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'Track Your Build' @trackyourbuild ) a Pan-African Drone Infrastructure Imagery Company from Sierra Leone

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 8:35am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
Track Your Build Provides clearer Insight for better infrastructure. Our offerings are most relevant for companies, NGOs and Governments who are building or already own. infrastructure but struggle to have reliable and high quality information to manage ongoing projects or maintain existing assets. We are a mapping, GIS and data management company that provides clients with the information they need to build new assets or extend the lifespan and usefulness of existing ones. Track Your Build uses drones, satellites, cloud computing and analytics for smart infrastructure management. We employ a hands-on and on-site approach to providing our clients the support they need.

African crowdsolving startup Zindi ( @ZindiAfrica ) scales 10,000 data scientists

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 5:22am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
From Techcrunch:
Cape Town based startup Zindi has registered 10,000 data-scientists on its platform that uses AI and machine learning to crowdsolve complex problems in Africa.

Founded in 2018, the early-stage venture allows companies, NGOs or government institutions to host online competitions around data-oriented challenges.

Zindi opens the contests to the African data scientists on its site who can join a competition, submit solution sets, move up a leader board and win — for a cash prize payout...[more]

Senegal launches wind power plant in Taiba N'Daiye

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 4:23am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
CNN reports:
As part of its plan to push for more renewable energy, Senegal inaugurated what it describes as West Africa's largest wind power plant on Monday.

The zero-emissions power plant will supply up to 15% of Senelec's energy production. Senelec is Senegal's national electricity company...[more]

Private equity has become a big player in the startup market. Here are the 10 biggest startup acquisitions PE firms have made in the last 3 years. (CHWY)

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 8:52pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Private equity firms have become major players in the startup market.
  • Last year, 20% of all startups that had a successful exit — meaning they either went public or were acquired — were bought in a private equity-related deal.
  • Startups still see lots more money from IPOs and corporate acquisitions than from private equity deals, but PE firms are spending increasing amounts.
  • The top 10 biggest private equity purchases of startups are listed below.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The vast majority of startups don't go public. They get acquired — assuming they don't go out of business first.

Traditionally, the acquirers of venture-backed startups have been other, independent companies in the same industry, whether they are established players or other startups. But more and more startups these days are being acquired by private equity firms.

Last year, about 20% of all startups that had a successful exit — meaning they were either acquired or went public — were purchased either directly by a private equity firm or by a company that was owned by one, according to PitchBook. That was up from just 5% in 2003.

Startup backers still see lots more money from the public markets and corporate buyers than they do from private equity firms. But the amounts that PE firms are spending on startups is steadily increasing and in some cases has gotten quite large.

Last year, such firms spent $6.3 billion buying up startups — up from $690 million seven years earlier. And three private equity buyouts over the three years topped $1 billion.

Here, according to PitchBook, are the 10 largest private equity purchases of startups over the last three years:

SEE ALSO: Stunned venture capital investors say the government's move to kill the $1.4 billion acquisition of shaving upstart Harry's is a 'wakeup call' that could leave some types of startups unviable

10. Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners — Cologix, $500 million

Startup: Cologix
Headquarters: Denver
Industry: IT Services — Data center provider
Number of venture rounds: 3
Venture equity capital raised: $43.9 million
Pre-acquisition debt raised: $375 million

Acquirer: Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners
Closing Date: March 21, 2017
Amount: $500 million

Sources: PitchBook, Cologix

9. Lithium Technologies (owned by Vista Equity partners) — Spredfast, $540 million

Startup: Spredfast
Headquarters: San Francisco
Industry: Digital marketing, customer relationship management
Number of venture rounds: 7
Venture equity capital raised: $140.3 million

Acquirer: Lithium Technologies
Private-equity backer: Vista Equity Partners
Name of successor startup: Khoros
Closing Date: October 2, 2018
Amount: $540 million

Sources: PitchBook, Khoros

8. Blackstone — Vungle, $750 million

Startup: Vungle
Headquarters: San Francisco
Industry: Mobile advertising
Number of venture rounds: 3
Venture equity capital raised: $27.4 million

Acquirer: Blackstone
Closing Date: September 30, 2019
Amount: $750 million

Sources: PitchBook, Vungle

7. Navicure (owned by Bain Capital) — ZirMed, $750 million

Startup: ZirMed
Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky
Industry: Healthcare billing software
Number of venture rounds: 2
Venture equity capital raised: Not disclosed

Acquirer: Navicure
Private-equity backer: Bain Capital
Name of successor startup: Waystar
Closing Date: November 1, 2017
Amount: $750 million

Sources: PitchBook, Waystar

6. Insight Partners — Recorded Future, $780 million

Startup: Recorded Future
Headquarters: Somerville, Mass.
Industry: Cybersecurity
Number of venture rounds: 5
Venture equity capital raised: $59 million

Acquirer: Insight Partners
Closing Date: May 30, 2019
Amount: $780 million

Sources: PitchBook, Recorded Future

5. Vista Equity Partners— Wrike, $800 million

Startup: Wrike
Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.
Industry: Project management software
Number of venture rounds: 4
Venture equity capital raised: $36.6 million
Pre-acquisition debt raised: $10 million

Acquirer: Vista Equity Partners
Closing Date: November 29, 2018
Amount: $800 million

Sources: PitchBook, Wrike

4. Vista Equity Partners — Integral Ad Science, $835 million

Startup: Integral Ad Science
Headquarters: New York
Industry: Digital advertising analytics
Number of venture rounds: 6
Venture equity capital raised: $81.3 million
Pre-acquisition debt raised: $14.2 million

Acquirer: Vista Equity Partners
Closing Date: July 1, 2018
Amount: $835 million

Sources: PitchBook, Integral Ad Science

3. Vista Equity Partners — Acquia, $1 billion

Startup: Acquia
Headquarters: Boston
Industry: Content management software and hosting service
Number of venture rounds: 10
Venture equity capital raised: $194 million

Acquirer: Vista Equity Partners
Closing Date: November 1, 2019
Amount: $1 billion

Sources: PitchBook, Acquia

2. Thoma Bravo — ConnectWise, $1.5 billion

Startup: ConnectWise
Headquarters: Tampa, Fla.
Industry: IT services
Number of venture rounds: 0 (Bootstrapped)

Acquirer: Thoma Bravo
Closing Date: February 28, 2019
Amount: $1.5 billion

Sources: PitchBook, ConnectWise

1. PetSmart (owned by BC Partners) — Chewy, $3.4 billion

Startup: Chewy
Headquarters: Dania Beach, Fla.
Industry: Pet supply online retailer
Number of venture rounds: 3
Venture equity capital raised: $286 million

Acquirer: PetSmart
Private-equity backer: BC Partners
Closing Date: May 31, 2017
Amount: $3.4 billion

Sources: PitchBook, Chewy

Got a tip about the venture-capital industry or startups? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Pete Buttigieg has a net worth of around $100,000, the smallest of the presidential candidates. Here's what we know about how the former mayor made his money.

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 7:00pm  |  Clusterstock

READ MORE: Here's everything we know about the net worth and personal finances of each 2020 Democratic presidential candidate

SEE ALSO: Pete Buttigieg is running for president in 2020. Here's everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.

Pete Buttigieg has an estimated net worth of around $100,000 according to Forbes.

Source: Forbes

This estimate is based on Pete and, his husband, Chasten Buttigieg's combined assets in real estate and investments, worth about $440,000, minus their accumulated debt of $330,000 from mortgages and student loans.

Source: Forbes

Pete and Chasten live in a 2,500-square-foot house in South Bend, Indiana. Pete bought the house for $125,000 around 10 years ago.

Source: Forbes

Nathan Heller, an editor for Vogue, described their house as "one of the nicest in the city," after interviewing with the candidate.

Source: Vogue

Pete has the smallest net worth of any 2020 democratic presidential candidates.

Source: Business Insider, CNN

After completing his Rhodes Scholarship program at Oxford, Pete began working as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, in 2007.

Source: ABC News, The Washington Post, Vox

Pete's tax records indicate that for his last full year at McKinsey & Company in 2009, he made upwards of $135,000.

Source: Forbes, The Washington Post, Pete Buttigieg

In 2009, Pete joined the military as a US Navy Reserve officer and later served a seven-month tour in Afghanistan in 2014.

Source: Business Insider, Forbes

By the time Pete decided to run for mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in 2011, his annual income was just $7,000.

Source: Forbes

In his autobiography, "Shortest Way Home," Pete writes that during this time he was making about $400 a month from Reserve duty, which was "just shy of enough to cover my mortgage."

Source: Shortest Way Home, Forbes

Pete eventually became mayor in 2012 and has made more than $100,000 every year since, except for when he was deployed in 2014. He made $46,000 that year.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

During the debate on February 19, 2020, Pete Buttigieg made his stance on money clear, saying, "At the end of the day, it's not just about how much money you've got; it's what you stand for."

Source: CNBC

We did the math to calculate how many hours it took Bob Iger to make what his workers earned in one year when he ran Disney

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:37pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger just stepped down, and while it's not surprising that CEOs like him make a lot more money than their employees, the massive extent of that pay gap can sometimes be overlooked.
  • US companies are required to publish their chief executives' annual compensation, as well as the ratio of that compensation to the annual pay of the company's median employee.
  • Using those ratios, we calculated how long it took CEOs at 19 of the biggest companies in the US to make what at typical employee earned in a year.
  • Several CEOs, including Iger and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, took less than a day to make a typical employee's annual salary.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Disney CEO Bob Iger just stepped down, and it's no surprise that chief executives like him make a lot more than the workers they oversee. We took a look at just how big that gap is at some of America's biggest corporations.

One of the provisions of the post-financial-crisis Dodd-Frank reform bill requires corporations to disclose the ratio of their CEO's pay to that of the median employee at the company. Using those pay ratios, we calculated how long it would take the CEOs of big US companies to make what the median employee earned in a year.

So far, 19 of the 100 largest corporations in the S&P 500 as measured by their market capitalizations have filed their CEO compensation figures and pay ratios for the 2019 fiscal year. More companies will follow over the next several months.

The gap between what a CEO makes and what a typical employee makes varies widely from company to company. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had a total compensation 88 times larger than the typical employee at his company, meaning it took him a little over four days to earn the median employee's annual salary. Meanwhile, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon made 1,076 times what the typical Walmart worker made, and thus earned a median Walmart employee's annual salary in just eight hours.

