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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 January 2019

Oracle founder becomes second-largest shareholder in Tesla

In our latest billionaires roundup, buddies Larry Ellison and Elon Musk team up, while Tom Steyer doubles down on Trump impeachment efforts

Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, who also owns the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, joined the Tesla board in December 2018. Photo: EPA
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, who also owns the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, joined the Tesla board in December 2018. Photo: EPA

Larry Ellison

Oracle Corporation founder Larry Ellison acquired a $1 billion stake in Tesla, making him the car maker’s second biggest individual investor after his close friend Elon Musk.

The holding was confirmed in a regulatory filing Tuesday, less than two weeks after Mr Ellison joined Tesla’s board.

Mr Ellison, 74, indirectly owns 3 million Tesla shares through the Lawrence J Ellison Revocable Trust, according to the filing. The 1.75 per cent stake makes him the second-largest disclosed individual shareholder after Mr Musk, the chief executive who owns about a fifth of the company, according to Bloomberg.

Mr Musk courted controversy in 2018, prompting the Securities and Exchange Commission to order greater board oversight after he tweeted in August that he had financing and investor support for a buyout at $420 a share. The regulator said this and other claims by Mr Musk were false and misleading and affected Tesla’s stock. Both he and the company agreed to pay $20m penalties and added Mr Ellison as a board member.

Mr Ellison is the world’s ninth-richest person with a net worth of $51.4bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. During an Oracle meeting with analysts in October, he announced he had been building a personal stake in Tesla and that it was his second-largest holding. He also criticised how the news media had covered Mr Musk.

Tom Steyer, who founded the 'Need to Impeach' campaign, announced in Iowa that he would not be running for the US presidency. Photo: Reuters
Tom Steyer, who founded the 'Need to Impeach' campaign, announced in Iowa that he would not be running for the US presidency. Photo: Reuters

Tom Steyer

Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer said on Wednesday he will not run for the White House in 2020 and will instead focus on calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Mr Steyer, who has spent $50m on his Need to Impeach campaign and announced plans to spend $40m more this year, said at an event in Des Moines that "the impeachment question has reached an inflection point," given that Democrats have taken majority control of the House.

"I said last year that I'm willing to do whatever I can to protect our country from this reckless, lawless and dangerous president," Mr Steyer said. "Therefore, I will be dedicating 100 per cent of my time, effort and resources working for Mr Trump's impeachment and removal from office. I am not running for president at this time."

The decision not to run comes as a surprise because Mr Steyer had been travelling the country promoting the political platform he released after November's midterm elections. But Mr Steyer, who chose the premier presidential caucus state to make his announcement, likened his mission to seeking the presidency itself.

Raul Gorrin, president of Globovision, has been subjected to US sanctions as part of a crackdown on corruption tied to the Nicolas Maduro regime. Photo: via Wikipedia
Raul Gorrin, president of Globovision, has been subjected to US sanctions as part of a crackdown on corruption tied to the Nicolas Maduro regime. Photo: via Wikipedia

Raul Gorrin

The US imposed sanctions on Venezuelan TV magnate Raul Gorrin for allegedly being the ringleader of a graft network that stole $2.4bn from state coffers through corrupt currency deals.

The action by the US Treasury Department gives Mr Gorrin and his business partner Gustavo Perdomo one year to divest their shares and control of Globovision to lift sanctions against Venezuela's largest private broadcaster. Globovision is among 24 companies and entities whose US bank accounts will be frozen and barred from doing business in the US.

"Regime insiders have plundered billions of dollars from Venezuela while the Venezuelan people suffer," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "Our actions against this corrupt currency exchange network expose yet another deplorable practice that Venezuela regime insiders have used to benefit themselves at the expense of the Venezuelan people."

The actions against Mr Gorrin came only days before President Nicolas Maduro, himself already subject to US sanctions, was due to be sworn in for a second six-year term.

Prosecutors in Miami indicted Mr Gorrin last year on charges of paying millions in bribes to senior officials in Venezuela's treasury for contracts to buy dollars at the highly overvalued official exchange rate. He then would allegedly resell the hard currency on the black market, turning a huge profit overnight.

Treasury said Mr Gorrin ploughed the earnings into yachts, horses, private jets and a number of luxury properties in Miami and Manhattan. He also allegedly invested funds for other high-level officials, including Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno, and used the proceeds to buy gifts for the first lady, Cilia Flores.

American media magnate Sumner Redstone reached a $3.25m settlement agreement with his ex-girlfriend. Photo: Bloomberg
American media magnate Sumner Redstone reached a $3.25m settlement agreement with his ex-girlfriend. Photo: Bloomberg

Sumner Redstone

Ailing 95-year-old media mogul Sumner Redstone settled a series of lawsuits pitting him against his ex-girlfriend. Manuela Herzer will return $3.25m that Mr Redstone, who is the majority shareholder of CBS and Viacom, had given her and relinquish any claim she has over his estate or health, lawyer Robert Klieger said.

The settlement agreement says it ends seven lawsuits and countersuits between Mr Redstone and Ms Herzer that began in 2015 after their break-up and involve his estate, allegations of elder abuse and invasion of privacy.

Mr Redstone said in the lawsuits that he had given Ms Herzer tens of millions of dollars in their time together. He also briefly gave control of his health decisions to Ms Herzer before he kicked her out of his Beverly Hills mansion in 2015. Mr Redstone's children and grandchildren had been trying to ensure they controlled his affairs.

The legal fight had largely centred on whether Mr Redstone, who has been in mental and physical decline, was able to testify and make decisions for himself.

Redstone is the majority owner of CBS Corporation and Viacom Corporation along with his daughter Shari Redstone. He was executive chairman of both companies before stepping down in 2016 at age 92.

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Chris Rokos

British hedge fund manager Chris Rokos is seeking to raise as much as $900m from investors for new portfolio managers he plans to hire this year.

Rokos Capital Management is adding a small number of employees for credit trading and for bets on energy and oil markets, and has begun discussions with potential investors to raise between $750m and $900m for the expansion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. A spokesman for the London-based investment firm, which oversee about $8.2bn, declined to comment.

Mr Rokos, 48, is raising fresh money at a time when more macro managers are seeing performance improve, helped by rising volatility, trade disputes and a divergence in interest rates. Brevan Howard Asset Management, where Mr Rokos made his name before starting his own firm, returned 12.3 per cent last year for its best performance since 2009. Ray Dalio’s flagship hedge fund at Bridgewater Associates rose 14.6 per cent.

Mr Rokos - whose wealth is estimated at $1.3bn by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index - had a modest year by comparison. Hit by a loss of only under 5 per cent in December, his macro hedge fund erased most of the gains for the year to end up with a return of about 2 per cent, the person said. The Rokos Global Macro Master Fund lost 3.4 per cent in 2017.

Updated: January 12, 2019 11:45 AM

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