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HNA Group Has Ambitions for an Asset Management Empire

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HNA Group is an expanding Chinese conglomerate that has been on an overseas spending spree, armed with roughly US$ 145 billion in assets. HNA Capital, the financial services business of HNA Group, is keen on building a global asset management business.

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New York-based HNA Capital U.S., a subsidiary of HNA Capital, has agreed to buy a 24.95% stake in U.S.-based OM Asset Management, a unit of U.K.-based Old Mutual plc. OM Asset Management, as of December 31, 2016, had £395 billion of funds under management. HNA Capital is paying US$ 446 million for the stake in the asset management unit. Per deal terms, Old Mutual’s stake in OM Asset Management is being reduced from 51% down to 26%. In addition, HNA Capital will be given two board seats on OM Asset Management. HNA Group beat out two other rivals in the deal which include private equity firm TPG Capital and Advent International.

Deal Details

This transaction is taking part in two price tranches. Old Mutual is selling shares in OM Asset Management first at US$ 15.30 per share (9.95% ownership stake), and then for US$ 15.75 per share (15% ownership stake) – each slight premiums to a set price date. PJT Partners was the financial advisor for HNA Group on the deal, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Evercore had advised Old Mutual. Skadden Arps and Linklaters served as legal advisors to Old Mutual in connection with the transaction. In December 2016, Old Mutual, in the open market, sold down its ownership from 66% to 51%.

Ambitions

This is HNA Group’s second overseas foray into asset management companies, bypassing the Fortress deal in which Japan-based SoftBank Group had bought out. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

AIMco Extends Loan Increase to Razor Energy

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Calgary-based Razor Energy Corporation, a listed junior oil and gas company, locked in an increase of C$ 15 million regarding its non-revolving term loan facility from the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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SWFI First Read, January 18, 2018

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Celgene Eyes Juno Therapeutics

Celegene Corporation is in discussions to buy Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics. Juno Therapeutics has backers which include the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC). Celgene has roughly US$ 12 billion in cash and already has a relationship with Juno Therapeutics.

Auckland International Airport Sells Down Airport Holdings in NQA and Cairns

Perron Investments and The Infrastructure Fund, current investors in North Queensland Airports, which includes Cairns Airport, agreed to acquire Auckland International Airport’s 24.6% stake in the holding entity for A$ 370 million. Perron Investments is the privately-owned investment entity of Australian billionaire Stan Perron.

Pemex and Mitsui in Final Talks on Tula Project

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Apple’s Ginormous Corporate Cash Pile Plans to Come Home

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The positive economic effects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax reform have already altered the financial behaviors of major U.S. companies such as Wal-Mart Stores, Apple Inc. and AT&T.

In response to the tax law reform, many American businesses, large-to-small in annual revenues, have issued bonuses, granted awards and signaled plans to increase capital expenditures in the United States. For example, Apple announced plans to give its employees US$ 2,500 each in stock awards. A key section of the new U.S. tax reform law includes a provision for firms to take advantage of a one-time payment of 15.5% on repatriated funds down from the 35% rate.

Initial Plans

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reaching new highs and the tax reform deal signed into law, Apple revealed they would invest US$ 350 billion into the United States economy over a period of five years, as they repatriate massive piles of money from overseas. The iPhone maker estimates they will payout roughly US$ 38 billion in tax payments from the overseas repatriation – thus shifting back some US$ 245 billion out of the US$ 252.3 billion it has held offshore. Apple also plans to spend an estimated US$ 30 billion in capital expenditures over the next five years, with roughly US$ 10 billion in U.S. data centers, according to the company. Apple has plans for 20,000 more jobs to create. The company that was once led by Steve Jobs had faced substantial criticism in the press over outsourcing its manufacturing to China to avoid paying U.S. taxes and lower manufacturing costs. Many of those facilities in China had labor issues such as environmental concerns, slave-like wages and extremely long work hours.

“We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement on January 17, 2017. He added, “We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible.”

Liquid Financials and Fixed Income Changes

The sales growth of the iPhone has been a major factor in the growth in Apple’s cash pile. In 2006, Apple moved to act, forming a subsidiary in Nevada to manage investments, initially starting with around US$ 13 billion to manage. Nevada has no corporate income tax and no capital gains tax. Apple manages its investments through an outfit in Reno, Nevada called Braeburn Capital Inc. (Braeburn is a type of Apple), a subsidiary of Apple. Apple also employs some 40 to 50 external fund managers to handle the massive portfolio, according to sources. Braeburn has tried to reduce money management costs by using more separate accounts, while reducing dependence on money market funds.

As of September 30, 2017, Apple has a large investment portfolio worth an excess of US$ 300 billion, with US$ 194.714 billion in long-term marketable securities. Some US$ 128.645 billion are in current assets, with US$ 20.289 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

Focusing on the investment portfolio, some US$ 152.724 billion is held in corporate securities, with US$ 55.245 billion in U.S. Treasuries. Most of the portfolio is held in fixed income investments, including mortgage-backed securities – generally mandating investments be investment-grade and the avoidance of losing principal. Since 2012, Apple has been hoarding more corporate debt, rivaling some bond funds. Only about US$ 799 million are held in mutual funds (non-money market). Apple is also a major buyer of commercial paper across the globe. For example, the company participated in a US$ 500 million issue of 3-year floating notes from Hyundai Capital Services. The tech giant even uses derivatives to hedge against currency and interest rate movements.

The Old Scheme Ends

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