As with any discussion of executive compensation, it's worth noting that pay for people at the top is a bit more complicated than just getting a biweekly direct deposit. Many CEOs receive the bulk of their compensation in the form of equity in the companies they run, and so they may not realize the full value of their pay as reported to the SEC for years.

Here's the full list, along with the CEOs' fiscal year 2019 compensation, median employee pay, and the CEO to median worker pay ratio:

SEE ALSO: 6 charts that show how much more wealth the 1% have over everyone else

19. Oracle co-CEO Safra Katz took 30 days and 10 hours to earn what a typical employee did in a year.

CEO compensation: $965,981

Typical employee salary: $83,813

Ratio: 12:1

Oracle's other co-CEO Mark Hurd died in October 2019.

18. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took 4 days and 4 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $13,642,838

Typical employee salary: $155,035

Ratio: 88:1

17. Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi took 3 days and 5 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $17,933,345

Typical employee salary: $157,232

Ratio: 114:1

Intuit noted in their proxy statement that Goodarzi's compensation reflects annualized pay.

16. Costco CEO W. Craig Jelinek took 2 days and 4 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $8,016,200

Typical employee salary: $47,312

Ratio: 169:1

15. Visa CEO Alfred F. Kelly Jr. took 2 days and 4 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $24,265,771

Typical employee salary: $142,494

Ratio: 170:1

14. Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins took 2 days to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $25,829,833

Typical employee salary: $142,593

Ratio: 181:1

13. Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff took 1 day and 23 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $28,391,846

Typical employee salary: $151,955

Ratio: 187:1

Salesforce's other co-CEO Keith Block made $16,961,156 in 2019, meaning it took him 3 days, 6 hours to make what a typical employee did in a year. He stepped down from the role in February 2020.

12. Apple CEO Tim Cook took 1 day and 20 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $11,555,466

Typical employee salary: $57,596

Ratio: 201:1

11. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak took 1 day and 13 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $17,796,325

Typical employee salary: $74,206

Ratio: 240:1

10. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took 1 day and 11 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $42,910,215

Typical employee salary: $172,512

Ratio: 249:1

9. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf took 1 day and 10 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $23,065,052

Typical employee salary: $90,259

Ratio: 256:1

8. ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez took 1 day and 5 hours to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $19,000,187

Typical employee salary: $63,225

Ratio: 301:1

7. Former Nike CEO Mark G. Parker took 15 hours and 56 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $13,968,022

Typical employee salary: $25,386

Ratio: 550:1

Note: Parker stepped down as Nike CEO in January 2020 and was succeeded by John Donahoe.

6. Estée Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda took 12 hours and 34 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $21,435,428

Typical employee salary: $30,733

Ratio: 697:1

5. Former Accenture Interim CEO David P. Rowland took 10 hours and 43 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $15,031,875

Typical employee salary: $18,392

Ratio: 817:1

Note: Rowland stepped down as CEO in September 2019 and was succeeded by Julie Sweet. Accenture also provided an alternate estimate of the CEO pay ratio based on a cost-of-living adjustment, as their median employee was based in India. Using that estimate, the ratio was 298:1, and Rowland would have made what the median employee did in 1 day, 5 hours.

4. Former Disney CEO Bob Iger took 9 hours and 37 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $47,517,762

Typical employee salary: $52,184

Ratio: 911:1

3. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon took 8 hours and 8 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $23,618,233

Typical employee salary: $21,952

Ratio: 1,076:1

2. TJX CEO Ernie Herrman took 5 hours and 29 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $18,822,770

Typical employee salary: $11,791

Ratio: 1,596:1

1. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson took 5 hours and 14 minutes to earn what a typical employee made in a year.

CEO compensation: $19,241,950

Typical employee salary: $11,489

Ratio: 1,675:1

Bob Iger is stepping down as the CEO of Disney after nearly 15 years. Here's how the media titan makes and spends his $690 million fortune.

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:22pm  |  Clusterstock

Bob Iger isn't called the "King of Hollywood" for nothing — but now, the "king" is retiring. 

On Tuesday, Disney announced Iger will step down as CEO after his 15-year tenure at the helm of the company. He will be replaced by Bob Chapek, formerly the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Iger will now assume the role of executive chairman, and will help the company transition until the end of his contract on December 31, 2021.

"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO," Iger said in a press statement. 

Iger started his entertainment career in 1974 as a studio supervisor at ABC and climbed through the show business ranks to become the CEO of one of the most powerful businesses in the world. Iger recounted this journey in his memoir "The Ride of a Lifetime," released in September, in which he chronicled how he went from making $150 a week doing "menial labor" on ABC shows to earning over $60 million a year running The Walt Disney Company. 

Since Iger became CEO on October 1, 2005, the company's stock has risen 492%. But after 45 years in the entertainment industry, Disney isn't the only thing Iger has built up — he has also amassed a sizeable personal fortune. 

Forbes reported that Iger has a net worth of $690 million, which is thought to be higher than that of Abigail Disney; the Disney heiress said in July she's worth about $120 million. Iger, meanwhile, was compensated $65.6 million in 2018 — which Forbes notes is 1,424 times what the average Disney employee makes.

The Walt Disney Company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Here's what we know about Iger's life and rise, including how he made and now spends his multimillion fortune.

SEE ALSO: Acquisitions, global growth, and Baby Yoda: How CEO Bob Iger's leadership style turned Disney into a $260 billion colossus

DON'T MISS: Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down from Apple's board ahead of the launch of the tech company's new streaming service

Bob Iger was known as being one of the most influential business leaders in the world. He was CEO of Disney from 2005 to 2020 and has a net worth of $690 million, per Forbes' estimates.

Forbes reports that Iger's net worth is actually higher than the Abigail Disney's. The Disney heiress said in July that she's worth about $120 million.

On December 3, the Television Academy announced that Iger — along with Seth MacFarlane and Cicely Tyson, among several others — would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The 25th Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place on January 28 at the Television Academy's Saban Media Center, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


He was also named Time's businessperson of the year for 2019.

"In a year when the tide has shifted against Big Business, Big Media and Big Tech, Iger has transformed his enormous media company into a gargantuan media and tech business while ensuring that the Walt Disney Co.'s products remain widely beloved," Belinda Luscombe wrote in Time's profile of him. "But for now, for just this moment, Iger is unassailable. He's transformed his company from a stuffy media doyen into a sexy cultural force."

Iger was born Robert Allen Iger in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the small town of Oceanside, New York.

"I am very lucky," Iger told Laurene Powell Jobs at The Atlantic Festival in Washington in September. "I was a lower middle class kid or middle class. My father had manic depression so he had trouble holding a job. I started as a $150-a-week employee at ABC 45 years ago and rose up to be CEO of this company. It is a great story, but it is not necessarily because I was extraordinary."

He attended Ithaca College where he graduated magna cum lade in 1973 with a degree in Television and Radio.

At Ithaca College, Iger hosted a campus television show called "Campus Probe." He graduated, originally wanting to be a news anchor, and briefly worked as a local weatherman in Ithaca, New York.

But he quickly realized that being a news anchor was not going to work out for him.

In 1974, Iger joined ABC, working in New York City. He wrote in his memoir "The Ride of a Lifetime" that he did "menial labor" for basically every show ABC produced out of Manhattan at the time.

Iger wrote in his book that he got his first job at ABC because of his uncle, who was in the hospital for eye surgery. His uncle was in the room next to someone who claimed to be a top executive at ABC, who said he would give the younger Iger a job.

Iger took the "top executive" up on his offer, though he quickly realized that the person was not a "top executive" but instead a lower-level one. Still, the person ran a small department at ABC known as Production Services and was able to secure Iger an interview with the department.

At age 23, Iger was brought on as a "studio supervisor."

But after a confrontation with his boss, Iger was almost fired and forced to look for a new job. Soon after, he moved over to a position at ABC Sports.

Iger has said that one of his bosses accused Iger of spreading rumors about him, causing the young Iger to almost be fired.

"He called me in and accused me of spreading rumors about him," Iger recalled at the UCLA Awards Gala in 2013, "when I knew the rumors happened to be based in fact. He told me I wasn't promotable and I had two weeks to find another job somewhere in the company or I was gone. Fortunately, I was able to find another job in the company. They didn't think I wasn't promotable, I guess."

He worked his way up the ABC Sports ladder, working closely with Roone Arledge, "a relentless perfectionist," who was the head of ABC Sports at the time.

Iger wrote in his book that Arledge was the one who taught him the mantra which would follow Iger for the rest of his life: "Innovate or die."

Iger went on to become the vice president of ABC Sports. ABC was later sold to Capital Cities Communications for $3.5 billion, in a deal finalized in 1986.

Source: The Ride of a Lifetime, The Los Angeles Times

Shortly after, Tom Murphy and Dan Burke — the heads of Capital Cities/ABC — tapped Iger to become the head of ABC Entertainment, and Iger moved to Los Angeles, California.

Iger wrote in his memoir that the constant traveling put strain on his first marriage, to Kathleen Susan. Eventually, the two divorced. They have two daughters.

While at the helm of ABC Entertainment, Iger was the one who took a chance and put David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" on air.

The critically-acclaimed series was cancelled after two seasons, but Iger wrote in his book that the risk he took putting it on television caught the attention of other famed directors such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. 

Iger and Lucas then developed a show based on the Indiana Jones franchise, which was cancelled after two seasons. But, Iger wrote in his book, Lucas never forgot the risk Iger took on his show, and he remembered it years later when he decided to sell Lucasfilm to Disney.

In 1993, Iger became president of ABC Network's Television Group. When Burke retired, Iger was tapped to replace him as president and chief operating officer of Capital Cities/ABC.

Source: C-SPAN

In 1995, Iger married journalist Willow Bay who, at the time, was a stand-in weekend news anchor on Good Morning America, and was poised to take over for then-full time host Joan Lunden.

Iger and Bay became engaged in 1995. But after Disney agreed to buy Capital Cities/ABC that same year, Iger had quick decisions to make.

At that time, he wrote in his memoir, he had been commuting weekly to Los Angeles to meet his new Disney colleagues. He knew that after the acquisition was approved, he and Bay would not have much time to honeymoon. So, they quickly married later that same year.

