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Supreme Court Ruling on Online Shoppers Sales Tax Could Impact SWF Investing

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In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. states could mandate online shoppers to pay sales tax when they make online purchases. This new ruling overturns a ruling from 1992.

Sovereign wealth funds directly invested at least US$ 9 billion in internet-related retail businesses from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018, according to SWFI transaction data. This is not counting fund commitments or funds invested. Sovereign funds have been plowing capital into online mega giants such as Amazon and Expedia, while spending big on e-commerce startups in the United States.

“Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States. These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause,” Justice Anthony Kennedy penned in an opinion joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Neil Gorsuch.

“Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades,” the National Retail Federation said in a statement.

Already a number of U.S. states enacted laws mandating online marketplaces to collect sales taxes on behalf of third-party sellers.

The case is South Dakota v. Wayfair, 17-494.

Canadian Pension Giants Could Support Trans Mountain Pipeline Deal

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The British Columbian (B.C.) government and indigenous groups publicly oppose the Trans Mountain Pipeline project over a number of issues, which include environmental concerns (potential pipeline spills) and land protections. The threat of project derailment sent jitters to Houston-based Kinder Morgan, Inc., requiring the company to halt non-essential spending on Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. Calgary-based Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, which owns the pipeline, is a listed company that is 70% owned by Kinder Morgan and 30% owned by stock market investors (float). Kinder Morgan Canada hired TD Securities to explore options regarding the future of the pipeline.

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Goldman Sachs Poised to Name David Solomon as New CEO

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Goldman Sachs is poised to name David M. Solomon, the firm’s president, as its new CEO, replacing Lloyd C. Blankfein. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Blackstone and Goldman Invest in Francisco Partners

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Larger alternative investment houses and banks are taking ownership stakes in specialist private equity firms. On July 13, 2018, Blackstone Group’s Strategic Capital Group and Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Petershill program acquired a minority stake in San Francisco-based Francisco Partners. Francisco Partners is a private equity firm focused on tech-related companies, competing against Thoma Bravo, BC Partners, Vista Equity Partners, Bain Capital and other specialists.

Dipanjan (DJ) Deb is the Co-Founder and CEO of Francisco Partners. Before forming the company in 1999, he was a Principal at Texas Pacific Group (TPG).

Advisors

Francisco Partners was advised by Evercore and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Simpson Thacher served as legal counsel to Blackstone and Fried Frank served as legal counsel to Goldman Sachs.

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