CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a company commercializing fusion energy, today announced a groundbreaking series of seven papers published and peer reviewed in a special edition of the Journal of Plasma Physics validating CFS’ approach to commercial fusion energy. The papers, written in collaboration with MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and available to public at no cost, are the first peer reviewed publications from any private commercial fusion company that verifies a compact fusion device will achieve net energy where the plasma generates more fusion power than used to start and sustain the process, the requirement for a fusion power plant.
CFS is collaborating with MIT’s PSFC to design and build SPARC, the world’s first net energy (Q>1) fusion system. SPARC is being designed with the collective and proven knowledge of the world’s fusion programs, using well established plasma physics as well as cutting-edge tools that include advanced simulations, data analysis, and science from existing machines. These papers are the result of more than two years of work by the team to refine the SPARC design, which is now entering its final stages.
The papers apply the same physics rules and simulations used to design ITER and interpret results from existing experiments to predict SPARC’s performance based on the anticipated engineering design. The results show that SPARC will achieve its goal (Q>2) with considerable margin. The joint team of world-leading experts include those who worked on the design for ITER, as well as groups from national labs, centers, and universities around the world. Both ITER and SPARC are tokamaks, a device that uses a magnetic field to confine the fusion process. However, SPARC will use new high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to enable a similar performance as ITER but built more than 10 times smaller and on a significantly faster timeline.
The papers also predict that SPARC will very likely achieve a burning plasma for the first time on earth, meaning the fusion process will be dominantly self-heating. This is a major multi-decade goal of the world’s scientific community.
“These are concrete public predictions that when we build SPARC, the machine will produce net energy and even high gain fusion from the plasma. That is a necessary condition to build a fusion power plant for which the world has been waiting decades,” said CFS CEO Bob Mumgaard, PhD. “The combination of established plasma physics, new innovative magnets, and reduced scale opens new possibilities for commercial fusion energy in time to make a difference for climate change. This is a major milestone for the company and for the global clean tech effort as we work to get commercial fusion energy on the grid as fast as possible”
CFS and MIT’s PSFC are also now constructing the advanced magnets that will allow CFS to build significantly smaller and lower-cost fusion power plants. This collaboration is on track to demonstrate a successful 20 Tesla, large-bore magnet in 2021. This magnet test, the first of its kind in the world, opens a widely identified transformational opportunity for commercial fusion energy. These magnets will then be used in SPARC, which is on track to begin construction in 2021 and demonstrate net energy gain from fusion for the first time in history by 2025. SPARC will pave the way for the first commercially viable fusion power plant called ARC.
About CFSCommonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) is on track to bring fusion energy technology to market. CFS was spun out of MIT and is collaborating with MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center to leverage decades of research combined with the innovation and speed of the private sector. CFS has assembled a world-class team working to design and build fusion machines that will provide limitless, clean, fusion energy to combat climate change. Supported by the world’s leading investors in breakthrough energy technologies, this CFS team is uniquely positioned to deliver the fastest path to commercial fusion energy.
USA TODAY reached out to tax attorneys and legal experts to get their reaction to the New York Times report on Trump’s taxes. Here’s what they said.
