Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Audio-Jim Rogers on what’s holding up his Asia move

jim1.jpg     The prominent investor Jim Rogers, who co-founded the legendary Quantum Fund with George Soros, has been talking about moving to Asia since last July. Only one problem, the author of the book “Investment Biker” can’t seem to complete one particular deal — the sale of his six-story New York townhouse on Riverside Drive, which overlooks the Hudson River on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He has had it on the market for $15 million since last July but still hasn’t found a buyer.
    Rogers told the Reuters Hedge Funds and Private Equity Summit he still intends to move to a Chinese-speaking city, most likely Singapore. His three-year-old daughter is already bilingual in Mandarin and Chinese and he is bullish on Chinese assets and commodities in general (he was author of the investor guide “Hot Commodities”). He is also very negative on the U.S. dollar.
    Still, he needs to find a willing buyer for the house who will pay in those dollars — and the newly minted rich of the hedge fund world don’t seem to be helping. They all want to live in Greenwich, Connecticut, he said. Rogers, who is very bearish on the U.S. housing industry, can’t exactly blame the state of the Manhattan housing market — prices have still been rising despite the declines in many other parts of the country. “It is not cheap, it is an expensive property a bit off the beaten-track,” said Clare Brown from the home’s listing agent Leslie J. Garfield & Co., in explaining the lack of a sale. “If he dropped the price, people would come running.”
    Perhaps it doesn’t help that Rogers says his house is in Harlem — it isn’t quite, and it does have a wine cellar, a paneled library, a greenhouse, gym with sauna, and a hot tub and steam bath overlooking the river. For a tour of the house see: http://www.inmanstories.com/movies/newplayer.cfm?name=ljgco_352riverside
    

The delicate sound of layoffs

Here’s some welcome news for media industry workers: Firing tons of workers and doing the slash-and-burn routine is not the preferred technique of the private-equity buyout, according to a veteran of the business.

Buyout targets are companies that can deliver some long-term growth, but not by “asset stripping, just firing people [and] selling off assets,” Thomas H. Lee Partners co-President Scott Sperling told reporters and editors at a Reuters Summit on private equity and hedge funds on Tuesday.

Audio-Acumen’s Novogratz on the need to choose winners

jackie1.jpgJacqueline Novogratz, chief executive officer of Acumen Fund, told the Reuters Hedge Funds and Private Equity Summit that her fund, which invests in promising businesses that cater to the basic needs of the poor in India, Pakistan and Africa, is in the business of choosing winners — businesses that can thrive when given some seed capital and a little bit of guidance.

Audio- Hedge funds can no longer battle central banks

maisano2.jpgPhillip Maisano, head of alternative investments at Mellon Asset Management says that hedge funds have let go of many of their swashbuckling ways when it comes to battling central banks. The potential regulatory reprisals would be too strong. But funds will still attack weak companies, Maisano notes.

Audio – Internet is taking advertising dollars from traditional media

sperling2.jpgScott Sperling, co-president of buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, says that companies that would have once advertised on the radio or in print media are increasingly looking at the Internet.

Audio – Facebook may be a good IPO candidate

pearlman2.jpgBret Pearlman, co-founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners, says that social networking website Facebook.com may make a good initial public offering candidate in a few years, if it continues to grow.

Audio-Bono works in mysterious ways

bono.jpgRock and roll icon Bono may seem like an unlikely asset for a private equity fund, but he helps win business and close deals, says Bret Pearlman, co-founder of Elevation Partners, a private equity firm that Bono helped found. The rock and roller usually participates in Elevation’s weekly meetings for partners, Pearlman adds.

 

Audio – Radio’s trouble is not because of programming, Sperling says

sperling.jpgSome radio purists argue that the industry is facing trouble now because of lousy programming. Scott Sperling, co-president at Thomas H. Lee Partners, a buyout firm that is hoping to buy Clear Channel Communications Inc. says Clear Channel radio’s real problem is a broad decline in radio advertising that has little to do with programming.

Audio – Merger arbitrage hedge funds worth a look now–Mellon’s Maisano

eacm.jpgPhillip Maisano, head of alternative investments at Mellon Asset Management, thinks that merger arbitrage funds are worth looking at now, as merger activity runs at a record pace.

Audio-Magazines look better than newspapers, says Elevation’s Pearlman

elevation.jpgBret Pearlman, managing director and co-founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners, sees magazines as a more attractive investment than newspapers. In this sound clip, he explains why.

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