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Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian lays out his master plan for taking on Amazon and Microsoft and says deals over $50 million more than doubled in 2019 (GOOG, GOOGL)

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 5:19pm  |  Clusterstock

  • On Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said Google Cloud was growing its business as "an important part of Alphabet's overall revenue-growth plan."
  • Kurian said the cloud market, where Google Cloud competes against Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, was still in its "super early stages," and he compared it to the Super Bowl playoff game between Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.
  • Google Cloud is working to focus on specific industries and strengthen its sales and partnerships.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is well aware that he's in a distant third place in the cloud-computing market behind the dominant powers of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

But Kurian insists the cloud market is in such "super early stages" that it's anyone's game to win.

The Google executive turned to a recent football feat to drive home his point on Tuesday, invoking the Kansas City Chiefs stunning comeback game against the Houston Texans during the Super Bowl playoffs earlier this year.

"Lateness, earliness — I don't worry about that," Kurian said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. 

"As I tell people, for those of you who watched the game between Kansas City and Houston, Texas — nothing against Houston, they're a great team — if you looked at the end of the first half, I think somebody would have chosen a particular outcome. I don't think it turned out that way," Kurian told the audience. 

Kansas City was losing 24-0 in the early part of that game before it vanquished the Texans 51-31 in an epic comeback.

The same applies for the cloud market, said Kurian, who took the reins as Google Cloud CEO a little more than a year ago.

Kurian talked up Google's recent achievements that turned the cloud group into a $9 billion revenue business last year. And he provided glimpses into the playbook that he believes will push Google into the No. 2 cloud ranking in the coming years. 

"We are not distracted by anybody telling us about where we are in the market," Kurian said. "We're focused on executing. When we win customers, and when customers say what you're offering is truly unique, we're very confident in executing that plan. And we don't think the way that cloud and the market looks like three years out is going to be the way it does today."

'We're able to track some of the best sales talent in the industry'

One of Google Cloud's first orders of business is to focus on products and services specific for certain industries, like retail and media.

"Going forward, you will see us focused on executing the plan that we've laid out, which consists of focusing on large customers," Kurian said. "We now, on a global basis, touch many of the leading companies in the world in every industry, not only in every industry but in every geography."

Google Cloud is also continuing to work on scaling its sales organization. Previously, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google Cloud was looking to triple its salesforce over the next few years, and Kurian said on Tuesday, "We're well on that way." 

He said he was bringing in veterans from enterprise-tech giants like SAP and Salesforce. And in September, Business Insider reported that it started a new program to hire senior salespeople to go after some of the largest customers.

"We've introduced world-class people, and it's partly because of our product strength and Google's brand as an engineering leader," Kurian said. "We're able to track some of the best sales talent in the industry, and that gives customers confidence that we're becoming much more capable as an enterprise company. That's why we're seeing the growth in customer wins."

He also said its sales team was more productive and that the number of deals worth over $50 million more than doubled in 2019.

"We have done that by bringing in a new leadership team, specializing our salespeople by industry — so if you're a bank, you talk to somebody who understands banking — and building a set of solutions that are repeatable," Kurian said.

'We're very confident in the execution plan'

Kurian also talked about Google Cloud's focus on partnerships and boasted about some new numbers in Google Cloud's partner momentum. It has become a bigger focus at Google Cloud, and in January, Business Insider reported that it invited outside partners to its internal sales conference for the first time.

Kurian said there has been a 190% year-over-year increase in partner-influenced revenue for Google Cloud and a thirteenfold increase in customers won by partners from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019. He also said the number of Google Cloud certified partners has tripled year over year.

"We're very focused on going directly to a set of customers and then through partners, broadening our reach," Kurian said. "And we're very confident in the execution plan we have through our direct and indirect channels."

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SEE ALSO: Google Cloud is spending big to hire the right salespeople and developers, but analysts say the bet could pay off by making it more competitive with Amazon and Microsoft

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NOW WATCH: Behind the scenes with Shepard Smith — the Fox News star who just announced his resignation from the network

How much is capital gains tax? It depends on how long you held the asset and your income level

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 5:07pm  |  Clusterstock

  • How much your capital gains are taxed generally depends on your income level and how long you held the asset before selling it.
  • Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income in accordance with your federal tax bracket.
  • Long-term capital gains are usually taxed at 0%, 15%, or 20%, but can get as high as 25% or 28% for certain types of assets.
  • This post has been reviewed for accuracy by Thomas C. Corley, CPA.
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best tax software »

If you earn money from the sale of a capital asset — your home, part of a business, stocks, or bonds, for example — that profit may be subject to capital gains tax.

There are two categories of capital gains: short term (assets held for a year or less) and long term (assets held for longer than one year). The day you acquire the asset isn't included in your holding period, but the day you sell it is.

Any net gain resulting from the sale of an asset with a short-term holding period will be added to your gross income and taxed as ordinary income at rates between 10% and 37%. Net gains considered long term are usually taxed at 15% or 20% depending on your total taxable income.

How much is capital gains tax?

The capital gains tax is generally favorable; you'll never pay a higher tax than what you would pay on your ordinary income. 

Here are the federal long-term capital gains rates for 2020:

Capital gains resulting from the sale of collectibles, like fine art or a coin collection, are taxed at the highest rates: 28%.

The short-term capital gains tax rates are the same as your federal income tax bracket as follows: 

How do you calculate capital gains?

Every capital asset you own has a basis, which is generally the amount you paid for the property initially, plus any taxes or commissions. If you received the asset as a gift or from inheritance, there's a special calculation for figuring out your adjusted tax basis.

To calculate the amount of gain (or loss), simply subtract the proceeds received on the date of the sale from your adjusted tax basis. If the proceeds are more than your basis, you'll generate a gain. If the proceeds are less than your basis, you'll generate a loss. 

The capital gains tax rates apply to your net capital gains. If you had capital losses during the tax year (or from a previous year that you carried over), you may be able to use it to offset your gains. 

For example, let's say you had a $2,000 capital loss from the sale of a stock you held for 18 months — that's a long-term capital loss. And you also had $3,000 in capital gain from the sale of another stock you held for 24 months. Since both assets were held long-term, you can net them against each other: $3,000 gain - $2,000 loss = $1,000 net gain taxed at long-term capital gains rates.

How much is capital gains tax on the sale of a home?

Selling a home can generate a large capital gain, especially if you owned it for several years. Thankfully, single filers can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain and married filers can exclude up to $500,000 of the gain.

To qualify for the maximum exclusion, the taxpayer must have owned the home and used it as their personal residence for two of the last five years before selling. Partial exclusions are allowed if you sold your residence for a job or health reasons, or if you're married but only one spouse passes the ownership and use tests.

How do I pay capital gains taxes?

If you sold an asset that generated a large capital gain, you may be required to pay estimated quarterly taxes. You can complete a short questionnaire on the IRS website to figure out how to pay your capital gains tax. 

What is the Net Investment Income Tax?

If you're someone with substantial investment income — including capital gains passive income, certain annuities, dividends, interest, rents, and royalties — you may have to pay an additional tax that goes toward supporting America's healthcare program.

The Net Investment Income Tax applies a flat rate of 3.8% to your investment income if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is above the following amounts for your filing status:

  • Married filing jointly and qualifying widow(er): $250,000 or more
  • Married filing separately: $125,000 or more
  • Single and head of household: $200,000 or more

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NOW WATCH: Behind the scenes with Shepard Smith — the Fox News star who just announced his resignation from the network

The best no-fee checking accounts right now

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 4:18pm  |  Clusterstock

A good checking account is a necessity. It's a temporary home for the money you earn and soon spend on your needs, wants, and future goals — and it shouldn't cost you anything.

These days, most (if not all) banks offer conditional no-fee checking accounts. That is to say, your monthly service fee can be waived if you meet minimum balance or recurring deposit requirements.

In this list, we want to highlight the checking accounts that charge zero monthly maintenance fees, no matter where your balance lies. You might notice this list is similar to our list of best checking accounts — that's because we value no-fee products and have mentioned many of the best already.

Below you'll find our picks for the best no-fee checking accounts available right now. Each of these accounts comes with a debit card, FDIC insurance, and mobile app access. 

Capital One 360: Best no-fee checking account overall

Why it stands out: Access to over 39,000 Capital One and AllPoint ATMs; no monthly service, overdraft, or foreign transaction fees; mobile check deposit available; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; multiple overdraft protection options; and all balances earn 0.20% APY. Plus, Capital One ranks No. 4 on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study.

What to look out for: Minimal branch locations. Though Capital One Cafés are popping up in big cities around the US, the bank only operates about 470 branches in nine states.

Discover CashBack Debit: Best no-fee checking account for rewards

Why it stands out: Access to over 60,000 ATMs; no monthly service or overdraft fees; mobile check deposit available; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; and earns 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month.

What to look out for: Location restrictions. You can only use your Discover debit card in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

US Bank Student Checking: Best no-fee checking account for students

Why it stands out: Access to 4,700 US Bank ATMs, 28,000 ATMs in the MoneyPass Network, and 3,000 US Bank branch locations; no monthly service fees for students; no overdraft transfer fees when linked to a deposit account; fee reimbursement for up to four non-US Bank ATM transactions per statement cycle; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; and mobile check deposit available.