Nio Inc – ADR (NYSE: NIO) shares have broken above the $20 level again following positive sell-side commentary Tuesday on the electric vehicle manufacturer. The Nio Analyst: Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Edison Yu reiterated a Buy rating on Nio with a $24 price target. The Nio Takeaways: Compelling evidence exists that consumers are increasingly perceiving Nio as a “high-quality premium brand” with best-in-class technology and service, Yu said in a Tuesday note.Nio’s average customer referral rate increased from 52% in 2019 to 62% in the first half of 2020, the analyst said. Recent studies have shown that Nio’s favorability among customers is higher than both BMW and Mercedes-Benz, he said — and that the Chinese EV maker is one of the most reliable battery EVs across all segments based on the number of problems, even ahead of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA). Yu said he expects Nio to officially unveil its all-electric sedan, the EE7, later this year, with a revamped hardware sensor suite that will enable level four autonomy by 2022.This should alleviate concerns about the R&D roadmap, the analyst said. As battery electric vehicle adoption increases and word-of-mouth spreads, Nio can take material share in the premium segment as consumers begin to understand the value proposition and quality of its products and services, he said. In the near-term, Deutsche Bank expects record deliveries and margins in the third and fourth quarters thanks to the newly launched EC6 SUV coupe, 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack option and the battery-as-a-service rollout.On Monday, BofA Securities analyst Ming Hsun Lee maintained a Buy rating and $23 price target following the unveiling of Nio’s new advanced driver assistance system and other use enhancement strategies at the China Auto Show over the weekend.NIO Price Action: At last check, Nio shares were rallying 10.39% to $20.76. Related Links:Why Nio Has A Shot At Becoming The ‘Tesla Of China’Nio Shares Volatile After EV Maker Announces Redemption Of 8.6% Nio China Stake Photo courtesy of Nio. Latest Ratings for NIO DateFirmActionFromTo Sep 2020Deutsche BankInitiates Coverage OnBuy Aug 2020Morgan StanleyUpgradesEqual-WeightOverweight Aug 2020UBSUpgradesSellNeutral View More Analyst Ratings for NIO View the Latest Analyst RatingsSee more from Benzinga * Options Trades For This Crazy Market: Get Benzinga Options to Follow High-Conviction Trade Ideas * Chinese EV Maker Nio To Announce New Rapid Charging Service Friday(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Wealthy millionaire behind one of America’s fastest-growing companies says the rich are fleeing our corrupt and bankrupt system. Here’s how and why.
In a Democratic sweep, analysts expect an additional $7 trillion in fiscal spending in coming years, $2 trillion of which could come soon after the election.
(Bloomberg) — A New York Times story based on Donald Trump’s long-sought-after tax data shows he avoided paying income taxes for most of the past two decades and paid only $750 the year he was elected president.That doesn’t mean he isn’t a billionaire.By pairing moneymaking businesses with spectacular money-losers, the Trump Organization has been able to shield profits generated by office properties and “The Apprentice” from tax collectors. It’s a souped-up version of the formula deployed by America’s landlord class for decades. But tax losses are different from operating losses, and the new data don’t necessarily show his business empire is heading into crisis, even if it’s carrying sizable debts.“Your tax return at the end of the day shows income and whatever deductions are claimed against that income. That’s it,” said Thorne Perkin, president at Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management. “It doesn’t necessarily show net worth.”The newspaper’s report described the extent of Trump’s tax-cutting strategies, such as taking deductions for consulting fees to his daughter and for hairstyling, which resulted in paying far less than poorer Americans. Although the report raises questions about the legality of some of the maneuvers, the new details don’t affect the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimate of his wealth. His net worth is based chiefly on the value of his office and commercial property holdings, minus debts that were already known. The index estimated his net worth at $2.7 billion as of August, down $300 million from mid-2019, hurt by declining prices for certain types of real estate holdings.Trump’s office properties include commercial spaces at Trump Tower, a leasehold on 40 Wall Street in downtown Manhattan and a 30% interest in two office towers co-owned with Vornado Realty Trust. Collectively, the assets are valued at about $1.9 billion, and Trump’s share of the debt that encumbers them is about $670 million — meaning they constitute almost half of his net worth.Financial records for his golf courses in Europe have long shown that, after including items such as depreciation, they run in the red. The tax data obtained by the Times reveal Trump’s American golf courses operate similarly.Depreciation is crucial for real estate investors. Depending on the type of property at hand, they can write off a portion of its value over a useful lifetime pre-determined by the Internal Revenue Service. That allows investors to claim tax losses on the property even when they’re putting money in their pockets.