"Willow and I also knew we'd have no chance for a honeymoon once the deal closed," he wrote. "We radically shortened our engagement and got married in early October 1995."

They are still married, living in Brentwood, California, and have two children together.

In 1996, The Walt Disney Company bought Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion, and renamed it ABC, Inc.

Iger wrote in his memoir that he heavily considered walking away from Disney at this point. But as part of the Disney-ABC merger, Iger agreed to run a media division at Disney for five years.

In 1999, Iger became the president of Disney International, the business division overseeing Disney's global operations. A year later, he was tapped to become the chief operating officer of Disney, working directly under then-CEO Michael Eisner.

Forbes reported that between 1994 and 1999, Eisner made $631 million. In the year 1997 alone, Eisner reportedly made more than $550 million. Over the years, Eisner invested his Disney money and became a billionaire by 2008 — perhaps predicting the financial path Iger is well on his way to following.

Source: Variety

In the early 2000s, tensions began to brew between Eisner and Roy E. Disney, the heir of Disney. After Eisner stepped down, Iger became the CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 2005.

Iger wrote in his book that, despite being the COO and thereby second in command behind Eisner, his promotion to CEO was not a guarantee. If anything, he wrote, many had associated him with the turbulence of Eisner's era and wanted an outsider for the job. Iger said he campaigned for months until he was officially named CEO in 2005

Forbes reported in 2019 that in his first year as CEO, Iger made $22 million, a salary which did not include the stock options worth $2.9 million.

One of Iger's first major moves as CEO was to rebuild Disney's relationship with Pixar. At the time, the relationship between Disney and Pixar was strained, and Iger felt the future of Disney Animation relied on repairing it.

Before he officially became the CEO of Disney, he called to let Steve Jobs — who was the majority shareholder in Pixar — know he was being appointed CEO and shared his hope they could discuss working together in the future. From there, the two began to slowly work on repairing the fraught relationship between the two companies. 

Iger wrote in his memoir that he felt Disney needed Pixar to help enter the future of animation. Pixar at the time was using technologies to produce content that had never been seen before, Iger wrote in his book.

Iger wanted Disney to be in on it — not just as a distributor for the films, as their previous agreement had stated, but to actually own what Pixar was bringing to the table.

In 2006, Disney announced that it would acquire Pixar for $7.4 billion, making Jobs, the majority shareholder in Pixar at the time, the majority shareholder in Disney.

Iger wrote in his book that the two companies were able to come together after he reached out to Jobs to forge a friendship and address any issues between the two companies. 

Iger and Jobs would go on to have a long friendship until Jobs passed away in 2011. A month after Jobs died, Iger joined the Apple Board, where he remained until he stepped down in 2019 ahead of launching Disney+.

In 2009, Iger led Disney's acquisition of Marvel for $4 billion. This gave Disney access to the Marvel comic book library, which was the beginning of the now multibillion-dollar, box office record-breaking Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iger wrote that part of the reason Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter was willing to sell the company was because Jobs called Perlmutter to "vouch for" Iger and praised how Iger had handled the Disney-Pixar merger.

Still looking to help Disney expand into the future, in 2012, Iger led Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This gave Disney control of not just the Star Wars franchise, but also the Indiana Jones franchise.

Iger said that he knew Lucas was nervous to sell Lucasfim to Disney — mostly because the "Star Wars" creator knew he would be selling his legacy along with it. But eventually, Lucas warmed up to the idea.

Lucas enlisted Kathleen Kennedy to lead Lucasfilm right before the company was sold to Disney. The first Star Wars film made without Lucas was released a few years later, in 2015 — "The Force Awakens," directed by J.J Abrams.

The company's acquisition spree continued in 2018, when Disney agreed to buy 21st Century Fox. Fox at the time was owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch who, after the sale, became one of the largest shareholders in Disney.

Forbes reported in March that, if Murdoch were to cash in all stock available to him from the Disney deal, he owns about $10.5 billion worth of Disney stock. In addition, Variety reported that collectively, the Murdoch family members are now "the largest individual shareholders in Disney."

Iger wrote in his memoir that Murdoch selling the company he had built from scratch was an indicator that the "disruption" which was threatening the entertainment industry was now inevitable. 

"As [Rupert Murdoch] pondered the future of his company in such a disrupted world, he concluded the smartest thing to do was to sell and give his shareholders and his family a chance to convert its 21st Century Fox stock into Disney stock, believing we were better positioned to withstand the change and, combined, we'd be even stronger," Iger wrote in his book. 

In March, the merger between 21st Century Fox and Disney was completed, with a price tag of $71.3 billion. This move made Disney the second-largest media company in the world, Forbes reported.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

On February 25, Disney announced that Bob Iger would step down as CEO and assume the role of executive chairman until his contract expires on December 31, 2021.

Iger is to be replaced by Bob Chapek, former chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Product.

"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO," Iger said in a press statement. "I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney's multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company's creative endeavors."

Iger is known among peers for being a very kind leader and has been praised by his contemporaries for the way he has handled the mergers of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.

In the past 14 years, he has grown Disney's profits 335% to $260 billion, Business Insider reported.

Forbes also reports that under Iger, Disney has created more than 70,000 new jobs. 

"Literally, I have never heard one person say a bad thing about him and I have never seen him be mean," billionaire David Geffen told The New York Times in a profile on Iger. "To be honorable, decent, smart, successful, and a terrific guy is unusual anywhere. But it is most unusual in the entertainment business. He's in a category of one."

Iger's own increasing fortune has paralleled the rise in Disney's value over the years he's been at the helm.

Forbes reports that Iger's net worth is now a staggering $690 million, making him richer than the current Disney heir, Abigail Disney, who has said she's worth about $120 million.

Forbes reported that that Iger's fortune is split between his Disney shares "and cash or other investment from sales of Disney shares over the decades."

According to Forbes, Iger was compensated $65.6 million in 2018, which is 1,424 times the average Disney employee's salary. He had been given another $26.3 million in stock after he successfully closed the Disney-Fox merger and for agreeing to extend his contract until 2021. His initial compensation last year was $39.3 million (not including stock rewards).

In April 2019, Abigail Disney publicly criticized Iger's high pay on Twitter and later wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post elaborating on her thoughts

"I'm not arguing that Iger and others do not deserve bonuses. They do," Disney wrote. "They have led the company brilliantly. I am saying that the people who contribute to its success also deserve a share of the profits they have helped make happen."

As Iger is a very private person, not much is known about his spending. He lives in a $19 million home in Brentwood, California, with his wife and their two children.

They bought their Brentwood home in 2006 from actress Michelle Pfeiffer for about $19 million, the Orlando Sentinel reported that year.

The home is 7,500 square feet and has five bedrooms with nine bathrooms, with a guest house, a tennis court, and a pool. As of a 2018 interview with Vogue, Iger was still living in Brentwood.

The Igers also previously owned an apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City. The property sold in 2018 for $18.75 million, Business Insider reported.

The Igers' former home has a library, living room views of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, and four bedrooms, including one master suite with two bathrooms and a walk-in closet.

Iger also spends time — and likely money — maintaining his mental and physical health, about which he's notoriously rigorous. He told The New York Times that he wakes up at 4:15 every morning and doesn't touch his phone until he's finished with his morning exercise routine.

Iger has also said that he doesn't eat carbs unless it's pizza, recalling that during his high school years, he worked at his local Pizza Hut.

When he's "off the clock," he travels. Iger is a regular attendee at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. The media conference is a hub for entertainment and tech moguls, and it attracts titans like Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Variety reports that in 2019, Iger attended the conference along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Shari Redstone, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, and even former Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper.

Source: Business Insider

Iger also spends some of his fortune on vacations. Beyond their business dealings related to Disney and Pixar, Iger was also close personal friends with Jobs and has said the two would vacation together in nearby resorts in Hawaii.

"We vacationed at adjacent Hawaiian hotels a few times and would meet and take long walks on the beach, talking about our wives and kids, about music, about Apple and Disney and the things we might still do together," he wrote in his book. "You don't expect to develop such close friendships late in life, but when I think back on my time as CEO — at the things I'm most grateful for and surprised by — my relationship with Steve is one of them."

In December, the former CEO and his wife committed $1 million to launch the Iger-Bay Endowed Scholarship at Iger's alma mater, Ithaca College. The scholarship aims to boost diversity in the media industry.

The scholarship was funded through the proceeds from Iger's memoir "The Ride of a Lifetime."

In his personal life, Iger has a set of A-list friends who have been known to rave about him. One of those friends is media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who has said that if Iger were to run for president, she would not just vote for him but eagerly campaign on his behalf.

"I'll tell you the truth, this is not really where I intended to be tonight," Winfrey said at the Centennial Awards, where Iger was being honored, in October. "I was hoping that by this time in early fall, I would be knocking on doors in Des Moines, wearing an 'Iger 2020' t-shirt. Because I really do believe that Bob Iger's guidance and decency is exactly what the country needs right now."

He is also close to Jeffrey Katzenberg, cofounder of Dreamworks and former chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Katzenberg has a net worth of $900 million.

After Comcast bought Dreamworks in 2016 for $3.8 billion, Katzenberg's net worth rose to $900 million

Iger and Katzenberg have been friends for years, and Katzenberg is among the group of people who have been trying to encourage the Disney CEO to run for president.

"No matter how much I begged Bob," Katzenberg said while presenting the Simon Wiesenthal Center Humanitarian Award to Iger in April. "He just wasn't willing to run for president of the United States."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Iger has been seen on billionaire David Geffen's yacht. In August 2017, Iger was seen on the yacht with Winfrey, Diane von Furstenberg, and Diane Sawyer.

Geffen owns a megayacht, known to be a common hang-out spot for celebrities and fellow billionaires (including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) during the summer months, as seen on his Instagram page.

As previously reported by Business Insider, the yacht is worth $590 million.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Iger has also spent his free time involved in politics in the past. Shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, Iger joined Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.

Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum was a business council created to hear the perspectives of different leaders on how to improve job growth in the US. 

But Iger stepped down from the role in 2017 after Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Variety reported.

Iger announced his resignation from the council in a tweet stating: "As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #Paris Agreement withdrawal." 

