price an EBO (Employee Buyout)?

To continue with the case of Uber, in my opinion a perfect candidate for an EBO, one should ask how and on what terms an EBO should be executed. It makes no sense to start with the 'market' valuation as it will be as good a reflection of the real value as the price of bitcoins is for a digital entry on some computer. The only sensible starting point is the net asset value, i.e. the cumulative value of REAL investment that supports the business. As the firm cannot function without employees they should be able to drive a hard bargain.  While not being a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn's extreme views he may have a point with regard to re-nationalising the key utilities. Again, the baseline scenario for any compensation should be what the underlying assets are worth, not necessarily some number that 'Mister Market' arrives at during his random walk from manic depression to euphoria.

Business Schools would be well advised to work on how to make Wider Share Ownership and Employee-owned business work rather than how to squeeze the last dollar out of customers and into the pockets of a few top executives, - and at the same time charging students fees that bear no relationship to the value provided. Most of what they perpetrate any astute person could learn by delving into the top 10 or 20 business/economics text books.

Softbank to invest in Uber?

What is the purpose of this muted investment? Uber hardly needs any cash - except to pay exorbitant 'compensation' to top executives and the existing investors. But basically the drivers ARE all there is to Uber, without them the firm is nothing except a bit of software (which can easily be put in place for a fraction of its valuation, i.e. net asset value of fixtures). All Softbank and its backers want to do is get hold of the stake and sell it to someone else at a later stage - probably the great unwashed public and it agents, the fund management community that will lap up any IPO however inflated the price may be.
People sniggered when MBO's and LBO's came into fashion during the 1980s. Now it is time for the EBO - the Employee Buyout. Unions and Investment Bankers have to team up and take control of business. Let capitalists (lenders, Share owners) control the underlying hard assets but wrest ultimate control from them. As the saying goes: all wheels come to a standstill if the workers don't participate.