“You want to show as much losses as you possibly can for your deductions,” said Papamarkou’s Perkin. “That’s a big part of the advantages of real estate investing.”The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., disputed the Times’s reporting on Tuesday while acknowledging that Trump exploited depreciation, tax credits and other provisions of the tax code.“He’s paying tens of millions in taxes — now, he’s not going to pay more” than he needs to, the president’s son said in an interview on Fox Business Network. “And by the way, he’s following the tax code that people like Joe Biden, who has been in DC for 47 years, have written. He’s playing by their rules. Joe Biden is taking advantage of the same loopholes.”The Times in a Monday story also revealed that when Trump did pay taxes it was because of cash from his role fronting “The Apprentice” and not as a real-estate developer. He earned $197 million from the show and $230 million from branding, speaking engagements and licensing deals off the back of the fame the series provided. As well as borrowing against Trump Tower and selling stocks and bonds, he plowed some of that money into the money-losing golf courses.Carrying LoansThe tax documents described by the Times aren’t enough to draw conclusions about the profitability of Trump’s empire. But even if his golf courses are bleeding money, they contribute comparatively little to the tally of his fortune — about $430 million before debt. Prices for golf resorts are down after years of decreasing interest in the sport. Younger generations simply aren’t taking it up as quickly as their elders are leaving it behind.Trump has long been required to disclose a road map to his assets and liabilities. In 2015, then a contender for the Republican party’s nomination for president, he released a financial disclosure listing the lenders behind his loans, ranges for their outstanding balances, when they were issued and when they must be repaid.That several are due in the next few years isn’t unusual in commercial real estate, where most loans run five to 10 years and are refinanced regularly. Unless there is a serious deterioration in the performance of his properties, it’s likely his portfolio can be refinanced before loans mature.Though Trump has carried on this balancing act for years, his re-election could make obtaining new loans harder if potential lenders don’t want to face the prospect of foreclosing on a sitting U.S. president. Conversely, Trump is engaged in a variety of court fights that could accelerate once he leaves office and complicate refinancing. The Covid-19 pandemic also may take a lasting toll on the value of his holdings, making future loans more onerous.His biggest financial vulnerabilities remain his hotel in Washington, where the pandemic has slowed business, and Doral, a sprawling golf resort in Florida. He has taken out nearly $300 million of personally-guaranteed loans from Deutsche Bank AG against these properties. The debts mature in 2023 and 2024, according to his personal financial disclosure.Room to BorrowBut Trump, whose earlier career included a series of bankruptcies, also has a safety valve: the office properties.When he refinanced Trump Tower in 2012 with a $100 million loan, it was appraised at $480 million. A 2015 refinancing of 40 Wall Street fetched a $160 million loan on a $540 million appraisal.That left both properties relatively low-levered for Manhattan real estate, suggesting either a newly learned financial conservatism on Trump’s part or a squeamishness on the part of the lender, Ladder Capital. Ladder, which specializes in loans for commercial property, is Trump’s second-biggest lender after Deutsche Bank.An August appraisal of the buildings by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based on current net income and prevailing capitalization rates, was less sanguine, valuing them at $365 million and $375 million respectively. But so long as the pandemic doesn’t crater office values, the properties could carry far more debt, were Trump to need it.(Updates with comments from Trump’s son in 10th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
“Tim has brought unparalleled innovation and focus to his role as CEO and demonstrated what it means to lead with values and integrity,” Apple’s board of directors said in a statement. “For the first time in nearly a decade, we are awarding Tim a new stock grant that will vest over time in recognition of his outstanding leadership and with great optimism for Apple’s future as he carries these efforts forward.” Cook is in the ninth year of his 10-year grant from 2011.
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Stock futures drifted higher Tuesday evening as investors considered the first presidential debate and continued to eye developments among congressional lawmakers for further fiscal stimulus.
The best dividend stocks give a powerful boost to income and retirement portfolios. These stocks offer both solid yields and strong performance.
Nikola-GM deal doubts are growing after two women accused Nikola founder Trevor Milton of sexual assault. It’s unclear if the partnership will close Wednesday. Nikola stock fell.
The massive job reduction was the most eye-opening among several severe cost-cutting measures made by Disney, which has lost billions of dollars in potential revenue because of suspended operations at its amusement parks, live-production units, and cruise lines since COVID-19-imposed closures dating back to March.
The IRS has admitted low-income taxpayers are audited more often than high-income taxpayers like President Trump. Here’s why.