What to look out for: Minimum opening deposit of $25. Also, although US Bank ranked above Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and CitiBank on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study, it's categorized as "about average."

SoFi Money: Best checking account/savings account hybrid

Why it stands out: Unlimited reimbursement for ATM fees worldwide; mobile check deposit available; no monthly service or overdraft fees; all balances earn 1.60% APY; and you get 20% cash back on Lyft rides.

What to look out for: SoFi Money is technically a cash management account, which is a type of brokerage account. However, this account has all the features of a checking account, including a debit card and FDIC insurance, and many features of a savings account, including a high APY.

Simple Online Checking: Best online-only checking account

Why it stands out: Access to 40,000 AllPoint ATMs; mobile check deposit available; built-in budgeting feature that automatically portions out fixed expenses after each paycheck is deposited and leaves you with a "safe to spend" amount; and the ability to open and easily transfer excess funds into a high-yield companion account that earns 1.75% APY on balances under $10,000 and 1.90% APY on balances above $10,000.

What to look out for: Limited overdraft options. If you attempt to make a purchase with your debit card that requires more funds than are available in your account, Simple will decline the transaction. At this time, there are no other options for overdraft protection.

Other no-fee checking accounts we considered and why they didn't make the cut:
  • Charles Schwab High-Yield Investor Checking Account: This no-fee checking account that earns 0.15% APY on all balances is a good deal, but you have to open a brokerage account at the same time.
  • Ally Interest Checking Account: This no-fee account is comparable to Simple's online checking account, although Simple has a budgeting feature and offers a higher-earning savings account than Ally. However, Ally does have more overdraft options and earns 0.10% APY on balances under $15,000, if that's important to you.
  • CIT Bank eChecking: The minimum opening deposit for this account is $100 and it only offers up to $15 of fee-free ATM visits a month, otherwise it's a fine account earning 0.10% APY on balances below $25,000.
  • Betterment Everyday: This is still in beta, but it has the makings of a solid checking account: ATM fees reimbursed worldwide, no monthly service fees or overdraft fees, and a boosted rate on your savings account.
  • TD Bank Student Checking: While TD Bank ranked No. 1 on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study, its only ATM and branch locations are on the East Coast, and there's a $3 fee each time you use a non-TD ATM.
  • Axos Essential Checking: A solid online-only checking account with unlimited ATM fee reimbursement, but nothing extra special.
  • Axos Cash Back Checking: This account offers up to 1% cash back on purchases (up to $2,000 per month), but doesn't count transactions from grocery stores and requires an average daily balance of $1,500 to earn the cash back. If your balance falls below that limit, you get 0.50% cash back.
  • Axos Rewards Checking: This account touts up to 1.25% APY, but to get the full rate you need to have monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more and a total of 15 transactions per month (min $3 per transaction) on your debit card. You also need $50 to open the account.
  • Chime: A solid online-only, no-fee checking account with overdraft protection options, quick direct deposit, and access to over 38,000 ATMs, but additional features are not as good as Simple.
  • TIAA Yield Pledge Checking: No monthly service fees and all balances earn 1.01% APY for the first year; after that, the rate drops to between 0.25% to 0.65%. To enjoy unlimited ATM reimbursement you need to keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000. You also need at least $100 to open the account.
Frequently asked questions: Why trust our recommendations?

At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of nearly three dozen checking accounts available at over 20 national and online-only banks so you don't have to.

We understand that "best" is often subjective, however, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a checking account — no fees, for example — we outline the limitations, too.

How did we choose the best no-fee checking accounts?

To find the best no-fee checking accounts, we consulted our list of the best checking accounts, many of which are completely free for all accountholders, regardless of their balance. To compile that list, we considered offerings at over 20 financial institutions, as well as reviews at popular comparison sites like Bankrate and Nerdwallet, to determine the strongest options.

We also polled Business Insider employees for their favorite picks and considered J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study for 2019, which measures customer satisfaction at America's largest retail banks.

While big retail banks in the US have the most widespread ATM and branch location access, they typically do not offer completely free checking accounts, so we didn't name a winner for ATM and branch access.

Unlike a savings account, a checking account doesn't need to have a high interest rate to be good. In fact, the annual percentage yield (APY) shouldn't matter much if you're using your checking account to pay your monthly bills and cover expenses in short order. If your money is constantly flowing in and out of your checking account, it won't get a chance to earn much interest anyway.

What banks offer free checking accounts?

You can find completely free checking accounts at Ally, Betterment, CIT Bank, US Bank, TD Bank, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Discover, Axos, and SoFi Money, to name a few.

Which banks have the best checking accounts?

Through our extensive research, we've concluded that the best checking accounts available right now are at Chase, Capital One, Discover, Simple, and SoFi Money. Some of these may offer to waive service fees if certain requirements are met, but most charge none at all.

Which banks have free checking with no minimum balance?

Several banks offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance or opening deposit requirement, including Ally, Charles Schwab, Betterment, and Capital One.

Tanza Loudenback has been writing about money every day for more than three years. She is an expert on strategies for building wealth and financial products that help people make the most of their money. She is in the process of becoming a licensed CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP).

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The coronavirus outbreak will 'very likely' affect the US economy, Fed warns

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 4:12pm  |  Clusterstock

  • A deadly viral outbreak in China is poised to affect the US economy, but it's too soon to estimate to what extent, Fed Chair Powell warned Tuesday. 
  • Powell emphasized that the US economy was in a solid place but that the coronavirus presented new risks. 
  • A growing number of major companies have warned of fallout from the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A deadly viral outbreak in China is poised to affect the US economy, but it's too soon to estimate to what extent, Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell warned Tuesday. 

"We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," Powell told the House Financial Services Committee during a semiannual report on monetary policy.

Powell emphasized that the US economy was in a solid place and that the central bank was comfortable with the current Fed policy rate of between 1.5% and 1.75%. But he added that the central bank would closely monitor the economic risks from the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people and spread to at least two dozen countries.

"We know that there will be some — very likely be some effects on the United States," he said. "I think it's just too early to say, we have to resist the temptation to speculate on this."

Officials have placed new restrictions on travel and trade over recent weeks as they scrambled to contain the outbreak.

A growing number of major companies have warned of fallout from the coronavirus, saying that store closures and other supply chain disruptions would chip away at revenue this year.

Powell said the Fed would look for "persistent" and "material" economic effects as it assessed the outbreak, noting that there was not yet enough information available to estimate whether it would change the overall outlook. 

"I think it's just too early to say," he added. "We have to resist the temptation to speculate on this."

SEE ALSO: The $23 trillion debt leaves the US with fewer tools to fight a recession, Fed warns Congress

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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

I drove a $29,000 Kia Soul GT-Line — and although I warmed up to the crossover SUV, it was ultimately disappointing

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 3:59pm  |  Clusterstock

  • I tested a 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line hatchback crossover.
  • My test vehicle was priced at $29,055 and enjoyed some performance upgrades, including a theoretically punchy 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.
  • The Soul GT-Line gives up too much speed to fuel economy, but it did wind up being fun to drive around corners and into twists and turns.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

I wanted to like the Kia Soul GT-Line. I was wildly impressed with the Kia Stinger, the South Korean carmaker's sport sedan that claimed Business Insider's 2018 Car of the Year award. More recently, I richly enjoyed the Telluride, an appealing new SUV from the brand.

The Soul has been with us since 2009. It was initially aimed at the entry-level market, with the idea that versatility, youthful styling, and a relatively cheap price tag could make the compact crossover a winner.

And a winner it has been. Since 2011, Soul sales have amounted to over 100,000 units annually, dipping below that figure in 2019 as the outgoing Soul made way for an all-new version.

My test vehicle was a 2020 Soul GT-Line, the high-performance(ish) trim level. The Soul starts at a scooch under $17,500, but that's for the bare-bones hatchback. My tester began at $27,490 and nabbed a few options — a $345 "Snow White Peal" paint job that in combination with some red trim put me in Tylenol frame of mind — on the way to a $29,055 as-sampled sticker. 

What we have here is slightly-better-than-basic transportation with some go-fast goodies in the equation. 

And therein resides the problem. While the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 201 horsepower and pipes the thrust though a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and while the Soul GT-Line's 0-60 mph time is achieved in under seven seconds, I struggled to savor speed in this thing. 

It all starts with the engine. Which is terrible. And the transmission. Which makes the terrible more terrible.

In concept, the fun should be on tap. The turbo four should be punchy, and the gears should wind a bit wildly, as the motor revs like a baby monster. But no. The power lags, even in Sport mode (and in that case, there's torque steer to contend with at the front wheels), and the automatic seven-speed's favorite gear is ... seventh. 

Yes, this yields decent fuel economy: 27 mpg city/32 highway/29 combined. But I'd have been happy to abandon some MPGs for more performance presence. 

That was my first few days with the Soul GT-Line. My hatred mounted. I started to think this was among the worst cars currently on sale. But then I started to steer the car around some corners, and I found virtues. The Soul GT-Line is not un-engaging to pilot, despite the difficulty of holding it in a gear that retains any power. It gets about a third of the go-quick idea right. 

That is of course not enough. So, sadly, I still disliked the Soul GT-Line, although my snap hatred receded. 

