Happy Sunday: Where Are the Billionaires Putting Their Money?

Posted on Aug 29, 2021. by NTI

Do you know what 'bootstrapping' is?

No, not that.

Apparently, bootstrappers take an idea, uisng their innate talent and creativity, build a worthwhile business without the backing from investors and having little or no starting capital. It takes great dedication, sound work ethics, and pure single-mindedness to achieve success this way. So, that's one thing you can do with all the spare cash you couldn't spend over the past 20 months (make a note if you have both talent and creativity). Or, in the alternative, you can start your own investment company with the extra cash (a little more difficult, and then you end up working for/with an investment company - which would be unbearable). However, your money works harder for you and it's a nice thought to consider your money is working even harder than you are.

If you are the Issa brothers (and there's a statistical chance that you're not) you will use genius and opportunity to open 300  “Asda on the Move” stores on your company EG’s 400 UK forecourts. The fact Asda has not had a convenience retail offer, when convenience and discount retail are the only two growing categories in the sector, demonstates that big business (such as previous owners Walmart) often don't have a clue, to accessorise their lack of talent and ingenuity.

This brings us neatly to the future of all retail; logistics and distribution. A former Topshop distribution centre has been bought by a US subsidiary of property giant CBRE, in a deal that marks a record land price for a UK warehouse. Trammell Crow has paid £38 million for the facility in Milton Keynes, equivalent to £2 million per acre. The purchase marks the new owner’s first foray into the UK market and underscores the huge demand for distribution centres as companies race to meet booming demand for online deliveries. Property agents from DTRE sold the facility on behalf of Arcadia’s Administrators, Teneo (yes, we had to look twice at those two four-letter acronyms, as well).

Over in the States in Brooklyn, there are a huge number of old, leaky housing blocks that have had attention drawn to them for current and future investment, as they host scraps between charities and powerful investment groups. One such investment bank is the formidable Blackstone, which manages about 650 billion US dollars worth of assets. Last month we heard that AIG's disputed stake in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn would be sold to Blackstone, as part of a $5 billion deal.

The plan appears to be to gain custodianship of such housing assets in areas ripe for gentrification and wait for rent control regulations to expire. Blackstone has said that it intends to maintain affordability after federal and state rent controls on many of its 83,000 apartments expire over the next 20 years. Which is nice of them. Too nice.

Back in the UK, our second biggest bank, Lloyds, has expanded its ever-growing portfolio of residential rental properties at a new development in Peterborough; Fletton Quays. They scooped up 45 homes - one in eight of those available - off-plan when they went on sale in September 2018. The deal is the first step in the bank’s mission to become one of the UK’s largest landlords. Lloyds aims to be renting 50,000 homes - the size of a small town - by 2031.

An Abu Dhabi wealth fund has a lot of left-over cash to spray around and they are looking in the direction of CityFibre, the UK telecoms infrastructure group. They have dug as deep as £2 billion (at the moment) and are determined to take on the UK's two established operators in BT Openreach and Virgin Media. The NTI newsroom are told that these companies are called 'alt-nets' and many of them are seeking to shake up the UK's telecoms markets.

Also seeking to change is British Airways, which posted a £1.3 billion loss in 2020 and wants to start flying more aircraft. Having initially given up on London Gatwick (again), where they hold 26 per cent of the landing slots, they have decided that third time must be lucky to set up a rival to EasyJet, Ryanair and Whizz, relying upon their reputation and routes, offering cheap travel to Europe. Gatwick is just the place for such cheapness and accessibility to Europe's airports.

That cannot go as badly as their second attempt to do the same thing, so we think it will probably do as badly as the first time.

Happy Sunday.

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