The council, which has now completely disbanded, also included JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Stephen A. Schwarzman, the cofounder of private equity firm Blackstone.

In his book, Iger admitted that he once considered running for president, but ultimately decided against it.

"I think the Democratic Party would brand me as just another rich guy who's out of touch with America who doesn't have any sense for what's good for the plight of the people," he told The New York Times in a September profile.

Despite many people — including some major Hollywood players — urging him to run for president in late 2019, Iger publicly remained firm that he had no plans to pursue a presidential campaign.

In September 2019, however, Iger did outline what would have been the central themes of his campaign, had he decided to run.

"America is gravely in need of optimism, of looking at the future and believing that so many things are going to be all right, or that we as a nation can attack some of the most critical problems of our day," Iger said at The Atlantic Festival in Washington in September. "And that could be the environment, that could be income disparity, that could be the technology's impact on the world from a disruption perspective. It could be the cost of education, availability of affordable housing, healthcare. You name it."

I've owned 3 houses, and there are 5 things I wish I could tell every first-time home buyer

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:17pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Owning your own home gives you many freedoms, but it also sometimes comes with unexpected costs.
  • When house hunting and managing your home, it's important to plan ahead and build emergency savings for unplanned repairs.
  • Shopping around and solid financial planning can make homes more affordable and easier to attain.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

There's something special about owning your own home. In addition to the right to paint your bedroom or living room any color you want without someone else's permission, owning your home gives you maximum control over your living space.

While it isn't for everyone and isn't for every situation, owning a home can also be a great financial decision. 

I've owned three homes over the last decade or so and learned some important lessons along the way. Here are five valuable lessons I've learned from owning my own homes instead of renting.

1. Repairs and maintenance are always more than you think

When we moved into our current house, we planned on a handful of repairs from the inspection and a few small upgrades. We didn't plan on the rats in the attic, worn-out air conditioner part, or non-functioning water softener, however.

When you own a home, it seems like there's always some expense coming up. Whether it's a required plumbing repair or a planned room remodel, there's always a cost involved. Between the "want to" projects and the "have to" repairs, it's always a good idea to add room in your budget for unexpected costs.

2. Plan 10 years out when shopping for a home

My first home was a condo in Denver's trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. I spent about a year shopping for my first home and I was very picky about a few important features. I was flexible on a lot, but I knew I wanted a place that could house a future wife and maybe even a kid or two.

It's a good thing I planned to cohabit. Not long after buying my bachelor pad, I met my future wife, who eventually moved in. People often live in a home longer than they plan, so it's good to plan far ahead when shopping around. Think about your needs at least a decade out, if not farther.

3. You'll always have to compromise on something

Do you have a dream home in mind that you just know is out there somewhere? I used to think I could find an absolute dream home, but it turns out every home requires some level of compromise.

My condo in Denver was in an amazing location but had a small galley kitchen that you had to pass through on the way to the living room, and it didn't have in-unit laundry. My house in Portland, Oregon had an amazing master bathroom but almost no usable outside space. My current house, in California, has a backyard paradise, but the master bathroom is tiny and the garage is too tight for both of our cars.

I would have loved a bigger kitchen in Denver. A bigger backyard would have been nice in Portland. And I would give a lot for a bigger bathroom and a wider garage in my current home. But sometimes you just have to pick the best home for your needs that's available and affordable at the right time.

4. Shop around for the best mortgage

When I bought the Denver condo, I went to a business associate of my dad for my mortgage. Rates were on the way down so I used the same bank to refinance about a year later. I put in a little more work for the later mortgages.

When I moved into my home in Portland, I completed three mortgage applications and took the one with the best rate, which was not from the lender I expected. For my current loan, I had to shop around for a lender that would issue a loan to someone who is self-employed with less than two years as a full-time freelancer. It was more work than I expected but allowed me to buy my little slice of California.

If shopping around saves you just 0.25%, that could easily be worth $10,000 or more over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

5. Bigger down payments make for more affordable monthly payments

When I was approved for my current mortgage, the lender didn't want to give us quite as much as we wanted. They said we needed to come up with more than $50,000 over our planned down payment to make it work. Doing so would make our monthly payment low enough to meet the lender's debt-to-income ratio requirements.

In addition to getting approved for the loan, a bigger down payment led to a lower monthly cost. Thanks to the two homes I've owned and sold for a profit in the past, I was able to afford a down payment of more than half the value of the house. That brought the monthly payment down to a very manageable cost for us.

It's nice to have a place to call your own

I hang up pictures and make little holes in the wall without thinking of landlords or security deposits. I can modify and improve my home however I want. That's a huge perk of owning your own place.

But it also means paying for your own repairs and maintenance. It means property taxes and homeowner's insurance. There are certainly strings attached. But for many homeowners, myself included, they are well worth the cost.

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FANG stocks shed $177 billion in just two days as coronavirus fears roil markets

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:00pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Popular technology stocks have not been immune to market panic around a potential coronavirus pandemic. 
  • FANG stocks, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google parent company Alphabet, shed a combined $177 billion in market capitalization in just two days as coronavirus fears slammed global markets. 
  • Each of the tech giants fell for two days in a row along with the wider market. 
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Even the most popular technology stocks have been hammered as coronavirus fears slam global markets. 

Shares of the so-called FANG stocks, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google parent company Alphabet, shed a combined $177 billion in market capitalization in just two days as coronavirus fears slammed global markets. 

Each of the technology giants pared losses on Monday and Tuesday when global stocks fell for two days in a row. On Tuesday, Alphabet shed the most in market capitalization, losing roughly $24 billion in value on a 2.5% fall. Netflix was the smallest loser, erasing about $4 billion after falling 2.4%.

The tech stocks were weighed down by the broader market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1,900 points over two days, while the S&P 500 shed about 6% and posted its worst day since February 2018 on Monday. The Nasdaq fell into negative territory for the year. 

The market rout was spurred by an uptick in coronavirus cases and deaths outside of China, where the disease originated. So far, the flu-like virus has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 across 30 countries including the US, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. 

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

Bob Iger has lived by 3 distinct principles throughout his career, from his time as a janitor to his role leading a $256 billion colossus

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:00pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Bob Iger, who has served as the CEO of The Walt Disney Co. since 2005, stepped down on Tuesday. He will remain on as executive chairman of the company.
  • Bob Chapek, who most recently served as chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and products, will become CEO of the company. 
  • Here's how Iger's leadership strategies shaped the upward trajectory of his career and the beloved brand.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Bob Iger is stepping down from his role of CEO of The Walt Disney Company, a position he has held since 2005.

Bob Chapek, who most recently served as chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and products, will take over as CEO. Iger will remain on as executive chairman. 

Although he's leaving his role, Iger has shaped the company with a number of big moves, including the launch of the company's streaming service, Disney Plus. But his legacy extends well beyond the streaming service and the internet-breaking debut of Baby Yoda.

While the Mouse House suspended its theme-park operations in China and Hong Kong amid this year's coronavirus outbreak, it recently debuted "Star Wars"-themed areas in two US locations. Disney parks alone are valued at about $133 billion, according to a February 5 Bernstein client note. Banking analysts predict that the company's coming projects and Disney Plus could catapult its stock price as much as 20% this year, per Markets Insider.

Iger's legacy as executive is massive. Since Iger became CEO on October 1, 2005, the company's stock has risen 492%. He is known for major acquisitions like Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, and 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets last year.

Time Magazine named him its businessperson of 2019, likening his tenure to "one long CEO highlight reel" but listing 2019 as his best year yet, with Disney movies grossing more than $10 billion in the global box office. As CNBC noted, the release of films like "Frozen 2" and "Avengers: Endgame" helped Disney account for nearly 40% of the US box office in 2019.

Iger's streaming endeavor, Disney Plus, debuted November 12 and attracted roughly 28.6 million sign-ups in less than three months. And a recent US survey recorded half of consumers saying Disney Plus was "just as good as Netflix."

Disney's 2020 film-release schedule includes "Mulan" and Marvel's "Black Widow," though some analysts say it'll be less dominant compared with the past few years given the lack of a full Avengers or "Star Wars" addition. 

Yet expecting massive success wasn't always the situation. A $256 billion market cap is not to be assumed.

Flash back to 2005

When Iger took the helm nearly 15 years ago, Disney was in a tough spot.

"We had been through a rough five-year period, with a hostile-takeover attempt, a shareholder revolt, and a battle with two prominent board members," Iger told Harvard Business Review in 2011.

His first task, then, was mending relationships with the board members and allowing for internal peace. Then it was all about balancing the traditional with the contemporary and carving a place for Disney in modern times.

Iger will be remembered for more than the quantifiable achievements that benchmark his career. Underneath it all lies a leadership strategy that allowed Disney to build on the success it experienced in the 20th century to secure a foothold in the 21st.

Business Insider previously reported that Iger allowed his work ethic to propel his career forward. His 4:15 a.m. wake-up time, morning workouts in near darkness, and arrival at the office early enough to make coffee for everyone speak volumes to the kind of leader he is: disciplined, focused, and strategic.

He's had to be. Iger's leadership strategy started taking shape in his teenage years, when he worked odd jobs to help support himself. He started shoveling snow in the eighth grade and earned extra cash with babysitting gigs. At age 15, he worked as a summer janitor in his school district, where he scraped gums under desks, CNBC reported.

"I am very lucky," Iger said at a September 2019 conference. "I was a lower-middle-class kid or middle class. My father had manic depression, so he had trouble holding a job. I started as a $150-a-week employee at ABC 45 years ago and rose up to be CEO of this company. It is a great story, but it is not necessarily because I was extraordinary." 

More than 45 years later, his strategy colors the highlights of his professional career. Iger often stressed that his success was a result of his outlook and approach — not his talent.

Three leadership principles helped govern his career from a high-school janitor to one of the world's most influential CEOs.

Practicing discipline at an early age helped build his leadership character 

With so many examples of how leaders can make disciples out of their employees, Iger stands apart with his discipline. From what he wrote in his 2019 book, "The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," Iger seems to strive for an authentic presence, rather than a bigger-than-life one.

"There's nothing less confidence-inspiring than a person faking a knowledge they don't possess," Iger wrote. "True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else."