A shame, because much of the rest of the Soul is pretty great. The interior is sporty and mostly comfortable, although not plush. The ergonomic layout of instruments and infotainment controls is superb — Kia is one of the top brands in the business for user-friendliness. I particularly liked that one can easily fire up both front seat heaters and the steering-wheel heater by punching three eminently findable buttons in quick succession.

The Harman-Kardon upscale audio system in my tester was superb, and the infotainment setup accomplished all duties with aplomb, from navigation to Bluetooth device-pairing. My tester had a fighter-pilot style head-up display that was useful.

In the end, however, although I like the Soul's now famous shape and size, and I found some thrills throwing it around. it couldn't steal my heart from the Mazda CX-3, my favorite joy-to-drive ride in this segment.

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Household debt balloons the fastest since 2007, Federal Reserve says

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 3:51pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Household debt jumped in 2019, posting the fastest annual growth since 2007, the Federal Reserve said.
  • Mortgages powered the jump, though credit standards and delinquencies showed signs of restraint.
  • Student loans are more likely than other forms of debt to be delinquent, but they are not the most popular form of first-time debt for young people.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Federal Reserve report released on Tuesday showed that household debt jumped in 2019, posting the biggest annual increase since 2007.

Household debt grew by $601 billion in 2019 to reach $14.15 trillion. Mortgages powered that jump, with annual balances increasing by $433 billion last year, a note from economists at the New York Fed said.

But these are not the fast-and-loose mortgages of the pre-recession era. A nearly record low share of existing mortgages, 1%, became delinquent in the last quarter of 2019, and the average credit score for a mortgage notched up 5 points, to 770, the report said.

Further, according to the report, credit standards tightened overall in the last quarter, as auto and credit-card balances both increased by $57 billion last year, the note said.

Meanwhile, student loans grew by $51 billion, less than half of the record $114 billion increase they posted in 2013, the note said.

But while student loans grew more slowly, they are also more likely to be delinquent than other forms of debt. A greater share of student-loan balances transition to delinquency than any other form of borrowing.

Overall, 11.1% of all student debt was 90 or more days delinquent in the last quarter of 2019, though challenges in classifying student loans as delinquent mean the effective delinquency rate is likely about double that, the report said.

It's a reality that may affect fewer young people going forward. Student loans were the most popular form of debt for young people from 2010 to 2013, but now the most common form is credit-card debt — more than half of people under 30 have a credit card on their credit report, the report said.

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

There are 607 billionaires in the United States, and only 5 of them are black

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 3:16pm  |  Clusterstock

It's not easy for anyone to become a billionaire in America, but it's likely even harder if you're black.

Only five of the United States' 607 billionaires are African American, Forbes' Billionaires List shows. The staggeringly low number of American billionaires that identify as being of African descent highlights the widening chasm between the economic opportunities afforded to black and white Americans.

In 1992, the median net worth of white families was $100,000 above that of black families, according to McKinsey. By 2016, the median white family was $152,000 wealthier than its black counterpart. During that period, the median wealth of white families grew over $50,000, McKinsey reports, but the median wealth of black families did not grow at all in real terms.

The diversity problem among the world's wealthiest people isn't just an American one. Only 13 of the 2,153 people on Forbes' 2019 billionaires list are black, the magazine reported. In 2018, that number was 11.

Keep reading to learn more about America's black billionaires, in the order of their net worths.

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed taxes on the ultra-wealthy. Here's how much poorer America's 10 wealthiest billionaires would be under a moderate wealth tax.

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5. Jay-Z grew the proceeds from his music career into a billion-dollar fortune with smart investments.

Net worth: $1 billion

Source of wealth: music, investments

Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, may be hip hop's first billionaire, but he didn't make his fortune off his music career alone. Carter pocketed approximately $500 million from his 14 No. 1 albums before taxes, but a large portion of his wealth comes from his business ventures, according to Forbes. He founded a clothing line that he sold to Iconix for $204 million in 2007 and co-owns cognac brand D'Ussé, in addition to owning music streaming service Tidal.

Jay-Z bought Tidal for $56 million in 2015. In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in the company for $200 million, which put the company's valuation at $600 million. Jay-Z's stake in the company is now worth $100 million, according to Forbes

Jay-Z also has a private art collection worth $70 million, a stake in Uber worth $70 million, and he owns $50 million in real estate, Forbes reported.

4. Michael Jordan used his success as a basketball player to build a best-selling footwear brand.

Net worth: $1.9 billion

Source of wealth: sports, endorsements

Jordan, 56, is the highest-paid athlete of all time, but not because of his salary from the Chicago Bulls. Jordan earned $1.4 billion before taxes from corporate sponsorships during his professional basketball career. His film debut, "Space Jam," also earned $250 million at the worldwide box office, according to IMDB

He went on to purchase an NBA team, The Charlotte Hornets, in 2010. The Hornets may be the third least-valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes, but the team's valuation at $1.05 billion is still a major part of Jordan's wealth. Jordan has also made a lot of money from Nike's Air Jordan line, which made him a billionaire in 2015, according to CNN Business.

3. Oprah Winfrey made a multimillion-dollar fortune from her media empire.

Net worth: $2.7 billion

Source of wealth: media

Born to a single mother in rural Mississippi, Winfrey started out as a news anchor before spending 25 years hosting "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The investments Winfrey made with her share of the show's profits are now worth about $2 billion, Forbes estimates. She became a billionaire in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Times

Winfrey, now 66, also leveraged her show's success to build a media empire and amassed a fortune of $2.6 billion in the process, according to Forbes. She owns 25.5% of her television network OWN, an 8% stake in WW International, and has a content creation deal with Apple TV+.

Oprah has also voiced characters in "Charlotte's Web," "The Bee Movie," and "The Princess and the Frog," in addition to starring in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Selma," among others, according to The Oprah Magazine.

2. David Steward built his fortune running an IT service provider that counts Citi, Verizon, and the federal government as clients.

Net worth: $3.5 billion

Source of wealth: information technology services

Steward founded World Wide Technology, an IT services company that has generated over $11 billion in sales, according to Forbes. Steward, 68, serves as the company's chairman. The Missouri-based billionaire still has a majority stake in the company.

1. Investor Robert F. Smith is the richest black man in the country.

Net worth: $5 billion

Source of wealth: private equity

A Cornell graduate and former Goldman Sachs executive, Smith built his multibillion-dollar fortune running private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, Business Insider previously reported. Vista is one of the most successful private equity firms in the nation, with more than $46 billion in assets and posting annualized returns of 22%.

Smith became the first African American to sign The Giving Pledge in 2017, an invitation-only alliance of billionaires who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes. Smith is perhaps best known for his philanthropy. In May, he announced a $34 million gift to pay off the student loans of Morehouse College's class of 2019 while speaking during the historically black college's graduation ceremony. Smith later expanded the gift to cover the graduates' parents' educational debt.

Hedge fund giant Elliott is looking more like a buyout shop as it brings in a BlueMountain exec to help run portfolio companies

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 3:06pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Hedge fund giant Elliott Management is creating a position to oversee operations of its portfolio companies, according to people familiar with the matter. 
  • It's the latest move that's positioned the activist investor to look more like a buyout shop, as the firm has sprouted a private-equity arm and one source familiar with the matter said it has more "control-type situations" in private equity, public equity, and credit. 
  • Elliott is bringing onboard Jon Weber, Carl Icahn's former chief operating and finance executive who most recently served as head of portfolio operations at BlueMountain Capital.
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Hedge fund giant Elliott Management is creating a position to oversee operations of its portfolio companies, in the latest move that's positioned the firm to look more like a buyout shop than a shorter-term investor, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Elliott is bringing onboard Jon Weber, Carl Icahn's former chief operating and finance executive who most recently served as head of portfolio operations at BlueMountain Capital.

The hire highlights an evolution at Elliott, from an activist investor known for its aggressive tactics to one that also works collaboratively with management, sometimes for investment periods longer than is typical of the hedge-fund industry. 

Details are still being hammered out as Weber settles into his second week at Elliott, sources said, but his responsibilities will entail overseeing a newly formed portfolio operations group, which will organize Elliott's operating partners under one umbrella.

The number of executives who will work in this group is still undetermined, but Elliott has contracted with operating executives in the past, though that has not before been part of an internally organized group. 

Generally speaking, operating executives work with portfolio companies to improve efficiencies and create value. Responsibilities can entail finding executive talent, including CEOs and CFOs.

One source estimated that Elliott had at least a half dozen operating executives already, and that while the new group wouldn't be deploying the same number of executives as a traditional firm like KKR — which staffs more than 70 full-time operating execs — it would be "targeted" in its deployment of team members.  

In 2015, Elliott launched Evergreen Coast Capital, a private equity arm that can buy companies outright instead of taking public stakes, with investments including software provider LogMeIn and healthcare technology firm, Athenahealth.

At the same time, the firm has more capital to deploy. The Wall Street Journal reported in November that it had raised $2 billion for private-equity style buyouts, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Overall, it has more than $34 billion in assets under management, up from $22 billion seven years ago.

One of the sources familiar with Weber's hire said Elliott now has more "control-type situations" in private equity, public equity, and credit situations, where the firm is "seeking to be an agent of change."