With technological innovations accelerating, there have been many players emerging — developing new products for ease of use, storage and efficiency. Two companies in particular, Nvidia Corp. (ticker: NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), have ascended to the limelight for their unique capabilities and proprietary products. Nvidia has laid the groundwork for graphics processing unit-accelerated computing, a system used in engineering applications driven by the growth in the gaming market’s demand for 3D graphics.
When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets… We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.Brickell Biotech (BBI)Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company’s lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI’s SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI’s ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra’s lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap’s mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap’s positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded. For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
On CNBC’s “Fast Money,” Tim Seymour said that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has been a real underperformer in the post-COVID-19 rally. He has a long position in the name and he would stay long because of its high dividend yield.Mike Khouw would be a buyer of AT&T because the dividend has proven to be covered. He owns the stock and he thinks that it is currently at a price level where the risk-reward is a lot more favorable.Guy Adami thinks that Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) could rally to $49. He would stay with the stock.Khouw said that Coca-Cola is not a growth stock, but it is probably a safe one. He thinks that the stock has been reasonably constructive and its dividend is supportive.See more from Benzinga * Options Trades For This Crazy Market: Get Benzinga Options to Follow High-Conviction Trade Ideas * ‘Fast Money’ Traders Weigh In On Verizon And NetApp * ‘Fast Money’ Traders Give Their Opinion On AT&T(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Power producer NextEra Energy Inc recently made a takeover approach to peer Duke Energy Corp, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. NextEra is still interested in pursuing the combination even after Duke, with a market value of more than $60 billion, rebuffed its approach, the report said https://on.wsj.com/30m16w1. NextEra, worth about $139 billion, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, while Duke said it does not comment on market rumors or speculation.
The first rule that applies to healthcare developers is: “do not mess with the FDA.” Case in point: Shares of vaccine maker Inovio (INO) crashed by 33% over the past two trading sessions, as a result of the FDA halting the planned Phase 2/3 clinical trial of its DNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate INO-4800.The study has been put on hold, with the FDA citing the need for more questions regarding the trial. Inovio stated it will address the questions in October, following which, the FDA has 30 days to decide whether the trial can go ahead.Inovio’s shares have been subject to extreme price swings since the company joined the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. However, after soaring by 860% in the first half of the year, the share price has pulled back significantly. Since closing at $31.69 on June 29, the stock has shed 64% of its value, as concerns it won’t be able to get its vaccine over the finish line have come to the fore.H.C. Wainwright analyst Ram Selvaraju remains skeptical, too, staying on the sidelines for now. The 5-star analyst reiterated a Hold rating on INO shares and cited the company’s market valuation and volatility as the reasons behind the lack of a price target. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)Selvaraju said, “As a reminder, the company originally planned to start the Phase 2/3 trial this month. We now estimate that the trial could start by the end of 2020 if the FDA reviews the response and lifts the partial clinical hold in a timely manner… We continue to expect the publication of full Phase 1 data set in a scientific journal in the coming months. In addition, the partial clinical hold does not impact the advancement of Inovio’s other candidates in development.”There is similar sentiment among Selvaraju’s colleagues. The stock has a Hold consensus rating based on 2 Buys, 5 Holds and 1 Sell. However, there’s possible upside of 21% over the next 12 months, given the average price target clocks in at $13.71. (See Inovio stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
An Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) senior manager and her two family members were charged with insider trading by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.What Happened: Laksha Bohra is alleged to have tipped her husband Viky Bohra about highly confidential information about the e-commerce giant’s financial performance between January 2016 and July 2018, the SEC said in a statement.According to SEC, the Amazon manager came into possession of the information as she prepared and reviewed earnings calculations used to finalize numbers for the retailer’s quarterly and annual earnings filed with the regulator.The SEC’s complaint, filed in a federal court in Seattle, states that Viky Bohra and his father Gotham Bohra used the information to trade using 11 separate accounts maintained by different members of the family.The family allegedly reaped benefits to the tune of $1.4 million from the unlawful trading.The Bohras have agreed to return nearly $1.5 million they gained in illegal profit and pay an additional penalty of $1,106,399, as per the SEC.The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington filed criminal charges against Viky Bohra on Monday.Why It Matters: The Jeff Bezos-led company reportedly terminated Bohra in 2018 for reasons not mentioned in the complaint, Fortune reported. In 2017, the SEC had charged another employee of the e-commerce giant for leaking sensitive information to a college friend for financial gain.Price Action: Amazon shares closed 2.55% higher at $3,174.05 on Monday and gained almost 0.5% in the after-hours session.See more from Benzinga * Options Trades For This Crazy Market: Get Benzinga Options to Follow High-Conviction Trade Ideas * Walmart Looks To Invest Up To B In Tata’s India Retail App, As Other US Giants Rush To Rival: Report * Amazon Launches A Month Try And Buy Personal Shopping Service For Men(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
President Donald Trump paid no federal income tax in 10 of the past 15 years due to massive business losses, and just $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017, the New York Times reported on Sunday. The paper said it had acquired more than two decades’ worth of tax-return data from Trump and his business organization, though it does not include his personal tax returns for 2018 and 2019.