Iger has humble beginnings: He started his career as a weatherman before pivoting to more than 20 positions within the studios of ABC Television, eventually including president of entertainment at ABC, president of ABC Television, and president and chief operating officer of Capital Cities/ABC.

"As I grew older, I became more aware of my father's disappointment in himself," Iger wrote in his book. "He'd led a life that was unsatisfying to him and was a failure in his own eyes. It's part of why he pushed us to work so hard and be productive so that we might be successful in a way that he never was."

With that in mind, Iger kept reaching. He joined Disney's senior management team in 1996, ascending to CEO as a Disney insider less than 10 years later.

Innovation turned Disney brand into something more

Even though Iger was personally familiar and steeped in the way Disney had historically done things, he wasn't afraid to explore the possibilities that the nearly century-old company hadn't developed. To him, innovation is not an end goal but a company focus. 

"You can't allow tradition to get in the way of innovation," Iger told Harvard Business Review. "There's a need to respect the past, but it's a mistake to revere your past."

In that vein, Iger led the acquisitions of creative powerhouses such as Pixar to inject an influx of fresh thought. At the same time, he's attempted to maintain the aspects of Disney culture that keep people working there. This encompasses the overall purpose that goes into working at a company with a generations-long influence like Disney.

Iger essentially wanted to preserve the feel of the brand while allowing for innovation within it — and this extends to the product level.

"There's a culture and a way of life at the company that you've bought that sometimes can be integral to the creative process or the process of creating product at that company," Iger told NPR in September. "And if you go about it in too heavy-handed a way, you can destroy spirit and culture and a sense of purpose — and in doing so, destroy the very essence of what you bought, or reduce value."

Optimism created a better workforce

Iger says that failure should be kept in perspective as much as success is — and that it's the job of a leader to be an optimist regardless of the circumstances.

"When you come to work, you've got to show enthusiasm and spirit," Iger said. "You can't let people see you brought down by the experience of failure. You don't have that luxury."

In his book, Iger also points to qualities like courage, focus, decisiveness, curiosity, fairness, and thoughtfulness as essential to effective leadership. For example, Iger wrote that every leader should create an environment in which fairness flourished.

"This doesn't mean that you lower your expectations or convey the message that mistakes don't matter," Iger wrote. "It means that you create an environment where people know you'll hear them out, that you're emotionally consistent and fair-minded, and that they'll be given second chances for honest mistakes."

According to Iger, it's the CEO who cultivates the strategic vision of an organization.

"It's the CEO who determines strategy, who is its major proponent, and who says, 'This is where we're going,'" Iger said. "You also set the standards that are applied to your company: how people behave, how they treat one another, what ethics are expected of your company and its products, and how it behaves in the world."

SEE ALSO: Disney CEO Bob Iger was just named Time's 'businessperson of the year.' Here's how the media titan makes and spends his $690 million fortune.

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Barclays has hired an ex-Goldman Sachs partner to bolster its sales and trading unit and grab market share from US rivals

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:50pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Barclays has hired ex-Goldman Sachs partner Chris Taendler to cohead global emerging markets and G10 linear FX trading.
  • Taendler, who spent two decades at Goldman and made partner in late 2016, started at the British bank last week, sources said. 
  • Barclays' fixed-income trading division had a strong year in 2019, growing revenues 12% to $4.3 billion. But it trails its major US competitors.  
  • Roughly 50 Goldman partners have parted ways with the bank since David Solomon took over as CEO in late 2018, more than half exiting from the firm's securities division.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Barclays has hired an ex-Goldman Sachs partner to lead a fixed-income sales and trading unit as it looks to capitalize on momentum from 2019 and boost market share. 

The British lender has hired Chris Taendler, a recently retired Goldman veteran who helped run its emerging markets foreign-exchange business until last year, to lead a similar remit in Barclays' New York City office, according to two sources familiar with the appointment. 

Taendler started at the firm last week as cohead of global emerging markets and G10 linear FX, the sources said. He's running the business in tandem with Barclays veteran James Hassett, who is based in London.

The unit falls under the purview of Michael Lubinsky, the global head of macro trading. 

A Barclays spokeswoman declined to comment. 

After two decades at Goldman, Taendler resigned in early 2019 — a little over two years after making partner at the prestigious investment bank. 

Roughly 50 Goldman partners have parted ways with the bank since David Solomon took over as CEO in late 2018, more than half exiting from the firm's securities division.  

In his new post, Taendler will be tasked with helping boost market share for Barclays' fixed-income, currencies, and commodities division, which is coming off a strong performance in 2019 but trails its major US competitors.

With equities and dealmaking revenues taking a hit industrywide in 2019, FICC was the lone bright spot for investment banks.

FICC revenues grew 3% to $66.2 billion in 2019, rebounding from two consecutive years of declines, according to industry data and consulting firm Coalition.

Those gains were spurred in part by strong demand for fixed-income products, especially mortgage bonds, which topped $2 billion in trading revenues in 2019 — the largest tally in a decade and a more than 550% gain from 2018.

Barclays ranked 7th among top investment banks in FICC sales and trading revenues in 2019, according to public earnings results. Its FICC unit grew revenues 12% to $4.3 billion. 

SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs has lost at least 49 partners since David Solomon became CEO. We're keeping a running list — and compiling details from insiders about how the exits are being celebrated.

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A majority of Americans are worried the coronavirus will hit the US economy

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:37pm  |  Clusterstock

  • An increasing number of Americans have grown worried about how the US economy will perform in the face of a fast-spreading viral outbreak. 
  • According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Tuesday, 57% of Americans said they were concerned that the novel coronavirus would have a negative impact on the US economy.
  • The respiratory illness has killed more than 2,700 globally and sickened tens of thousands more. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Americans have grown increasingly worried about how the US economy will perform in the face of a fast-spreading viral outbreak that has killed more than 2,700 globally and sickened tens of thousands more. 

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Tuesday, 57% of Americans said they were concerned that the novel coronavirus would have a negative impact on the US economy. A similar share expected there would be a "widespread outbreak" of the respiratory illness, called COVID-19. 

The survey was taken February 13-18, days before an escalation in public health concerns among officials and investors.

The Centers for Disease Control warned Tuesday it was likely that COVID-19 would spread through communities in the US, where 57 cases have been confirmed. 

The Trump administration requested emergency funding to combat the illness from Congress late Monday, but Democrats have expressed concerns that it would not adequately protect the nation. 

While Wall Street expectations for an interest-rate cut rose sharply as financial markets dropped in recent days, Federal Reserve officials have emphasized that it wasn't clear whether the central bank would step in.

SEE ALSO: Democrats and health experts say Trump's $2.5 billion coronavirus spending package is 'completely inadequate'

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

A family feud over a $400 million trust fund, a massive fortune that left one heiress with an inferiority complex, and a sprawling media empire. Meet the Disney family.

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:36pm  |  Clusterstock

The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that Bob Iger is stepping down as CEO.

Iger will be succeeded as CEO, effective immediately, by Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney parks, experiences, and products. Iger will stay on as Disney's executive chairman through December 2021. 

has come a long way since it was founded by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney nearly a century ago. What began as a cartoon studio is now a media powerhouse, complete with amusement parks and properties.

But for all its success, the family behind "The Happiest Place on Earth" has largely stayed out of the limelight and the business. While it's not known just how much the family is worth, GOBankingRates estimated the company's net worth to be $130 billion. Roy O.'s grandson, Roy P., previously said the family owns less than 3% of the company, but assuming it is about that amount would put their fortune around $3.9 billion (not counting any investments in addition to Disney holdings).

From a family-trust-fund feud to generous philanthropic endeavors, here's a look at the three generations of the Disney family. (The family didn't respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.)

SEE ALSO: Meet the Mars family, heirs to the Snickers and M&M's candy empire, who spent years avoiding the limelight and are America’s third-wealthiest family 'dynasty'

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Disney cofounder Walt Disney wanted to be a cartoonist since high school, taking extracurricular art classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

He later worked at a film ad company in Missouri, where he learned animation and went on to form his first animation studio, Laugh-O-Grams, according to the Walt Disney website. But a bad business deal led to the downfall of the studio: A small theatrical company called Pictorial Clubs reportedly offered Laugh-O-Gram $11,000 for six small films, but it only gave Disney a $100 down payment before Pictoral went bankrupt.

Walt then left for Hollywood. In 1923, he cofounded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, which became Walt Disney Studio, with his older brother, Roy O. Disney. The two had a close relationship: Walt controlled the creative aspects of the company, while Roy ran the business side.

Five years later, "Steamboat Willy" was the first media production to debut Mickey Mouse. In 1937, Disney's first feature-length film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," debuted and became a box office hit, taking the company from being in debt to being worth millions of dollars.

By the late 1950s, Walt had created a family entertainment world complete with movies, TV shows, and an amusement park.

In 1953, Walt self-funded a private company, WED Enterprises — now known as Walt Disney Imagineering and opened Disneyland two years later. Roughly a decade later, in 1964, Walt and Roy kicked off the development of Walt Disney World in Florida.

That same year, Walt launched one of the most important projects of his career, according to the Walt Disney website: "Mary Poppins," which received 12 Academy Award nominations.

Today, Disney is one of the biggest media companies in the world, with an estimated net worth of nearly $130 billion. It was named the No. 1 best-regarded company in 2018 by Forbes.

GOBankingRates' Sean Dennison evaluated the company's net worth to be $130 billion based on its revenue and profits from the past three years. In 2019 alone, Disney was on the upswing. It announced a new streaming service, Disney+, which caused Disney shares to hit a record high, Arjun Reddy of Business Insider reported.

In March 2019, Disney acquired Fox's entertainment business for $71 billion as part of its plan to compete with technology companies like Amazon and Netflix. It got a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu in the process. It was Disney's 23rd acquisition.

Overall, Disney has four key business segments, according to Forbes: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products and interactive media.

It's unknown how much the Disney family is worth today, but Walt has been described as a "family man" who tried to provide a normal life for his family.

In 1925, Walt married Lillian Bounds, a studio inker. Eight years later, Lillian gave birth to Diane, and the couple later adopted their daughter Sharon as an infant. Walt drove the girls to school every day and barely brought his work home.

"We weren't raised with the idea that this is a great man who is doing things that no one else had ever done," Sharon had said. "He was Daddy. He was a man who went to work every morning and came home every night."