In the past, Elliott has taken stakes and mounted campaigns to push for changes at public companies such as Hess and AT&T. Most recently, it made news when it mounted a $2.5 billion stake in investment firm SoftBank, which has backed technology companies including WeWork.

Weber is the latest departure to hit BlueMountain, which over the past year has seen turbulence as it comes under a new corporate owner, Assured Guaranty.  

In October, the firm wound down its 16-year-old flagship fund, the $2.5 billion BlueMountain Credit Alternatives, to focus on its collateralized loan obligations business and it was announced that co-founder Stephen Siderow would leave the firm. 

Reached on Tuesday, a BlueMountain Capital spokesperson declined to comment on Weber's departure. 

Some of Weber's work at BlueMountain entailed helping portfolio companies run searches for CEOs and board members, and also oversee executive compensation and annual performance reviews, according to materials Weber posted on his LinkedIn profile. 

Before his time at BlueMountain, Weber worked as an operating partner at investment advisor Anchorage Capital Group between 2010 and 2017. Before that, he was a managing director at Goldman Sachs between 2007 and 2010.

According to his LinkedIn bio, Weber headed a team within Goldman's special situations group to "drive operational value enhancement" where the firm was an investor in companies in the Americas and EMEA.

His bio said that he oversaw pre-investment assessment and value creation planning, post-investment operational oversight and review, as well as company-specific value enhancement initiatives. 

Between 2003 and 2007, Weber was president and head of portfolio operations at Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises.

In that role, Weber reported to Icahn in overseeing companies in which Icahn had influence.

Weber served as CEO of metal recovery and industrial services company, Philip Services Corporation, as well as Viskase Companies, a supplier to the food service industry.

SEE ALSO: Private equity giants like Blackstone and KKR are loading up on industry specialists to help squeeze out returns, and that's creating a new power dynamic inside the firms

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Here's why business experts think Uber's 'profitability' pledge is misleading and meaningless (UBER)

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 11:03pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber excited investors and analysts last week when it predicted it would hit "profitability" by the end of this year.
  • But the company's definition of "profitability" doesn't accord with standard accounting and leaves out a whole mess of expenses.
  • The company's preferred profitability measure — adjusted EBITDA — is problematic, because while it is improving, its outflow of actual cash is actually worsening.
  • It wouldn't be a surprise if the company hits its "profitability" target, business experts say, but investors shouldn't consider that a huge achievement.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Uber finally gave its investors a reason to cheer — the longtime money-losing company announced last week it expects to finally hit "profitability" by the end of this year.

But the company's promise wasn't all that it might have seemed. Uber's executives weren't actually promising that it would be profitable by the end of the year, at least not on standard-accounting basis. Nor were they necessarily promising that it would start generating cash by then.

Instead, they were promising that the company would be profitable on a basis the company itself has created and defined.

That basis — which the company called adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or adjusted EBITDA — leaves out a whole host of expenses, as its name implies, even more so than EBITDA, a somewhat standardized term.

It wouldn't be a big surprise if Uber does post a profit on that basis, business experts told Business Insider. But because the company itself can define what expenses it includes and leaves out in adjusted EBITDA, investors shouldn't be overly impressed if it does become profitable on that basis.

"I think it's likely that they will" hit the profitability target, said Phillip Braun a finance professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, said. "But I don't think it's meaningful."

He continued: "I view it as a vacuous statement."

Uber is under pressure to improve its bottom line

Like many other unprofitable tech companies, Uber has been under increasing pressure from public investors to show that it can be a cash-generating business. Under standard accounting rules, the company lost $8.5 billion last year on $14.1 billion in revenue. It saw a $4.9 billion outflow of cash from its operations and investments in property and equipment.

Thanks in part to such numbers, the company's stock has fared poorly since it went public last year, consistently trading below its $45 offering price and the company's $72 billion peak private valuation.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and his team have been trying to assure investors that they have the situation in hand. They previously committed to reaching profitability on their adjusted EBITDA basis by next year. On their call with investors and analysts following the company's fourth-quarter report, they pushed that target forward by a quarter.

"While we've already started demonstrating strong profitability improvements, we view 2020 as a truly transformational year," Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer, said on the call.

Analysts that cover the company largely cheered its report and its profit prediction. Wedbush analyst Ygal Arounian called the announcement of impending positive adjusted EBITDA a "shocker" in a research note.

"This was a giant step forward for Dara and team and shows the business model is starting to hit another gear," he said in the note. 

At least on the surface, Uber officials already had something to crow about. On its adjusted EBITDA basis, its loss shrank from $817 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 to $615 million in the just-completed period.

But those numbers illustrated the flaws in the company's preferred way of reporting its bottom line.

Uber's 'profitability' figure isn't actual profitability

Many tech companies report or point to their EBITDA numbers. EBITDA is typically thought of as a proxy for the profitability or cash flow generated by a company's core operations, since it eliminates certain non-cash charges and income or expenses that don't come from those operations.

But Uber's adjusted EBITDA figure goes far beyond typical EBITDA. Because the company touts numerous non-standard accounting figures and measures, its earnings releases include a glossary to define just what its bespoke terms mean. According to that glossary, adjusted EBITDA excludes not only what's left out of standard EBITDA, but also earnings or losses from discontinued operations, earnings or losses that can be assigned to minority investors in its subsidiaries, and earnings or losses from companies it has invested in.

But that's not all. It leaves out stock-based compensation — a big expense at tech companies including Uber, which saw $243 million of such costs in the fourth-quarter alone. It excludes restructuring charges, $12 million of which Uber recorded in the fourth quarter. It omits impairments of or losses on the sale of assets and any acquisition costs.

On top of all that, it excludes "other items not indicative of our ongoing operating performance," a catch-all phrase that Uber could, in theory, use to leave out just about any expense.

Given all that Uber already leaves out of the adjusted EBITDA and what it could, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the company meets its goal of becoming "profitable" on that basis, the business experts said.

"Do I think that it's possible they will hit the profitability target as they defined it?" said Rob Siegel, a lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. "Sure."

Uber's report is reminiscent of those from the dot-com days

The question is whether anyone should pay attention to that, he and other business experts said.

Uber's adjusted EBITDA and other proprietary financial terms triggered dèjá vu among some business experts.

Twenty years ago during the dot-com boom, many startup companies touted their own custom-created financial and performance metrics instead of emphasizing how they were doing under standard accounting principles. Many of those companies touted "pro-forma" profits that were derided as excluding everything but the kitchen sink. Many of those companies ended up going out of business or seeing their share prices plunge when investors and creditors refocused on their actual bottom lines — expenses and all.

"I think it's very similar to the dot-com days, when they're kind of pushing out all these metrics and all of these financial figures for us to try to grab on to, when the bottom line is they're just not making money," said Dan Morgan, a senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust and a longtime tech investor. Synovus owns 7,450 shares of Uber, a relatively small position for the firm.

But Uber's focus on adjusted EBITDA is problematic in another important way, experts said. While standard EBITDA is supposed to be an indicator of a company's operating profitability, Uber's adjusted figure looks increasingly out of sync with its own operating performance. While the company's adjusted EBIDTA loss shrank in the fourth quarter from the year-earlier period, it's operating cash outflow actually worsened considerably and was much worse than its adjusted EBITDA figure would have suggested.

In the fourth quarter, Uber's operations burned through nearly $1.8 billion in cash — or about three times more than its adjusted EBITDA loss. In the year-ago period, the company's operations consumed $837 million, only $20 million more than its adjusted EBITDA loss.

"Their cash flow is a real issue and a real concern," said Stanford's Siegel. 

Yet despite their forecasts of adjusted EBITDA profits, Uber's executives had little to say about when the company might start generating positive cash flow or become profitable on a standard accounting basis.

Uber's figure may be more than just 'noise' — but maybe not

Companies tend to promote non-standard accounting measures for two main reasons, said Robert Hendershott, an associate finance professor at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business. In some cases, their executives truly believe such figures offer investors insights into their business that investors couldn't get from standard metrics. In other cases, companies use them to try to distract from their real performance.

Hendershott is dubious that the latter strategy works.

When "companies come out with adjusted numbers that are just creating nonsense and noise, investors ignore them," Hendershott said.

But some experts are worried that the heavy promotion of such figures can confuse investors. Uber's forecast was widely reported as a prediction of actual profits — not adjusted EBITDA. And even its own executives, when making the forecast, said they expected the company to post positive EBIDTA — leaving out the "adjusted" part. A company representative clarified to Business Insider that they did in fact mean adjusted EBITDA.

"You really have to ask whether the company's management actually wants investors to understand what's going on," said Gary Lutin, a former investment banker and chairman of The Shareholder Forum, an advocate for investor rights.

To be sure, Uber's focus on turning its adjusted EBITDA figure positive isn't necessarily meaningless, some of the experts said. It's a potentially a sign that the company is focusing on reducing its costs and improving its actual bottom line, they said.

"I think it's really a directional momentum question," said Hendershott. "If they can turn the ship and they can start improving profitability, given their business model, whatever they're doing to do that in 2020, they should be able do more of it."

But many believe that Uber's claims to an improving bottom line shouldn't be believed until it can actually show them on a standard accounting basis.

