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Archive for April, 2010

Here is an interesting observation from SF gate.

“Fewer homeowners in the Bay Area and California headed down the path toward official foreclosure in the first three months of 2010 compared with the prior quarter and with a year ago, according to data released Tuesday.

The research findings correspond with efforts by the federal government and some mortgage lenders to help distressed borrowers with loan modifications and by facilitating short sales, the process in which banks allow homes to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

In another trend, while mortgage trouble remains more prevalent in lower- and moderate-price areas, it appears to be increasing in some affluent Bay Area ZIP codes.

The number of notices of default, which is the first step in the foreclosure process, declined in both the state and the Bay Area during the most recent quarter ending in March, according to MDA DataQuick, a San Diego research firm.

The 81,054 notices of default in California were 3,514 fewer than last quarter. Bay Area default notices declined by 77 to 13,517 compared with the same period last year. The Bay Area notices were 30.5 percent lower than the first quarter of 2009, when they were at a record level across the state, according to DataQuick.

“We are seeing signs that the worst may be over in the hard-hit entry-level markets, while problems are slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “We’re also seeing some lenders become more accommodating to workouts or short sales, while others appear to be getting stricter about delinquencies.”

Trustee deeds, the final step of bank repossession, were also down. The state saw 8,203 fewer trustee deeds in the first quarter of 2010, a 16 percent decline. The 6,417 deeds in the Bay Area were down about 1,000 from the previous quarter.

The Obama administration is pushing lenders to reduce homeowners’ monthly payments through the $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program.

The White House recently announced major changes to the program as foreclosures continued and critics called the program ineffective. In the coming months, it will expand to include unemployed workers and payments to lenders to reduce the principal owed on mortgages.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is an optimistic article from earth2tech.

“Is 2010 the year of the greentech IPO? Well, a whopping 19 green companies have announced IPOs since September, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and none of those have sold shares yet. And that’s just the companies that have announced that they’ll IPO — not including companies that are widely thought to file and go public this year (like Silver Spring Networks.) In total, greentech companies plan to raise $9.6 billion worldwide in 2010, “more than triple the total value of IPOs for the industry in 2009,” reports Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Green IPOs were already up slightly last year over 2008, according to the Cleantech Group. That was thanks to lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems’ (a AONE) $371 million IPO in late September (the largest IPO in the U.S. last year) and the massive $2.23 billion IPO of China Longyuan Electric Power Group in the fourth quarter of 2009. But up until A123Systems’ public debut, green IPOs (and most IPOs) were relatively stalled last year.

However, the post-A123Systems boost seems like it already occurred in the fourth quarter of 2009, when there were already 18 green IPOs, totaling $2.9 billion. And the first quarter of 2010 saw a drop in green IPOs to 13, totaling $1.5 billion — China accounted for the majority of transactions, with eight offerings. As the Cleantech Group put it:

[T]he number of high profile companies registering to go public in the U.S. in late 2009 and early 2010 failed to translate into the volume of IPOs that many predicted, with only three North American cleantech IPOs in 1Q 2010.

But the green IPO bonanza that Bloomberg is expecting will specifically be targeted at renewables. The report says 12 of the 19 companies that have announced they will IPO are wind and solar firms. In particular Italian utility Enel SpA plans to sell a minority stake of its renewable energy unit Enel Green Power for $5.4 billion by the end of 2010, Chinese wind turbine maker Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. plans to raise $1.5 billion in Hong Kong, British solar energy producer Engyco is looking for $1.4 billion, and Spanish Renovalia Energy SA could be looking for $300 million.”

Read the full article here.

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Friends

An old friend of mine sent me this. This is one of the most meaningful emails I have ever gotten. You can save it by copying and pasting the link to a folder.

I have sent to vets and friends of mine who I had contact with during that era and I wanted to share with all. I would encourage interested parties to send this to your vet friends.

First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear. Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals.

This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it.

I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.

The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war
with the names, bio’s and other information on our lost heroes. Those who remember that timeframe, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.

http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm

“To the memories of those who once were and To the knowledge they will be in our hearts and minds forever”.

God Bless our Troops – Steven R. Gerbsman

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Seams like boyout funds are gearing up for a bullmarket.

“EQT Partners AB, the private equity firm partly owned by Sweden’s Wallenberg family, has told investors it may raise a new 4.3 billion-euro ($5.8 billion) fund for buyouts, two people with knowledge of the plan said.

The firm, based in Stockholm, could start raising money as early as the end of the year, said the people, who declined to be named because the decision hasn’t been formally made. The fund would be about the same size as the firm’s last one.

