Sir Richard Branson Is Stepping Down; Goldman Sachs Wants To Advise Peasants Too

The Water Coolest

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THE HEADLINES

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I’M RICH(ARD), BIATCH!

Sir Richard Branson is stepping down from his position as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, amid reports that the high-speed technology company needs a more actively involved leader. Riiiight, because that’s the issue.

Uncoincidentally, this comes just after Saudi Arabia terminated its deal with Virgin Hyperloop One after Sir Richard halted investment talks with Riyadh over the disappearance (and death) of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And earlier this month, Branson said that Virgin Group would suspend discussions on a planned $1B investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, also citing Khashoggi’s death.

Rounding out Richard’s recent Saudi pullouts, the eclectic billionaire with flowing locks halted his directorship of two Saudi tourism projects around the Red Sea. While it’s unclear on who will fill those roles, it appears that he will be replaced by another Virgin (Group) executive for the Hyperloop One position.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Can’t imagine that Richard would not be ‘actively involved’ in a project. I mean this is the guy that jumped off a casino to pitch a new route for his airline.”

Richard Branson

Getty Image / Alison Buck


 

ADVISOR TO THE PEOPLE

“Give us your tired, your “not super wealthy,” and your huddled masses who are yearning to invest but have a net worth less than $10M …” – Goldman Sachs new Wealth Management mission statement

In 2016, Goldman launched an online personal loan program called Marcus (after Marcus Goldman) offering fixed-rate, no fee loans to help people consolidate high-interest credit card debt. After a few years of growing the portfolio, Lloyd’s old stomping ground announced that it will also offer wealth management services … to the general public.

Before DJ D-Sol took over as CEO of Goldman, he alluded to a digital finance platform that the company was working on. Although no product has officially been announced, one can only speculate that Goldman will be releasing a low-minimum robo-adviser and possibly launching mutual funds or ETFs.

As part of the growth strategy, Marcus will be baked into the investment management division, renamed “consumer and investment management,” and be run by Tim O’Neill and Eric Lane who currently run Goldman’s Investment Management business.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Now you too can be charged exorbitant fees and hidden charges just like the ultra-wealthy!”

 

JUNK IN THE TRUNK

Netflix is planning a $2B debt sale coming in the form of unsecured senior notes denominated in both dollars and euros. The proceeds from the sale of the junk bonds will be used by the company to acquire and fund new content, according to Netflix. Thankfully, not OITNB.

The move brings Netflix’s debt load up over the $10B mark for the first time ever. The streaming service has, however, seen a spike in market cap as it continues to grow its subscriber base internationally. Overall, Netflix is looking at over $18B in both short and long-term liabilities.

While Netflix is no stranger to selling junk bonds, (the company most recently offered $1.9B back in April) the most recent fundraising round came with a warning that the cost of developing new content will eat into the company’s profits at the end of the year. Netflix shares dropped 1.26% on news of the bond offering but shares are still up 73% on the year.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Sure their debt load is the highest its ever been and the company burns through money like couches after a West Virginia football game, but something tells me that Netflix is going to be justtttt fineee.”

 


IN OTHER NEWS

 

  • Oculus VR’s co-founder plans to leave Facebook, the company he sold his virtual reality startup to for $2B in 2014. The move comes not long after Instagram’s and WhatsApp’s co-founders parted ways with Zuck over differences of opinion. Of course, Oculus VR is no Instagram … Oculus’ Rift sold just 400k sets of nerd goggles, compared to Sony’s 1.6M headsets.

 

  • One of Uber’s top dealmakers, Cameron Poetzscher, has resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Poetzscher played a key role in negotiating a $9.3B deal with SoftBank. The news comes as Uber preps for its IPO.

 

  • Another day, another plan put in motion by Dara and Co. to take over the world … or at least become profitable: Uber wants to be the first in fast food flight. The company is eyeing 2021 for the launch of its food-delivery drone service.

 

  • During what was undoubtedly a bad, bad day to be an investor in stick-icky shares (pot stocks got pummelled), spirits were high at vaping startup, Pax. The marijuana-focused spin-off of JUUL raised $20M at an unknown valuation.

 

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