"I'm personally in a wait-and-see mode," said Synovus' Morgan. "I'm still in the camp that I'm not quite sure these models are ever going to work."

Got a tip about Uber or another tech company? 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.

SEE ALSO: Here's why Casper's disappointing IPO could spell disaster for other unicorns

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I'm a financial planner, and the first question I ask any new client tells me everything I need to know to help them manage their money

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 5:31pm  |  Clusterstock

As a financial planner, I've seen both good and bad financial situations. Clients come to me for a variety of reasons, but I can't read their minds and I certainly don't want to make any assumptions. Rather than guessing, I always ask new clients one question at the start of our meeting: What brings you here?

It seems like a silly question. The client wants help to manage their finances, which is why they sought me out for financial planning. Except no two financial plans are the same. I need to know what's important in their lives in order to help them reach their goals.

The open-ended question of "what brings you here" is an excellent starting point. When clients answer this question in their own words, it helps me see how I can make financial planning successful in their eyes.

When to seek out financial advice

I've met with many clients over the years. I primarily focus on financial planning for women and families, and I help them with all areas of their financial life. Ensuring that you're putting enough money away for retirement is only part of the picture.

Financial planners like me can tackle challenging personal money matters and coach you through difficult life transitions.

Going through a big life event? Use SmartAsset's free tool to connect with a financial planner who can help »

One reason I start with an open question like "what brings you here" is because most people lack familiarity with  the financial planning process.

If you have a fair amount of investment knowledge and enjoy reading up on the latest wealth management and financial news, you're a step ahead of most Americans. Of people between the ages of 23 to 54, more than half don't have a retirement savings account

Financial planning is about more than retirement. The simple fact that you're alive demands that you seek out professional financial advice. Rather than waiting until you're in the midst of a financial crisis, here's when to make an appointment with a financial planner:

  • You got married and want help to merge your finances
  • You were recently divorced or widowed and are wondering how to manage your money as a newly single person
  • You don't care about investing, but you also don't want to end up in a financial mess
  • You're nearing retirement and want to make sure you're on the right track
  • You inherited some money and want advice on the best way to invest it

Some of these situations can be taken care of with a onetime consultation. You have some questions and need a professional opinion on how to handle a specific life event.

Others, like retirement planning, long-term investing, and estate planning, might do better if you have an ongoing relationship with a financial planner.

How a financial planner can help

If you're not sure how a financial planner can help, or if the thought of having an expert look at your personal finances instills equal parts fear and dread, you're probably overthinking it. I'm a real person living in the real world, and I know life can throw you a curveball now and then. 

I don't ask new clients why they're pursuing financial planning to put them on the spot or make them uncomfortable. As a financial planner, my job isn't to judge you based on how you manage your money

Instead, my focus is on meeting you where you are and helping you maximize your potential to meet your life financial goals. I want to know your desired outcome to consider your financial plan a success.

Because that's what financial planning is all about: Making your finances work for you to make achieving your lifelong dreams a little easier.

Talk to a financial planner today and start building wealth. SmartAsset's free tool can connect you with a qualified professional »

Marguerita Cheng is a Certified Financial Planner and CEO of financial advisory firm Blue Ocean Global Wealth, where she helps people meet their life goals through the proper management of financial resources.

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Buzzy primary care startup Iora Health just raised $126 million. Meet the 8 companies changing how doctors get paid and building the future of medicine.

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:54pm  |  Clusterstock

In the past few years, a crop of companies has been gaining steam with new approaches to primary care

Rather than getting paid for each visit or procedure that a patient needs, startups are looking to change the way primary care is practiced, in many cases working to get paid a large fixed sum each month to take care of all of a patient's health needs.

In many cases, that means seeing fewer patients a year — hundreds, rather than thousands — offering additional services, or making the process of getting an appointment more convenient.  

Read more: A new kind of doctor's office charges a monthly fee and doesn't take insurance — and it could be the future of medicine

And others are taking note. For instance, health systems including Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare and Pennsylvania-based Geisinger are taking similar approaches with some of their primary-care doctors. The federal government is planning to pay for care for some Medicare patients in a similar way too.

Investors have taken an interest in the model, pouring hundreds of millions in funding into some of the companies. And the space stands to bring in even more cash, from the public markets as well as private. One Medical in January kicked off trading on the public markets, surging to a $2.7 billion market cap in its first day of trading. Iora Health in February raised an additional $126 million

The rise of some of these models — in particular venture-backed Iora, family-owned ChenMed, and private-equity-backed Oak Street Health — comes at a time when the market for Medicare Advantage plans has grown increasingly competitive.

As of last year, more than 20 million Americans were enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans. People can typically choose to enroll in Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans when they turn 65. Either way, their health needs are largely funded by the US government.

Read on to see how the startups are shaking up the traditional way we do primary care. 

This article was published on August 20 and has been updated.

One Medical

What One Medical does: When the San Francisco-based primary-care startup One Medical opened for business in 2007, its goal was to upend the way people got medical care by making it easy and convenient to see a doctor. The company charges a $200 annual fee and bills your insurance. 

Over the next decade, it became the primary-care startup to beat. After a big infusion of capital, it's expecting to double the number of medical clinics it operates over the next two years. It has 77 locations in nine cities and is increasingly focused on signing up companies to provide care for their workers. 

While One Medical does accept some private Medicare plans, it doesn't take Medicaid, according to its website.

One Medical's doctors and health professionals are limited to seeing 16 patients a day. 

Funding raised: As a private company, One Medical raised $408 million. The company went public in January, raising $245 million in the offering and surging to a $2.7 billion valuation on the first day of trading. 

According to filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, One Medical's losses have increased, even as the company is signing up more customers. One Medical had 397,000 member as of September 30, 2019.

Number of clinics: It had 77 locations by the end of September 2019, according to the filing. 

Read more: I became a member of One Medical, a primary-care practice that charges a $200 annual fee and has plans to double over the next two years. Here's what it was like.

Iora Health

What Iora does: Founded in 2010, Boston-based Iora works with "sponsors" — mainly employers or private health plans for the elderly (known as Medicare Advantage) — that cover a monthly fee for primary care. Iora also built out care teams of nurses and other health professionals that can help the doctors within the practice.

Iora says the approach is working. In one group of Medicare patients, Iora says it reduced hospital admissions by 50% and emergency room visits by 20% over 18 months.

Doctors care for a group of about 500 to 700 patients, depending on where they practice and the health of those patients.

Funding raised: The company has raised more than $375 million from investors like GE Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Temasek Holdings, and Humana. In February, Iora raised a $126 million Series F round, confirming Business Insider's reporting from October that Iora was raising at least $100 million more as it looked to expand in 2020.

Number of clinics: Iora has 48 clinics as of February 2020, in states such as Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado. 

Read more: A doctor raised more than $250 million to create a new kind of clinic that charges a monthly fee, and it could be the future of medicine


What VillageMD does: Chicago-based VillageMD was founded in 2013 with the idea of giving primary care doctors more resources to help them manage the care of their patients. Instead of cutting down the number of patients doctors see per year, the hope is to add in monitoring services, transportation, and other ways to keep patients healthier.

VillageMD's doctors manage the health of about 2,000 patients a year, including those on commercial insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare plans. Rather than get paid based on the number of visits doctors have with patients, VillageMD works with insurers so that it gets paid based on how well it cares for patients. 

"We don't get paid unless we can drive better quality" CEO Tim Barry told Business Insider. 

Instead of building up new practices from scratch, VillageMD brings in existing primary care practices with existing patients, helping them transition to a different payment model with the help of software and operational support. VillageMD has a mix of doctors who are employed by VillageMD and who partner with the company.

After raising an additional $100 million in September, VillageMD is building out its primary care services in the home, as well as build on its partnership with Walgreens. In November 2019, VillageMD opened the first of five planned primary care clinics within Walgreens in Houston, Texas.

Funding raised: In September, the company said it raised an additional $100 million in a round led by the investment firm Kinnevik. In total, the company's raised $216 million. 

Number of clinics: VillageMD currently works with more than 2,500 doctors who work in about 215 practices across eight states.

In January, VillageMD acquired Summit Medical Group of Arizona, adding another six clinics and 50 providers to VillageMD's footprint. 


What ChenMed does: Miami-based ChenMed was founded 32 years ago by Dr. James Chen. The family-owned organization manages the health of seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Under the arrangements, plans pay ChenMed a set amount to keep their members healthy. ChenMed offers services like on-site pharmacies, transportation to and from appointments, exercise options, and social networking with other seniors.

To do that, doctors in ChenMed's practices typically manage about 300 to 400 patients a year, ChenMed's chief growth officer Dr. Gaurov Dayal told Business Insider, a much smaller group than the thousands of patients doctors in traditional primary care usually see over the course of a year. 

Funding raised: The company is family-owned. 

Number of clinics: It operates more than 60 clinics across eight states. It plans to open 20 new centers, expanding to 80 centers in 10 states in 2020. 

Oak Street Health

What Oak Street Health does: Chicago-based Oak Street Health provides primary care to seniors, in particular those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. It works with Medicare Advantage health plans and those on traditional Medicare to get paid to manage the health of members, by driving them to and from appointments, and offering them social events and more time with their doctors.