EQT, which closed its current fund, EQT V, in December 2006, would join London-based buyout firm BC Partners Ltd. in Europe in coming back to investors for a new pool as deal making is reviving after the financial crisis nearly halted it for two years. Unlike other firms, EQT has continued to spend investors’ cash during the recession, signing 11 deals since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in September 2008.

Johan Hahnel, a spokesman for EQT Partners, declined to comment today.

The Swedish firm in December agreed to buy 82 percent of German academic publisher Springer Science+Business Media GmbH. In November, EQT completed the acquisition of Polish lancet maker HTL-Strefa SA after buying two cable operators in Bulgaria, Cabletel and Eurocom, for 120 million euros in October.

Buyout funds seeking more than $1 billion now spend an average of 19 months courting investors, according to London- based research firm Preqin Ltd. Last year it took 16 months, compared with eight months in 2007 and five months in 2004 as investors are curbing new pledges, Preqin said.”

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Here is some interesting ideas from SF Chronicle.

“Founded in February 2004, Facebook, Inc., the company behind the social networking website of the same name, is a privately held company in Palo Alto, California. While you may think that only qualified investors who have a net worth of at least $1 million have an opportunity to buy private company shares, investing in companies and funds that are closely aligned with and/or associates of Facebook, is actually a viable option.

The Nielsen Company
As said by John Burbank, CEO of The Nielsen Company (online division), a successful research marketing business that offers trade information to global marketers, “Facebook is an increasingly vital link between consumers and brands.”

Thus, it was only natural for the two companies to form a strategic alliance in order to determine important statistics to meet business goals, such as increasing Facebook’s advertising profits.

While Nielsen is privately held, contact their Investor Relations team, easily accessible on their site, for information on their 2009 investment results and additional information.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)
Not only does Microsoft have a 1.6% stake in Facebook ($240 million), they have also extended their relationship globally and are Facebook’s current ad-serving partner, having the right to sell advertising directly on Facebook, while providing full access to Bing search characteristics.

Bing’s search engine provides a substitute for Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) after Microsoft beat out Google to claim a stake in Facebook. According to Bing General Manager Jon Tinter, “Bing will continue to exclusively power the web search results on Facebook.” This partnership continues to aid in Facebook’s traffic growth.

Additionally, since the majority of Microsoft’s business is the development and sale of unrelated software products, if Facebook’s market value results in a drastic change, it would have only a modest impact on Microsoft’s share price. Investing in Microsoft shares might be a safe option to play.

Retail Companies
Retail companies have successfully marketed and advertised through Facebook. According to a 2008 Rosetta study, 59% of 100 popular retailers developed Facebook pages to advertise their brands. Facebook pages bring customers that may not have been aware of the companies without it. Additionally, it is easy to update, appears in search engines, and accepts live feeds from blog pages.

Well-reputed retail companies that use Facebook to advertise and also have public stock options include Saks Fifth Avenue (NYSE: SKS), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), J.Crew (NYSE: JCG), Gymboree (Nasdaq: GYMB), Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) and many others. (What people buy and where they shop can provide valuable information about the economy. Lear more in Using Consumer Spending As A Market Indicator.)

SharesPost
SharesPost is a private equity market; it shows available company stock and completed deals, gives estimates on the worth of private companies, spots which companies are backed by venture capital, and promotes trading.

Chief Executive Greg Brogger says SharesPost “…facilitat[es] the sale of equities in companies that have not been able to unlock their stock value because the initial public offering (IPO) market has virtually shut down.” SharesPost boasts private shares and currently values Facebook at almost $12 billion.

Invest in Facebook’s Competitors
Although Facebook is reportedly the number one social media service, competition still exists presently and possibly in the future. Similar companies, such as Myspace.com, are publicly owned.

Buying a share in a competitor follows the logic that an increase in the social media market could quite potentially raise the market for all competitors in the industry. When investing in social media, pick those with a known record of increasing sales and profit.

Look Out for a Facebook IPO
There is the possibility that Facebook might have a future IPO, which would make it one of the biggest in recent memory. The current value of Facebook has been estimated at $11.5 billion, but if it goes public, the company is projected to be worth more than twice that. As Zuckerberg told The Wall Street Journal: “We’re going to go public eventually, because that’s the contract that we have with our investors and our employees.”

Some say Facebook’s postponement of an IPO helps to evade the associated hassles, including investor analysts, shareholders and stakeholders, and the media. But Facebook does not need the money. According to Zuckerberg, “if you don’t need that capital, then all the pressures are different, and the motivations [to go public] are not there in the same way.””
Read more here.

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