Walt reportedly adored his 10 grandchildren.

Walt died in 1966 of lung cancer, leaving a network of trusts and family foundations for his family.

Walt and Lillian had two main residences, both in California.

Their main residence was an estate in Los Angeles' Holmby Hills, worth $8.5 million before being sold in 1998. A subsequent owner made renovations that put its value at $90 million.

They also owned a 2,433-square-foot weekend retreat in Palm Springs, up for sale at nearly $900,000 in 2016.

Walt's older daughter, Diane, married Ronald Miller in 1954 and had seven children, who were reportedly relatively quiet with their side of the family fortune.

Diane raised her children — Chris, Joanna, Tamara, Jennifer, Walt, Ron Jr., and Patrick — the same way she was raised, trying to give them a typical life. Tamara previously told People that their mother took a "hands-on approach to raising children," forgoing a nanny and taking them to tutors and soccer practice.

"We ... lived a very simple, traditional family life," Chris previously said in an interview. "So when people would confront us with 'your grandpa is Walt Disney,' it seemed like an odd affront to us," even though, he added, "we knew grandpa was world-renowned."

"Our parents and grandparents did a beautiful job of protecting us," Jennifer said in the same interview. "We really had such a normal life. They all made sure of it."

Diane died in 2013 at age 79. She was Walt's last surviving child.

Walt's younger daughter, Sharon, adopted one child, Victoria, with her first husband, Robert Brown. She then had twins, Brad and Michelle, with her second husband, Bill Lund.

Like her sister, Sharon stayed out of the limelight and tried to protect her kids from Disney fame, reported Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter. Brad told Gardner he led a "very normal life." Sharon died from breast cancer in 1993 at age 56.

Michelle has never had a job and owns three homes, spending a lot of time in Newport Beach, California, according to Gardner.

Victoria was said to live quite lavishly, splurging on $5,000-a-night suites at the Royal Palms apartment homes in Las Vegas, Gardner wrote: "She once went on a Disney cruise ship and destroyed her suite in such spectacular fashion that Eisner, then-CEO of the company, had to call the trustees and make them pay for the damages. The family staged numerous interventions, to no avail."

Victoria's share of the family fortune was added to Brad's and Michelle's after she died in 2002 from health complications, Michael Lyons of National Post reported.

Sharon's twins later became embroiled in a multiple-year feud over their $400 million trust fund.

The inheritance was supposed to be distributed in annual payments and lump sums at five-year intervals at ages 35, 40, and 45, reported Gardner. However, the trustees dispersed the payments to Michelle, but withheld Brad's.

Michelle and the trustees argued that Brad wasn't capable of managing his share because of a "chronic cognitive disability" and that Bill, their father, was taking advantage of this to gain money, according to NBC News.

Bill argued that the trustees were manipulating his daughter Michelle. According to Gardner, he was previously a trustee but resigned after an allegation that he used trust money to gain more than $3 million in kickbacks from a real-estate deal. He reportedly agreed to an annual settlement of $500,000.

While Michelle reportedly suffered from drug addiction and had a brain aneurysm that "left her with uncertain mental abilities," the trustees agreed with her about her brother, Gardner wrote. And the court ended up ruling in favor of the trustees, continuing to withhold Brad's payments while paying out Michelle's.

On the other side of the family, Roy O. and wife, Edna Francis, gave birth to Roy E. Disney in 1930, who later became a senior executive for The Walt Disney Company.

Roy E. had four children of his own: Susan, Roy P., Tim, and Abigail.

About the time Michael Eisner became CEO of Disney, in the 1980s, and revived the company, Disney stocks increased and the family's net worth skyrocketed to 50 times what it was when Roy E.'s children were growing up, Abigail told Sarah McVeigh of The Cut.

In 2003, Roy E. announced plans to sell 7.5 million Disney shares — about 43% of his stake in the company, reported Randall Smith and Bruce Orwall of The Wall Street Journal. He died in 2009 of stomach cancer.

Roy E.'s daughter Abigail started feeling uneasy about her family's wealth by the time she reached her 20s.

Abigail told The Cut said she was embarrassed by her family's wealth, adding that it bred deep self-doubt and an "inferiority complex around people who have actually earned their money."

"We went from being comfortable, upper-middle-class people to suddenly my dad had a private jet," she said, referring to the family's private 737. "That's when I feel that my dad really lost his way in life. And that's why I feel hyperconscious about what wealth does to people. I lived in one family as a child, and then I didn't even recognize the family as I got older."

She's taught her four children that "money is morally neutral," she said. "It does not, in and of itself, make you a bad person. It also does not, in and of itself, makes you a good person. You are who you are and the least important thing about you is what you have."

Abigail is a documentary filmmaker and founded Fork Films, which focuses on international social issues. She added that the fortune she inherited would have made her a billionaire if she wanted to be one, and that she would outlaw private jets if she could.

She was one of 18 ultra-wealthy Americans to sign a letter asking presidential candidates to support a wealth tax in June 2019.

Abigail's brother, Roy P., said in an interview that by 1960, Walt and Roy O. owned about 20% of the company. Today, the family owns less than 3% of the company.

Roy P. is an investor, according to the interview.

His brother, Tim, is a screenwriter with a hefty real-estate portfolio. Tim reportedly bought Kristen Wiig's Los Angeles house for $5.2 million, according to Yolanda's Little Black Book. He also has a renovated Spanish estate in Los Feliz, which he bought for $6.4 million, and a weekend retreat in Joshua Tree. He previously sold a Hancock Park property for $4.45 million.

Their sister, Susan, also makes real estate moves: She previously owned a 4,883-square-foot beachfront house in Malibu, which she sold for $18 million after several price cuts, reported Mark David for Variety. She also runs the restaurant The Bel-Air, where grilled lamb chops go for $38.

While Walt and Roy O. kept their families in harmony, the two families were reportedly never close and drew even further apart after Roy O.'s death in 1971.

Diane's husband and Walt's son-in-law, Ron, became CEO of Disney in the early 1980s. In 1984, Roy E. replaced him with Eisner, according to People. The move reportedly deepened the family divide, but the two families later patched things up.

Roy E. was the only heir to get involved in the family business, which Walt tried to steer his children and grandchildren away from, according to Gardner.

While Diane didn't get involved in corporate matters, she reportedly worked the hardest to preserve Walt's legacy, creating the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Most of the Disney family has shied away from corporate affairs, instead displaying their wealth and power philanthropically, according to Gardner.

Disney family members — and the company itself — have donated millions to charity.

Lillian donated $274 million for a new concert hall in Los Angeles, according to The New York Times. Sharon was a trustee for CalArts, and got involved with the Marianne Frostig Center of Educational Therapy and the Curtis School Foundation, according to The Los Angeles Times. Her family has reportedly contributed nearly $100 million toward building Disney Hall on Bunker Hill.

According to Gardner, the Lund family is committed to the Sharon Disney Lund Foundation, donating money to cancer research and visiting the scientists. The Foundation has also donated $1 million to a nonprofit arts organization for teens.

So far, Abigail has donated about $70 million and plans to keep "giving a lot of money away" until her death, she told The Cut. She and her husband, Pierre Hauser, cofounded the Daphne Foundation, which supports programs to end poverty in New York City.

There's also the Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation, which focuses on three areas: equality, sustainability, and vibrant communities.

And in 2018, The Disney Company announced a five-year global commitment of $100 million to children's hospitals. It previously donated $1 million to UNICEF and most recently pledged $5 million to support the rebuilding of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The Disney Conservation Fund has also given out hundreds of grants worth $75 million toward wildlife organizations like The International Fund for Animal Welfare and The African People & Wildlife Fund.

An inside look at the debate around pandemic bonds, which have $425 million hinging on how deadly the coronavirus ends up being

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:24pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Investors holding the World Bank's pandemic bonds stand to either reap massive profits or lose hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the coronavirus outbreak's lethality.
  • The instruments offer higher-than-average returns, but bondholders will lose their principal in the event of a qualifying pandemic.
  • If certain criteria are met, the payment is sent to the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to fund relief efforts.
  • The bonds are a novel way to connect the financial sector with epidemic relief and "potentially save millions of lives," the World Bank's president said in a 2017 statement.
  • Others aren't so sure of the assets' effectiveness in curbing an outbreak.
  • The bonds' triggers "are very late," and the organization could've funded relief efforts without the "unnecessary, inappropriate, and ineffective risk-financing instruments," Olga Jonas, senior fellow senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Business Insider.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

A group of unique bondholders will either reap massive profits or lose hundreds of millions of dollars as the coronavirus outbreak escalates.

So-called "pandemic bonds" were first introduced by the World Bank in 2017 as a response to the Ebola virus. Investors holding the bonds enjoy higher-than-average interest rates, but stand to lose their cash in the event of a pandemic.

If certain criteria are met, the bonds' principal is transferred to the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) to fund containment and relief efforts.

"We are leveraging our capital market expertise, our deep understanding of the health sector, our experience overcoming development challenges, and our strong relationships with donors and the insurance industry to serve the world's poorest people," Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group's president, said in a 2017 statement, adding that the PEF can "potentially save millions of lives."

The bank issued two tranches of pandemic-linked bonds and derivatives collectively worth $425 million in 2017. Bondholders enjoyed more than two years of strong returns and little to worry about as few outbreaks came close to triggering the bonds' total default.

But the stability of the investment has suddenly been thrown into question as the deadly coronavirus spreads globally.

Triggers for the two classes of bonds

The two tranches of pandemic bonds represent different risks of contagion. The World Bank offered $225 million worth of Class A debt, which pay out 6.9% annually. The bonds default if pandemic-related deaths reach 2,500 in a single nation with an additional 20 or more deaths confirmed in an overseas country, according to the bank's prospectus.

The Class B bonds have a lower bar for the debt to trigger and accordingly boast a higher interest rate, since holders are assuming more risk. The bonds pay 11.5% annually, but reach default after 250 deaths. The bonds' payout rate scales with the number of additional countries that experience than 20 confirmed deaths. The World Bank issued $95 million worth of the Class B assets.

The coronavirus outbreak has so far killed more than 1,370 people and infected more than 60,000, surpassing SARS in lethality earlier this month. Still, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Korea are the only nations currently hosting more than 20 infected individuals.