Like Iora and ChenMed, Oak Street's doctors see fewer patients than traditional primary care, caring for around 500 patients. 

Funding raised: Oak Street is backed by the private-equity giant General Atlantic. 

Number of clinics: It has 45, in the Chicago area, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. 



What Forward does: For $150 a month, Forward acts as your primary-care provider, along with providing some extra perks and technology with the intent to keep you healthier. The company doesn't take insurance.

Forward's a type of doctor's office that's similar to direct primary care, a small but fast-growing movement of pediatricians, family-medicine physicians, and internists. This group doesn't accept insurance and instead charges a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs and their prescription drugs at much lower prices.

In Forward's case, membership includes unlimited visits, blood testing, vaccines and genetic testing. The company declined to disclose how many patients each of its doctors sees on average. 

Funding raised: Forward declined to comment on the amount it's raised. As of 2017, it had raised $100 million, according to BuzzFeed News.

Number of clinics: Forward has seven clinics, most recently opening one in Washington, DC, as well as spots in Southern California, San Francisco, and New York.

Read more: Silicon Valley has a fresh take on a new movement that could be the future of medicine


Parsley Health

What Parsley does: Founded by Dr. Robin Berzin in 2016, Parsley Health is focused on functional medicine, which takes a more comprehensive approach to treating the underlying cause of a disease, looking at it more holistically than case by case.

For a $150 monthly fee, you get primary-care visits, nutrition plans, supplement regimens, and more in-depth genetics and microbiome testing. Parsley does not take insurance. 

In 2019, Parsley started moving into pediatrics, offering similar services at a price of $129 a month, with the hope of providing better care for children and teens with chronic conditions.

Now, the startup plans to take its business national through a virtual service that will also cost $150 a month

A spokeswoman for Parsley said that its doctors max out at seeing a few hundred patients per year. 

Funding raised: The company in October said it had raised a $26 million series B round, bringing its total funding to $36 million. 

Number of clinics: Three, based in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. As of January, its virtual service is currently available in 32 states. 

Read more: A doctor's office that charges $150 a month and doesn't take insurance just raised $26 million to take its model national

Galileo Health

Summary: Founded by One Medical founder Tom Lee, Galileo Health is a new company that charges an annual fee to provide some care online or through an app.

The cost is $59 for basic services like prescription refills and treatment for simple ailments. Paying $139 a year also gets you doctor consultations for more complex conditions, lab tests, and referrals to specialists, according to Galileo's website. Right now, it's available in the New York City area.

The startup plans to have an in-person healthcare component particularly focused on sicker patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The company is hiring primary-care doctors who have experience caring for patients in those programs, according to job listings.

Funding raised: Galileo is backed by venture firm Oak HC/FT, which led the company's series A round.

Number of clinics: Virtual for now. 

Read more: The founder of One Medical is building a new primary care startup to care for the sickest Americans

$160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater is projecting that a group of Asian countries will blow past Europe and the US to own a majority of global stocks in 15 years

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:49pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Ray Dalio's Bridgewater, which runs $160 billion in assets and is the biggest hedge fund in the world, said in a new report on market conditions that a group of Asian countries, led by China, are set to grow much faster than the US and Europe.
  • The report projects that the "Asia bloc" of seven countries, led by China, will own a majority of the global stock market by 2035.
  • The report also states that the group of countries will become "increasingly inwardly focused and independent" as tensions with the US increase. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The coming years could see a huge shift across the globe in who owns stocks. 

Currently, roughly three-fourths of the global stock market, by market capitalization, is held by countries outside of a bloc of Asian nations that includes China, according to Ray Dalio's Bridgewater. 

But in 15 years, that bloc will own the majority of the global equity market, according to a projection from the $160 billion hedge fund's annual report on the markets. 

The areas of growth Bridgewater is looking at include China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

"This emerging Asia bloc already produces a level of output that is comparable to the US and Europe, combined. And in the past three years, its contribution to global growth has been 2.5 times that of the US plus Europe. Trade between these countries is a bigger portion of their economies than trade between the countries of Europe," the report reads. 

Dalio's fund has been bullish on China for years. In 2018, the firm's co-chief investment officer, Bob Prince, told a conference in Toronto that the bloc of Asian nations will grow by the size of Europe's entire economy in just 10 years.

"As an investor you're buying and selling cash flows," Prince said in 2018. "That's a lot of cash flows."

The growth however will not be from increased exports to the United States, the new report states. 

"This bloc is increasingly inwardly focused and independent, reflected in its nominal GDP growth substantially outpacing exports over the past decade," the report reads. A battle for geopolitical power between China and the US has already led to sanctions, a trade war, and a ban on one of China's biggest companies, telecomms firm Huawei. 

Fellow billionaire hedge-fund founder Ken Griffin recently warned attendees at an Economic Club of New York lunch that the US "has a false sense of security" about maintaining its status as a technology powerhouse. 

This group of countries, which Bridgewater states are beneficiaries of China outsourcing labor, is a much more attractive option to invest in than the US or Europe, the report states. While the US is limited by its ability to use monetary or fiscal policy to a revive an economy that begins to falter, emerging Asian countries have a lot of room to grow, Bridgewater believes.

The report projects that China, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea will experience significant productivity increases over the next 10 years while the US, Spain, France, Italy, and other European nations are either not increasing productivity or becoming more unproductive. 

The report does not touch on possible effects from the coronavirus, which has forced factories and businesses to close down to limit the spread of the virus. But in an opinion posted to LinkedIn at the end of January, Dalio stated that the response from China on the virus has been better and more transparent than how the country handled the SARS outbreak when it emerged in 2003. 

Despite the response from the Chinese government, coronavirus has already caused more deaths than SARS, as more than 800 people have died as of early February. More than four times as many people have been infected with coronavirus than SARS.

A note from Bridgewater's chief security officer Richard Falkenrath, who previously worked on the SARS problem for the George W. Bush administration, stated that the market reaction to the Coronavirus has been "more severe" than what it was for SARS.

"At this point, the coronavirus has the potential to be the most significant medical disruption in decades, but the cone of outcomes remains wide," the note from Falkenrath reads. 

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Morgan Stanley thinks Amazon is poised to surge 15%, making it a top 'buy' pick for 2020 (AMZN)

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:39pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Morgan Stanley on Monday added Amazon to its "fresh money buys" list of favorite stocks to own.
  • The addition followed Amazon's solid fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report at the end of January.
  • Shares surged nearly 3% to an all-time high Monday. 
  • There's evidence that boosts to Amazon's growth and profitability are "manifesting sooner than anticipated," a group of analysts led by Michael Wilson wrote in a Monday note.
  • Watch Amazon trade live on Markets Insider.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Amazon stock is on its way up, according to Morgan Stanley.

The bank added Amazon to its "fresh money buys" list on Monday, saying the tech giant's fiscal fourth-quarter results and first-quarter 2020 guidance in late January were "very strong," not just "better than expected."

Shares surged nearly 3% Monday to an all-time high of $2,133.67 per share. The "fresh money buys" list includes several of Morgan Stanley's favorite stocks to own, such as Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft.

There's evidence that Amazon's investments will lead to better growth and profitability and that they are "manifesting sooner than anticipated," a group of analysts led by Michael Wilson wrote in a Monday note, citing earlier research done by Brian Nowak, who covers Amazon for Morgan Stanley.

Nowak has an "overweight" rating on Amazon and a $2,400 price target, which implies that Amazon will surge another 15% from where it traded at Friday's close. He boosted his price target following the company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings release on January 30, when a beat sent the stock soaring as much as 11% in after-hours trading.

A few days later, Amazon finally became the fourth US company to close with a market capitalization above $1 trillion. Amazon had flirted with the key market value a few times in intraday trading but always fell short by market close. It joined Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet in the elite $1 trillion club.

But Nowak expects the stock to keep climbing, fueled by investments in Amazon's one-day shipping that are "accelerating share gains even faster than expected," he wrote in a note on January 31.

Nowak also wrote that faster fulfillment-by-Amazon adoption was driving gross profits higher and that faster growth in the company's higher-margin revenue streams was "the fuel to help Amazon invest in growth."

The positive earnings results gave Amazon's stock some juice after 2019, when it lagged behind the broader market "as the market began to punish growth without profitability," Wilson said. In 2019, Amazon returned 23%, while the S&P 500 gained 31% and the Nasdaq 100 gained 40%.

Wilson continued: "With that concern now fading for Amazon specifically, we think the catch up may have just begun."

Amazon gained about 13% year-to-date through Friday's close.

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The market legend who predicted the past 2 bubbles says people are turning a blind eye to toxic chemicals — and warns they're underestimating the investment risk

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:19pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The health risks of some of the products chemical companies sell will become an investment issue for those companies themselves, Jeremy Grantham says.
  • Grantham gained fame in the investment community for predicting both the tech and housing bubbles.
  • He predicts today's toxic chemicals will be banned in the coming years, and those consequences will play out in chemical firms' stock prices.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Toxic chemicals are an unseen health risk to people — and they're about to become a financial risk to the chemical companies who make them, and the investors who trade them.

That's according to Jeremy Grantham, who gained fame in the investment world for spotting the two most recent bubbles in US markets: tech and housing.