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(Bloomberg) — Billionaire Peter Thiel was a no-show at the investor day leading up to the direct listing for Palantir Technologies Inc., the data-mining company he founded 17 years ago. And no one from the company will ring the bell at Palantir’s market debut.Thiel’s absence from the Wall Street pomp belies the outsize influence he’ll continue to wield long after the company goes public. Thiel will have more control over the company than any other individual or investor group, and an unconventional voting structure will award additional power to Thiel and two other co-founders in perpetuity.Palantir isn’t the first company in Silicon Valley to use super-voting shares to cement control for its founders. Other tech leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Snap Inc. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel and WeWork CEO Adam Neumann were all given disproportionate control over their companies as they headed to the public markets. But good-governance advocates say that handing so much power to a limited group of people could undermine the standards of accountability meant to be enforced by the market, making it harder for smaller shareholders to exert their will in cases where they believe a company is being poorly run.“They set it up so Peter Thiel can still sort of run it like a private company and still have the advantage of being public,” said Michael Weisbach, a professor at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business who specializes in corporate governance and private equity. “They obviously want to keep control of this company and don’t want a bunch of outsiders.”Palantir has been unapologetic about its governance mechanics. Its CEO, co-founder Alex Karp, has repeatedly told would-be backers to pick a “different company” if they don’t like the way it operates.Few expect Palantir’s voting mechanics to derail the company’s planned public listing. This year, Palantir expects to take in more than $1 billion in revenue and, for the first time, turn an adjusted profit, excluding stock compensation. While Weisbach said that its valuation would have been higher without the tightly controlled governance and voting structure, there are optimistic signs about how public investors will receive the company. Banks have reportedly told investors that Palantir could start trading at a market valuation of almost $22 billion. Representatives for Thiel and Palantir declined to comment for this story.Palantir’s technology collects and combines ever-changing data streams into what it calls a single “source of truth,” which its clients can then mine for meaning and use to make decisions. Applications vary widely based on the customer. Merck KGaA uses Palantir’s software to speed drug discovery. United Airlines Holding Inc. uses it to optimize flight routes. And the U.S. government uses it for tasks including identifying roadside bombs in Afghanistan, catching tax cheats and, more controversially, locating people who entered the U.S. illegally for deportation.Longtime Palantir investor Eric Munson of Adit Ventures said that the company’s aggressive voting structure is necessary to ensure Palantir can continue to operate without influence from outside parties who disagree with its business. Some of the company’s work is politically sensitive, he added, and its voting structure will mean that the founders can pick and choose clients whose interests align with those of the U.S., regardless of investor pressure. “I like that there’s no ambiguity where the leadership stands,” Munson said. That reasoning has limited purchase with groups like Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy advisory firm. “The problem is power without accountability,” said Marc Goldstein, the group’s head of U.S research. Goldstein cited Mark Zuckerberg’s control over Facebook as a textbook example of too much control accruing to one man. As a long-serving board member of Facebook, Thiel knows that structure well.