Debate over the bonds' efficacy

While the World Bank touts the debt as an efficient way to connect financial markets with epidemic relief, others have their doubts that the bonds help ailing nations at all. The assets' lengthy prospectus hides numerous requirements that gum up any effort to release funds when they're most needed, according to Olga Jonas, senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and former World Bank economist.

Funds can only be released from the PEF for non-flu epidemics 12 weeks after the "start of the event," according to a World Bank document. The novel coronavirus strains were first reported on in late December, leaving funds locked up until late March.

Read more: A Wall Street firm lists its 5 best hedges for an unusual coronavirus-driven market crash — and shares what to do if it's successfully contained

Even once the deadline is met, the outbreak has to cause at least 20 deaths in two or more countries to trigger the bonds. While China reached the fatality threshold weeks ago, no other nation is close, leaving the PEF frozen while the virus continues to spread.

"The advertising was that there would be early, rapid, predictable, transparent financing available for outbreaks so that they don't become pandemics," Jonas told Business Insider in an interview. "In order for that to happen you have to have early triggers. The triggers in the design are very late."

A "distraction" from "getting serious"

Jonas alleges that the World Bank didn't even need to issue bonds to better prevent pandemics. The former economist called the instruments a "distraction" from "getting serious about supporting preparedness" in developing countries. The $500 million made available through the PEF is a paltry sum compared to the tens of billions of dollars the World Bank holds in liquid assets, she added.

"The money on the table from [the World Bank's International Development Association] didn't need to transit the PEF — and it certainly should not be paying for an unnecessary, inappropriate, and ineffective risk-financing instrument," Jonas said.

She added: "If you were doing this with your own money at home, that'd be grounds for divorce."

Even in the case of the bonds being triggered, Jonas doesn't expect the funds to do much good. The PEF's insurance window covers up to $500 million through its bond and swap issuances, but allocates only as much as $196 million for coronavirus outbreaks.

Once released, 76 countries can apply to receive the pandemic relief funds, watering down the total amount sent to each country. Compared to the $10 billion China is spending on virus control today, the amounts that could be released by the PEF are "trivial," Jonas said.

The bonds would've been useful "if you are not able to finance the risk otherwise," she added. "The World Bank has excellent capacity to finance the risk otherwise."

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Fed officials hesitant to slash interest rates as coronavirus fears batter markets

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:11pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Federal Reserve officials signaled this week that it was too early to tell whether the central bank would need to step in to address potential coronavirus effects.
  • That came even as expectations for more interest-rate cuts jumped on Wall Street.
  • Concerns about the respiratory illness rose Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control said the US should prepare for the outbreak to hit communities across the nation.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Federal Reserve officials signaled this week that it was too early to assess whether the central bank would need to step in to shield the US economy from potential coronavirus effects, even as expectations for more interest-rate cuts jumped on Wall Street.

Concerns about the respiratory illness rose on Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control said the US should prepare for the outbreak to hit communities across the nation. Financial markets extended sharp losses for a second day after the warning, with all three major US averages down more than 2%. 

The concerns drove investor expectations for another rate cut sharply higher. But members of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee have maintained a wait-and-see approach despite the rise of COVID-19, which has killed more than 2,700 globally and sickened tens of thousands more. 

"The disruption there could spill over to the rest of the global economy," Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said in a speech at the NABE Economic Policy Conference in Washington on Tuesday afternoon. "But it is still too soon to even speculate about either the size or the persistence of these effects, or whether they will lead to a material change in the outlook."

At the same conference a day earlier, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said it was difficult to assess the magnitude of the economic effects. She said the central bank would closely monitor the coronavirus but did not want to "overreact to the volatility in the markets." 

"You certainly want to take into account what's happening in the markets," she added. "I don't think it's great to take one day and extrapolate that out."

The Fed lowered interest rates three times last year, bringing them to a historically low target range of between 1.5% and 1.75%. With low unemployment and strong consumer activity, policymakers have since said they were comfortable with current borrowing costs. 

"We're in a good place right now, even with these market developments," Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Monday. "There's just great uncertainty around where this virus is going to go and when the full effects are going to be realized, so I'm open minded."

SEE ALSO: The White House is preparing to ask Congress for emergency funding as coronavirus hits the US

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Delta's credit cards are offering up to 100,000 miles for a limited time — here are the 5 best ways to use them to book flights

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:10pm  |  Clusterstock


Delta is currently the world's second-largest airline, and if you live in a hub city like Atlanta, New York, or Seattle, it may be your carrier of choice. Because Delta's route network is so ubiquitous inside the US and because Delta SkyMiles are (relatively) easy to get, there are many different options for redeeming your miles with Delta and its partners in the SkyTeam alliance — though not all of them offer the best value.

In this article, we'll take a look at the "sweet spots" for using Delta SkyMiles to book award flights.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back. 

How to earn Delta SkyMiles

The most obvious way to earn Delta SkyMiles is to fly on Delta. Within the past several years, Delta has changed its earning structure, so the number of redeemable miles that you earn on most Delta flights is calculated by your elite status and the total cost of the fare.

Another way to earn a lot of Delta SkyMiles in a short amount of time is with the welcome offers on the different varieties of the American Express co-branded Delta credit cards.

Until April 1, the offers on these cards are elevated, in some cases to their all-time highs.

Delta offers the following consumer credit cards:

  • No annual fee: Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card — Earn 15,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. 
  • $99 annual fee (waived the first year): Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card — Earn 60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months, and earn an additional 10,000 miles after your first cardmember anniversary. 
  • $250 annual fee, companion certificate each year: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — Earn 80,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and earn an additional 20,000 miles after your first cardmember anniversary.
  • $550 annual fee, includes Sky Club and Centurion lounge access: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — Earn 80,000 miles and 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and earn an additional 20,000 miles after your first cardmember anniversary.

If you qualify for a small business credit card — either by running your own business or by doing some freelance work  — you could be eligible for one of Delta's three business credit cards:

Read more: The best small business credit cards

Having an airline credit card can get you additional perks when you fly. In addition to all of the bonus SkyMiles, several of these Delta credit cards come with benefits including free checked bags and priority boarding order.

Now let's take a look at five.  of the best ways to use Delta SkyMiles to book flights. 


It may not be the most glamorous redemption, but one of the best uses of your SkyMiles can be to just fly you domestically with Delta where you want to go, when you want to get there. This holds especially true if you live at or near a Delta hub or focus city.

Remember too that if you're short on Delta SkyMiles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points 1:1 to SkyMiles to top off your SkyMiles account.

Delta award "sales"

Several years ago, Delta was the first airline to remove its award chart. Now, the price of a flight in SkyMiles varies based on the route, the date, the time, number of stops, and anything else that Delta decides. Oftentimes the price in SkyMiles correlates to the cash price of a flight, though not always. At least Delta offers weekly award "sales" from either North America, Europe, or Asia.

The removal of the award chart is why I put the word "sales" in quotation marks. If there is no standard and listed price, how can something be "on sale"? That doesn't stop Delta from marketing these as sales, and it is certainly true that you can find some pretty good deals on redemptions from these award sales.

Business class from the US to Europe on Air France

Because Delta no longer has an award chart, it's not as easy to get outsized value from your SkyMiles when flying on Delta-operated flights. But because Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, you can use your Delta miles to fly on Delta's alliance and other partners such as Air France, China Eastern, Air Tahiti Nui, and Korean Air.

One example of a potential sweet spot is from the US to Europe on Air France.

That should cost as few as 75,000 SkyMiles plus taxes and fees. From the United States, those fees typically come out to $5.60 per ticket.

Economy from the US to Australia

15 hours in economy may not sound like the most enjoyable time in the world, but you can get from the US to Australia pretty consistently for only 40,000 Delta SkyMiles, plus taxes and fees.


Depending on the day and route, you may be able to find round-trip tickets to Australia for only 70,000 SkyMiles.

And upgrading to Comfort+ would be a spectacular use of only 10,000 miles extra per person (80,000 SkyMiles total) for more comfort on nearly 30 hours of flying!

Business class from the US to Asia on Korean Air

SkyTeam partner Korean Air flies from Seoul-Incheon airport to Chicago, Washington Dulles, Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York JFK among other destinations. You can get a one way business class ticket from the US to Seoul as low as 85,000 SkyMiles. You'll need to choose dates with partner award space open, but availability is not bad.

Hopefully these ideas have sparked your interest in earning and redeeming Delta SkyMiles.

Unlike some other airlines, Delta doesn't charge any extra fees for booking award flights close to the departure date, so if you have a last-minute trip coming up, you may be able to find a good deal using SkyMiles.

Click here to learn more about Delta's credit cards »

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Dow extends its 2-day sell-off to 1,911 points after CDC tells Americans to brace for possible coronavirus outbreak

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 5:07pm  |  Clusterstock

  • US stocks continued their sharp two-day sell-off on Tuesday as the CDC told Americans to brace for a possible coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average has now fallen more than 1,910 points over two days.
  • The torrid decline adds to a more than 1,000-point sell-off in the Dow Jones industrial average on Monday, which erased the index's losses for the year.
  • The S&P 500 also entered the session fresh off its worst day since February 2018.
  • The biggest declines on Tuesday were absorbed by airlines, air freight and logistics, and consumer finance stocks.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US stocks plunged on Tuesday as the Center for Disease Control warned Americans of a possible coronavirus outbreak. This added to existing fears that worldwide contagion could cripple global economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 960 points at intraday lows, posting a decline of as much as 3.4%. The S&P 500 lost 3%, and the Nasdaq Composite index declined 3.1% at its weakest levels.

Tuesday's sharp decline continues a vicious sell-off that started on Monday and wiped out more than 1,000 points from the Dow, which saw its year-to-date losses erased. The S&P 500's 3.7% drop on Monday also marked its worst day in two years.

The fast-spreading coronavirus was first diagnosed in Wuhan, China and has now killed 2,700 and infected more than 80,000. Those cases ticked up even rates of new diagnoses fell off in China. Meanwhile major US companies from Apple to Mastercard warned the outbreak could hamper their businesses.