Grantham, now chief investment strategist at Grantham, Mayo, and van Otterloo, penned a letter on endocrine-disrupting chemicals February 6. Those chemicals impede humans' hormonal processes, and can limit the number of children people are able to have, he said.

For the companies that make products that use such chemicals, that's about to become a major problem: As the risks of endocrine-disrupting chemicals gain more attention, Grantham predicts there will be a widespread ban on a wide range of chemicals, "which constitute a major fraction of earnings for some chemical companies." 

"It is clear to me that several chemical companies represent high levels of risk in this area, risks that are currently underestimated," Grantham said. 

The chemical sector has trailed the S&P 500 over the last three years, returning 19.04% versus the S&P 500's 44.85%, according to Fidelity. So far this year, that trend has continued: The sector has lost 2.67% versus the S&P 500's 3.0% gain. 

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 rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, who started Theranos when she was 19 and will now stand trial over 'massive fraud' in July 2020

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:07pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 to start blood-testing startup Theranos, and grew the company to a valuation of $9 billion.
  • But it all came crashing down when the shortcomings and inaccuracies of the company's technology were exposed, and Theranos and Holmes were charged with "massive fraud."
  • A California judge has set a August 2020 start date for the federal fraud trial for which, if convicted, Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In 2014, blood-testing startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, were on top of the world.

Back then, Theranos was a revolutionary idea thought up by a woman hailed as a genius who styled herself as a female Steve Jobs. Holmes was the world's youngest female self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one of Silicon Valley's unicorn startups, valued at an estimated $9 billion. 

But then it all came crashing down.

The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos's technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Holmes was ousted as CEO and charged with "massive fraud," and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers, ultimately shuttering operations altogether. 

Now, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. In the meantime, as she awaits trial, she's reportedly found the time to get engaged — and married — to a hotel heir named Billy Evans.

This is how Holmes went from precocious child, to ambitious Stanford dropout, to an embattled startup founder charged with fraud: 

SEE ALSO: Take a look inside the $5,000-a-month San Francisco apartment that Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes reportedly once called home with her now-husband, Billy Evans

Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.

Source: Elizabeth Holmes/TwitterCNN, Vanity Fair

Holmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.

Source: Fortune

When she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives described her as saying it with the "utmost seriousness and determination."

Source: CBS News, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes was losing, she would often storm off. More than once, she ran directly through a screen on the door.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

It was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates computer code, to Chinese schools.

Source: Fortune, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Inspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start Theranos.

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Holmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.

Source: Fortune

Holmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.

Source: Fortune

As a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early employees’ paychecks actually said "Real-Time Curses."

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes soon filed a patent application for "Medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.

Source: Fortune, US Patent Office

By the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Theranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect medical conditions like cancer and high cholesterol.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Holmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised more than $700 million, and Draper has continued to defend Holmes.

Source: SEC, Crunchbase

Holmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.

Source: Vanity Fair

That obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had misused Theranos trade secrets.

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Holmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite furniture, and like Jobs, never took vacations.

Source: Vanity Fair

Even Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos employees said the CEO sometimes "fell out of character," particularly after drinking, and would speak in a higher voice.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, The Cut

Holmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered to the office around 8 p.m. each night.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

More behind-the-scenes footage of what life was like at Theranos was revealed in leaked videos obtained by the team behind the HBO documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The more than 100 hours of footage showed Holmes walking around the office, scenes from company parties, speeches from Holmes and Balwani, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.

Source: Business Insider

Shortly after Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19, she began dating Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani, who was 20 years her senior. The two met during Holmes' third year in Stanford’s summer Mandarin program, the summer before she went to college. She was bullied by some of the other students, and Balwani had come to her aid.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Balwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out of the company.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

In 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

As Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton and Alibaba's Jack Ma.

Source: Vanity Fair

Theranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores. Theranos also formed a secret partnership with Safeway worth $350 million.

Source: Wired, Business Insider

In 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his Duke University fraternity brothers to join the company. People dubbed Holmes and his crew the "Frat Pack" and "Therabros."

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

At one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.

Source: Forbes

Holmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere — even to the bathroom.


Holmes hired bodyguards to drive her around in a black Audi sedan. Her nickname was "Eagle One." The windows in her office had bulletproof glass.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Around the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and that there were inaccuracies in the technology. Outside scientists began voicing their concerns about Theranos, too.

Source: Vanity Fair, Business Insider

By August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.

Source: Vanity Fair

By October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Carreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Holmes appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" shortly after the WSJ published its story to defend herself and Theranos. "This is what happens when you work to change things, and first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world," Holmes said.

Source: CNBC

By 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Wired

In July 2016, Holmes was banned from the lab-testing industry for two years. By October, Theranos had shut down its lab operations and wellness centers.

Source: Business Insider

In March 2018, Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani were charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC. Holmes agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company, pay a $500,000 fine, and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock. She also isn't allowed to be the director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.

Source: Business Insider

Despite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of where we are, this is no easy ask," Holmes wrote.

Source: Business Insider

In Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during meetings.

Source: Vanity Fair

In June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Source: Business InsiderCNBC

Theranos sent an email to shareholders in September 2018 announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Around the time Theranos' time was coming to an end, Holmes made her first public appearance alongside William "Billy" Evans, a 27-year-old heir to a hospitality property management company in California. The two reportedly first met in 2017, and were seen together in 2018 at Burning Man, the art festival in the Nevada desert.

Source: Daily Mail

Holmes is said to wear Evans' MIT "signet ring" on a chain around her neck, and the couple reportedly posts photos "professing their love for each other" on a private Instagram account. Evans' parents are reportedly "flabbergasted" at their son's decision to marry Holmes.

Tweet Embed:
For everyone asking about Holmes's social media. It's private. But here are a few screenshots of her and her fiancé we found online. (I personally find it crazy that she's being charged with 11 felony counts, thousands of people's lives were harmed, and she's as happy as can be.)

Source: Vanity Fair, New York Post

It's unclear where Holmes and Evans currently reside, but they were previously living in a $5,000-a-month apartment in San Francisco until April 2019. The apartment was located just a few blocks from one of the city's top tourist attractions, the famously crooked block of Lombard Street.

Source: Business Insider

It was later reported that Holmes and Evans got engaged in early 2019, then married in June in a secretive wedding ceremony. Former Theranos employees were reportedly not invited to the wedding, according to Vanity Fair.

Source: Vanity Fair, New York Post

Holmes, as well as Balwani, will see their day in court sometime this year. A California judge ruled that the federal trial for Holmes and Balwani is set to start in August 2020.

Source: Business Insider


If convicted, both Holmes and Balwani could face up to 20 years in prison and a more than $2.7 million fine, the US government has said.

Source: Department of Justice

Besides the criminal case, Holmes is also involved in a number of civil lawsuits, including one in Arizona brought on by former Theranos patients over inaccurate blood tests. The lawyers representing her in the Arizona case said in late 2019 they hadn't been paid over a year, and asked to be removed from Holmes' legal team.

Source: Business Insider

Maya Kosoff contributed to an earlier version of this story. 

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is preparing to lay off 15,000 workers as it tries to adapt to electric cars (DMLRY)

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:03pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Daimler AG is reportedly considering up to 15,000 layoffs, as reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt.
  • The German automaker, which owns brands like Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, and Smart, had previously announced it would eliminate at least 10,000 jobs by 2022.
  • A Daimler spokesperson said the company is "aiming to cut a low five-digit figure of jobs worldwide by the end of 2022" as it looks to reduce roughly $1.5 billion in personnel costs.
  • The industry is facing tough times, with automakers announcing 80,000 planned jobs cuts in 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Automaker Daimler AG is reportedly considering up to 15,000 layoffs in the coming years, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Daimler announced in December that it would slash its headcount by an amount in the "five digits" by 2022 in order to squeeze $1.5 billion of savings from its spending. If the report of the 15,000 layoffs proves correct, Daimler would be well on its way to carrying out the reorganization as it adapts to an industry-wide shift to electric vehicles. 

"Daimler and the General Works Council agreed on key points in order to streamline the group structure and thus increase efficiency and flexibility," a spokesperson told Business Insider, referring to the company's deal with its workers' labor union.

"Part of this involves reducing personnel costs by around 1.4 billion Euro by the end of 2022," they said, adding that "as mentioned in December 2019, Daimler is aiming to cut a low five-digit figure of jobs worldwide by the end of 2022."

The spokesperson declined to comment on the Handelsblatt report. Sources had told Handelsblatt that Daimler is considering a mix severance payments, early retirement and partial retirement for workers whose jobs it eliminates.

It's not clear if the 15,000 job cuts would represent the entirely of the company's planned "five figure" workforce reductions, or just a first installment. 

The auto industry has been facing tough times as demand withers and the push toward electric or alternative fuel vehicles charges ahead. Automakers have announced at least 80,000 job cuts planned over the next few years, and Daimler itself announced three separate profit warnings to investors in 2019.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Early Facebook investor Peter Thiel cashes in 80% of his remaining stock in the social media giant (FB)

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:02pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Early Facebook investor Peter Thiel offloaded $11.3 million worth of the social media giant's stock on February 6, according to regulatory filings.
  • The billionaire sold 53,602 shares, trimming his stake by 81%.
  • Thiel still holds 9,948 shares, worth about $2 million.
  • The investor also has a stake in Palantir Technologies, and indirectly invested in ventures including Space X and Spotify through his venture capital firm Founders Fund.
  • Watch Facebook trade live here.

Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook, dumped $11 million worth of the social media giant's stock on February 6, according to regulatory filings.

The billionaire sold 53,602 shares, trimming his holdings by about 81%. Thiel, a member of Facebook's board of directors, cashed in most of his stake in 2012 after the company's post-IPO lockup period expired.

Bloomberg first reported Thiel's latest sale.

The trade brought Thiel's total stake in Facebook to 9,948 shares, worth about $2 million as of 2:40 p.m. ET Monday. The early investor once held roughly 45 million shares, a sum that would be worth more than $9 billion today.

Thiel is also co-founder of data firm Palantir Technologies. The firm has come under fire recently for its work developing software for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The billionaire has taken indirect positions in ventures including Airbnb, Space X, and Spotify through Founders Fund, a venture capital firm he helped create in 2005.

Facebook traded at $212.32 as of 2:40 p.m. ET, up 3.8% year-to-date.

The company has 47 "buy" ratings, seven "hold" ratings, and three "sell" ratings from analysts, with a consensus price target of $246.44, according to Bloomberg data.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

MORGAN STANLEY: Here are 5 reasons why US stocks will shrug off coronavirus and jump 5% by June

Apple sees $27 billion of market value wiped out amid the delayed reopening of its main Chinese iPhone plants

Roger Deakins won his second Oscar using a first-of-its-kind camera on '1917.' Here's the inside story of the Arri ALEXA Mini LF.

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

TurboTax is the most popular tax software because it's easy to use and can handle the vast majority of tax situations

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 3:21pm  |  Clusterstock

While many people dread tax season, I find it to be an exciting time of year. I get a flurry of forms and documents telling me how much money I made over the course of a year, and I fill in the pieces of the puzzle that summarize an entire year's finances in one place.

But unlike my favorite 1,000-piece puzzle, the puzzle of my taxes comes together on my computer. And I don't do it alone. For the third year in a row, I'm using TurboTax for my taxes and suggest the same to many others.

TurboTax is the biggest and most popular tax preparation software, handling a solid 30% of electronic filings. Here's a look at how it works, what it costs, and if it could make sense for your tax needs.

TurboTax basics

TurboTax is made by Mountain View, California-based Intuit. Also the owner of financial apps Mint and QuickBooks, Intuit is a recognized name in financial software.

TurboTax offers online and desktop versions of its software, with different prices depending on your tax filing needs. More on the cost and features of each version below. You can also log in and work on your taxes with the TurboTax mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

Like other tax programs, TurboTax is driven by a series of questions and answers about your household, income, and opportunities for deductions and credits. In addition to answering these questions, you'll need to add information from your employer, other income sources, and 1099, 1098, W-2, and other tax forms that may show up in your mailbox or inbox.

If you follow the directions and enter everything correctly, you should end up with accurate taxes just as if you went to a more expensive professional tax preparer.

TurboTax pricing

TurboTax online offers four versions depending on your unique tax needs. With all versions, you can start and enter your information for free. You only pay at the end when filing your federal and state tax returns. You can also buy desktop versions for Windows and Mac computers via CD or download.

  • Free Edition: $0. The Free Edition charges $0 for the most basic filing needs. It covers W-2 income, limited 1099 interest and dividends, and doesn't allow itemizing your deductions.
  • Deluxe: $60 (currently on sale for $40). Intuit claims this is the most popular version of its software. It includes everything in the free edition plus the option to itemize your taxes and enter mortgage interest.
  • Premier: $90 (currently on sale for $70). Investors, including rental property owners, will want TurboTax Premier. This version even allows you to auto-import your investment data directly from many popular banks and brokerages.
  • Self-Employed: $120 (currently on sale for $90). If you own a business, including a side hustle, you'll want TurboTax Self-Employed. It covers credits and deductions related to businesses including rideshare drivers, freelancers, and other small businesses.

Extra costs and fees apply in these situations:

  • State filing. If you live in one of the majority of states that require you to do state income taxes as well, you'll have to pay an additional $45 per state (currently on sale for $40 per state). If you lived or worked in more than one state, you may have to pay for multiple state returns.
  • TurboTax Live. For a premium price, you can pay for instant, live access to a CPA around the clock during tax season. The additional charge varies based on the version of TurboTax you use.

Some households qualify for free filing: If you have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $36,000 or less, you're a military household with an AGI of $69,000 or less, or you're a household that qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you can free file with TurboTax.

What you get with TurboTax

TurboTax packages up the things most people need to file their taxes. While some people with very complex or unique situations may do better with the direct assistance of a tax professional, the majority of tax situations are easily covered by TurboTax.

  • Guidance for important tax forms. TurboTax tells you what you need to enter to do your taxes based on your unique circumstances. Get step-by-step guidance and directions for most tax forms.
  • Mobile version. Work on your taxes on the mobile or web versions, or switch back and forth. This isn't available for the desktop version.
  • Easy tax form import and upload. Import many tax forms directly from banks and investment companies. With the mobile app, you can take a photo and upload supported forms.
  • Detailed help resources. Help and support resources that answer most questions about your taxes with simple and easy-to-follow advice.
  • Option to upgrade for live support. Pay extra and you can talk to a tax professional at any time in just a few clicks.

Does TurboTax make sense for you?

For most tax situations, TurboTax does a great job of covering your needs. I'm a self-employed freelance writer with a mortgage, bank interest, investment accounts, and other complexities, but I feel confident doing my taxes myself with TurboTax.

Some people with simple taxes may find other options cheaper, and some people might just feel better paying someone to do their taxes for them. But if you are comfortable entering numbers from forms and navigating your way around the computer, TurboTax is the best choice for many tax filers. Myself included.

TurboTax can handle the vast majority of tax situations, no matter how complicated »

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NOW WATCH: Most maps of Louisiana aren't entirely right. Here's what the state really looks like.

Slack skyrockets 21% after making IBM its biggest account yet (WORK)

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 2:28pm  |  Clusterstock

Slack just landed a huge account, and it's sending its stock price soaring.

Shares of the instant-messaging platform gained as much as 21% on Monday morning when Business Insider's Paayal Zaveri exclusively reported that IBM would deploy the messaging tool to all 350,000 of its employees around the world.

If the intraday high holds, it would be the best trading session since Slack's first day as a public company on June 20. The company tested public markets through an unconventional direct-listing process.

The deal with IBM builds on the companies' relationship. At least some IBM employees have been using Slack since 2014, and the company began a partnership with the messaging platform in 2016, according to the report.

But in late 2019, IBM decided to go "all in" with Slack, making it the platform's largest customer to date.

Read more: Slack just scored its biggest customer deal ever, as IBM moves all 350,000 of its employees to the chat app

It's a huge account to win for Slack, especially as competition heats up in the instant-messaging space. The messaging platform's stock fell as much as 11% in November after Microsoft announced that its rival messaging service, Teams, had 20 million daily active users. At the time, that was 8 million more daily active users than Slack, which had reported in October that 12 million people were on the platform every day.

The addition of all IBM employees gives Slack an immediate boost to daily active users. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said that when the app was created, he never thought a company as large as IBM would want to use it. But as IBM employees used and liked the app, it helped Slack expand the product and appeal to other larger customers.

Slack had climbed just 2% year-to-date through Friday's close.

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 government has collected an extra $50 billion in tariffs since the start of the China trade war, according to new data

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 2:04pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The US government has continued to collect tens of billions of dollars in additional tariffs as the trade war with China has persisted, according to new data. 
  • From the start of the trade war in February 2018 through the end of 2019, the Treasury Department collected $50 billion in tariffs. 
  • The increases came despite a recent agreement to ease a tit-for-tat trade tensions with China.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

New data shows the US government has continued to collect tens of billions of dollars in additional tariffs, despite a recent agreement to ease a tit-for-tat trade tensions with China.

The Treasury Department collected $50 billion in tariffs from the start of the trade war in February 2018 through the end of 2019, the free-trade advocacy groups Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and The Trade Partnership said Monday. In December alone, tariff revenue rose by $6.3 billion.

The increases came even after the US and China reached a phase-one trade deal, which was announced in October and finalized in January. Tariffs were kept in place on both sides, though some at lower rates, because officials plan to continue negotiations toward a broader economic agreement. 

"Make no mistake — this trade war is as active as it was in December," said Brian Kuehl, the co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade. "The phase one deal didn't end this trade war. American farmers and businesses need real relief now."

While President Donald Trump asserts that China bears the burden of US tariffs, evidence shows they are paid almost entirely by American businesses and consumers.

In its latest budget statement, the Treasury Department said it collected roughly $6.4 billion in customs duties.  Tariff estimates could vary because they are recorded by multiple departments and subject to revisions. 

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and The Trade Partnership use Census-calculated duties data because they contain the necessary details for analyzing sector and state trends, the groups said.

SEE ALSO: Trump promised to eliminate the deficit within 8 years. It would take until 2035 under his new budget proposal.

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