“Palantir is talking about how different they are from Silicon Valley, and yet they are taking on the absolutely worst aspect of Silicon Valley with this,” Goldstein said. Palantir has always been tightly held. It has only recently started adding independent board members, and even the independent directors have close links to Thiel, the board chairman. This summer, Palantir appointed three new directors, including 8VC partner Alexander Moore, who was an early Palantir employee, and former journalist Alexandra Wolfe Schiff, who wrote a book called “Valley of the Gods” that was largely about Thiel. Palantir has said it would comply with Securities and Exchange Commission rules that it have a majority of independent directors within one year of going public. Currently, the company says three of its six current board members are independent.Even when it does add more directors, though, power will remain concentrated in the hands of a few people. According to Palantir’s SEC filing, three of the company’s founders—Thiel, Stephen Cohen and Karp—will receive Class F shares entitling them to 49.99% of the company’s voting power, control that will not be directly tied to the number of other shares they own. The structure is highly unusual but not without precedent, according to Weisbach, who said the Ford family set up a similar system more than 60 years ago at Ford Motor Co. That company also established that a percentage of the vote would remain with the family regardless of its financial stake in the company. Even without a mechanism to hand more voting control to the founders, Thiel would still wield substantial influence at Palantir. As the largest investor in the company, he will own 29.8% of all Class B shares, which give the holder 10 votes per share. Thiel owns more Class B shares than any other individual or entity, including Founders Fund, the venture firm Thiel founded. That group, where he still serves as a partner, holds the next highest amount at 12.7%.Thiel also has a stake in several of the entities that have invested in Palantir. Besides his involvement with Founders Fund, Thiel is an investor in funds managed by venture capital firm 8VC and in the merchant bank Disruptive Technology Advisers, which oversees Palantir backer Disruptive Technology Solutions, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Henry Hofman, a corporate governance researcher at Morningstar corporate ratings firm Sustainalytics, said the net result was another unfortunate example of Silicon Valley founders grasping for too much control. “Anything that strays away from the one-vote, one-share structure, we see that negatively,” he said. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek is among a group of investors, including Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen, that are backing a high-tech battery company founded by two former Tesla executives.
(Bloomberg) — Margarita Louis-Dreyfus took another hefty dividend from the eponymous agricultural-commodity trading house she controls, as the billionaire continues to squeeze the business for cash.During the first six months of the year, Louis Dreyfus Co. paid a dividend of $302 million. The payout related to last year’s profit, the sale of several assets in Canada and its former metals-trading business, according to the company’s interim financial statement. The dividend reduced the company’s equity to $4.48 billion at the end of June, down from $4.79 billion six months earlier.Louis-Dreyfus, who controls more than 96% of the holding company that owns LDC, has been taking big dividends over the past few years to help repay about $1 billion she borrowed to buy out other family members. The payouts, often surpassing the trading house’s profit, have steadily reduced the company’s value.The billionaire owner has been in talks to sell a minority stake in the company, recently holding negotiations with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ. A successful deal would give the trading house an injection of much-needed cash.On top of its owner’s troubles, the company has struggled over recent years, amid frequent management changes and declining earnings. Veteran Michael Gelchie will become chief executive officer later this week — the seventh CEO appointed by Dreyfus in eight years — replacing Ian McIntosh.Despite its recent travails, the first half of 2020 showed some improvement for LDC. Net income climbed 77% to $126 million from a year earlier, despite significant losses from the collapse of Luckin Coffee Inc. Net sales decreased to $16.3 billion, as both prices and volumes shipped fell year-on-year.“The results reported today put LDC in a strong position from which to advance its ambitious growth plans,” said Gelchie.Net debt fell to $6.7 billion at the end of June, from $6.9 billion at the end of 2019, reducing its adjusted leverage ratio to 2.8 times.Dreyfus is the D in the vaunted “ABCD” group that dominates the world of agricultural commodities trading. The others are Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge Ltd. and Cargill Inc.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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World news – CA – New Scientific Papers Predict Historic Results for Commonwealth Fusion Systems’ Approach to Commercial Fusion Energy