Here are the moves in the major US indices:

Dow Jones industrial average: Down 879 points, or 2.8% — intraday low down 963 points

S&P 500: Down 3.1% — intraday low -3.3%

Nasdaq Composite: Down 2.8% — intraday low -3.1%

Read more: A hedge fund CEO who specializes in volatility told us why the coronavirus-driven plunge is a game changer — and shares 4 tips for avoiding big losses

Energy companies were the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 on Tuesday, sliding 4.3%. Big drops were also seen in industrials (-4%), materials (-4.3%), and financials (-3.4%).

As risk assets sold off, investors rushed to safety. That pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to an all-time high on Tuesday.

Now read: 26 units and $1 million a year: Here's the 'supercharged' real-estate-investing system a former engineer used to flee corporate America in just 3 years time

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

Tesla is slapped with a downgrade from Jefferies on its sky-high valuation (TSLA)

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 4:58pm  |  Clusterstock

  • On Tuesday, Philippe Houchois of Jefferies downgraded Tesla to "hold" from "buy" and raised his price target to $800 from $600. 
  • "However convinced we are about the Tesla equity opportunity, we still need valuation to be grounded into some visibility on market size and potential profitability," Houchois wrote in a note. 
  • Shares of Tesla fell as much as 5% on Tuesday in a broader market selloff. 
  • Houchois' elevated price target is based on discounted cash flow factoring in Tesla pursuing additional growth storage, generation, and selling batteries to third-party OEMs, according to the note. 
  • Watch Tesla trade live on Markets Insider.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Tesla just lost another bullish Wall Street analyst. 

On Tuesday, Philippe Houchois of Jefferies downgraded his rating on the Elon Musk-led automaker to "hold" from "buy," citing the company's lofty market value after a record rally that's sent shares up nearly 100% this year through Monday's close. 

"However convinced we are about the Tesla equity opportunity, we still need valuation to be grounded into some visibility on market size and potential profitability," wrote Houchois. 

Shares of Tesla fell as much as 5% Tuesday as the broader market continued a rapid selloff on mounting coronavirus fears. 

Houchois raised his Tesla price target to $800 from $600, but lowered his rating on the equity pending "a clearer view on the upcoming battery business model." The increased price target is based on discounted cash flow factoring in Tesla pursuing additional growth storage, generation, and selling batteries to third party OEMs, according to the note. 

On the company's fourth quarter 2019 earnings call at the end of January, CEO Musk told analysts that Tesla will focus on increasing its battery production capacity and lowering the cost of battery production. 

"We have to make sure we get a very steep ramp in battery production and continue to improve the cost per kilowatt of the batteries. This is very fundamental and extremely difficult," Musk said.  

Musk also noted that Tesla plans to hold a Battery Day presentation for investors, which will most likely take place in April. There will be a lot riding on the presentation, as investors will be looking to gauge the addressable market Houchois wrote. 

The company has demonstrated "a durable edge" over competitors and "appears to have reviewed competitive technologies in detail in addition to pursuing its own development," according to the note. Jefferies estimates that the stationary market could be worth $90 billion by 2025, and could grow to $235 billion by 2030. 

Tesla has a consensus price target of $519.79 and six "buy" ratings, 13 "hold" ratings, and 18 "sell" ratings from Wall Street analysts, according to Bloomberg data. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

The CEO of Intuit explains how buying Credit Karma for $7 billion will help it put 'a financial assistant in the pockets of consumers' (INTU)

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:02pm  |  Clusterstock

  • TurboTax maker Intuit announced plans to acquire credit monitoring company Credit Karma for $7.1 billion on Monday.
  • Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi and Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin tell Business Insider that the deal will accelerate the growth of both of their companies. 
  • Intuit has been working to use artificial intelligence to make its tools more personalized, and Goodarzi said acquiring Credit Karma helps them do that faster. 
  • For Credit Karma, Lin said he found that combining forces with Intuit would help grow the company faster than via an IPO.  
  • Intuit and Credit Karma do have some tools that overlap, which could put antitrust scrutiny on Intuit for acquiring a smaller rival, but Goodarzi said he doesn't see that as a concern, because the ultimate goal is to give customers more choice — whether its an Intuit product or a Credit Karma product.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

On Monday, Intuit — the company behind TurboTax, Mint, and QuickBooks — announced plans to acquire credit monitoring startup Credit Karma for $7.1 billion.

It's the biggest deal in Intuit's 37-year history and comes just one year after Sasan Goodarzi took the CEO reins at Intuit. And the acquisition is being announced at a time of heightened regulatory scrutiny over antitrust and privacy issues. 

But Goodarzi and Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin are betting the deal, which they expect to close in the second half of the year, will give more choices to customers and accelerate growth for both businesses.

In an interview with Business Insider on Monday, the two executives discussed the strategy behind the combination.

Intuit has been working to make itself into a platform that works like a digital personal financial assistant for users and it hopes to do that by incorporating artificial intelligence into its products in order to give users recommendations about their specific needs. Credit Karma will help make that a reality faster, Goodarzi told Business Insider.

"This really gives us the opportunity together to create a consumer finance platform that truly acts like a financial assistant in the pockets of consumers ... the capability that Ken and his team have created at Credit Karma really helps to accelerate our speed to market," he said.

Credit Karma was built around the idea of using customers' financial data to help direct them to the tools that would be most helpful to them. Goodarzi said that capability is key to Intuit's overall goal. In order to get there they need data about customers so they can build artificial intelligence that directs people to the tools they need, he said. 

While some are questioning if this means Intuit's M&A strategy will become more aggressive, Goodarzi said that's not necessarily the case. This has less to do with wanting to do more acquisitions, and more about making sure the company is working towards its goal, he said.

"We're not after mega deals. We're after really accelerating, solving our customer problems and time to market. And it just so happens that Credit Karma has created something that very few have and together we can accelerate the benefits for customers," Goodarzi said. 

The benefits for Credit Karma

For Credit Karma, said CEO Kenneth Lin, joining forces with Intuit is the best way to keep growing and to provide customers with a broader menu of services.

"When you look at the data assets that Intuit has, the capabilities around fraud, the culture and the alignment of mission that we had, it made so much more sense to work through that relationship than the fundraising mechanism that is the IPO market," Lin said. 

Once the deal closes, Credit Karma will remain a separate entity within Intuit and Lin will continue running the company on his own, while reporting directly to Goodarzi. 

Intuit and Credit Karma do have some overlap in capabilities, particularly in the tax-filing space. Credit Karma offers a free tax-filing service to compete with TurboTax and uses a similar model to the one that Goodarzi has envisioned for Intuit. Meanwhile, Intuit has its own Turbo, a free credit-score-checking service to compete with Credit Karma. 

Intuit doesn't plan to get rid of Credit Karma's competing offerings. Goodarzi said on a call with investors that it will give customers more choice, which will ultimately benefit the whole company. 

Potential challenges: data privacy and antitrust

Acquiring a smaller rival with a competing type of software could put the deal in the crosshairs of antitrust regulators, who have begun taking a much harder look at tech acquisitions from Google, Facebook, Apple and other large tech companies. 

Goodarzi stressed that Intuit will be very forthcoming with any information regulators ask for during the acquisition approval process and said he doesn't believe the deal raises any competitive problems. 

"In terms of antitrust, this is not an area where we see an issue, because this is about creating more choice for customers and actually creating more competition and having more and more financial institutions really competing for the customer's business," Goodarzi said.

Another potential area of concern is growing regulations around consumer data privacy which aim to make sure people have control over the data companies are collecting about them. California's new data privacy law went into effect this year and Europe's GDPR law has been in effect for a few years.

Intuit and Credit Karma want to use their combined forces to collect all the financial data they have on a customer and use it to help that person's experience when looking for financial service tools. Goodarzi and Lin said they don't see any issues complying with those regulations. Both of their companies believe that customer data should only be used to help the customer and if the customer agrees, they said.

"From a data privacy perspective, this is the customer's data and we're just looking to ensure that they benefit from it," Goodarzi said, adding that he thinks Credit Karma takes it just as seriously. 

Lin said, he thinks Credit Karma is ahead of the legislation because they had those principles in mind when they created the company. "In many ways we're ahead," he said.

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Europe's buzziest challenger bank Revolut is now worth $5.5 billion after raising $500 million from Silicon Valley growth fund TCV

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 8:01pm  |  Clusterstock

  • European challenger bank Revolut has raised $500 million in Series D funding from Silicon Valley growth fund TCV. 
  • The long-anticipated fundraising takes the startup's post-money valuation to $5.5 billion, up from $1.7 billion previously, making it one of Europe's most valuable fintech companies. 
  • Founded in 2015, Revolut claims to have around 7 million customers and has raised $836 million to-date. 
  • The company's rapid growth has been marred by questions over its workplace culture and compliance procedures.
  •  Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Revolut, one of Europe's buzziest neo-banks, has raised $500 million in Series D funding from Silicon Valley growth fund TCV taking its valuation to $5.5 billion. 

The long-anticipated fundraising makes Revolut one of Europe's most valuable startups in the red-hot fintech sector. Other major European finance firms include payment firm Klarna, money transfer firm Transferwise, and OakNorth bank.

Revolut, founded in 2015 by the developer Vlad Yatsenko and the former Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse trader Nikolay Storonsky, says it has around 7 million customers.

Reports had previously indicated that Revolut would take on some form of debt alongside the equity fundraise, but the company said this wasn't happening for now.

In 2018, filings show Revolut posted revenues of £58.2 million ($74 million) on a net loss of £32.8 million ($42 million). The company has yet to release figures for 2019, but says it has experienced considerable revenue and customer growth.

It is in the process of applying for a US banking license and has expanded into Europe, as well as into Australia.

The London-based company allows users to spend money worldwide in 150 currencies at a real-time exchange rate, with no fees, through a debit card. CEO Storonsky has previously outlined his goal of seeing the bank reach 100 million customers in the next five years and break into North American and Pacific markets. Revolut is available in 32 countries and previously signed a deal with Visa, with plans to take the number to 56. 

Revolut's growth has come with increased scrutiny. Wired reported on the firm's aggressive culture and tendency to ask job applicants for free work, while The Telegraph raised questions about the startup's compliance procedures. Regarding the culture, Storonsky has acknowledged "mistakes" in the running of the firm. The firm has denied compliance lapses.

SEE ALSO: Europe's popular challenger banks Revolut, Monzo, and Starling are in a fundraising arms race. Here's what we know about the mega-rounds.

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