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SWFI First Read, January 9, 2017

Former Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Passes at Age of 82

Former Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, born to a family of pistachio farmers and one of the founders of Iran’s Islamic republic, has passed away at the age of 82 on January 8, 2016. Before this passing, Rafsanjani was Chairman of the Expediency Council, a consultative body that is mandated to resolve issues between Iran’s parliament and the Guardian Council.

Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Appears to Be Getting Additional Funding Sources

Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is apparently getting a slew of additional funding sources to help it get off the ground. Proceeds from lottery games and betting, such as horse races and Turkey’s national lottery, will be funneled into the sovereign fund for 49 years, starting from January 1, 2018. The license for the lottery games include games such as Instant-Win, Numerical Lotto, Chance Ball, Ten Number and Super Lotto.

Northern Trust Names Craig Blackbourn as Head of Transition Management for EMEA

Craig Blackbourn was hired by Northern Trust to be head of transition management for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Blackbourn joins Northern Trust from Nomura International, where he was head of transition management, EMEA. During his career, Blackbourn has also worked at Lehman Brothers, BNP Paribas Securities Services, Aberdeen Asset Management and both the custody and asset management businesses of Deutsche Bank. He will report to Ben Jenkins, Global Head of Transition Management at Northern Trust.

Lone Star Appears to be Winning Bidder to Acquire Novo Banco

After extensive negotiations, Lone Star, a U.S. private equity firm, is the leading bidder and reached some agreement with Banco de Portugal, the country’s central bank to buy Novo Banco. Novo Banco is the new bank entity cut out of the fallen lender Banco Espirito Santo (BES). BES went bankrupt in 2014. Other suitors for the Novo Banco include New York-based Centerbridge Partners, China-based Minsheng Financial Holding and Apollo Global Management.

State of Wisconsin Investment Board Allocates More to Separate Account in Heitman

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CIC Sells 10% Logicor Stake to Blackstone Fund

The China Investment Corporation (CIC) is selling a 10% stake of in European warehouse firm Logicor Ltd to a real estate fund managed by The Blackstone Group. Furthermore, CIC also hired Blackstone to oversee and manage Logicor’s warehouses and logistic properties portfolio.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Fintech Affirm Raises $200 Million in Series E Led By Singapore’s GIC

Affirm Inc., a financial technology firm which provides instant loans to consumers as an alternative to credit cards for their online shopping, has raised US$ 200 million in a Series E round lead by Singapore’s GIC Private Limited, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Caffeinated Capital, and Ribbit Capital. The new infusion of capital brings the San Francisco-based company’s total funding to US$ 450 million and a reported valuation of US$ 2 billion.

The company is founded by Max Levchin, a co-founder of PayPal (part of the PayPal mafia, dubbed by the tech press). Max Levchin is also an advisory board member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFSB) in the United States.

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CHANGE: Saudi Arabia to Re-Open Movie Theaters, PIF Inks MoU with AMC

The Saudi Arabian government is ending its 35-year ban on cinemas. Next year, the government will allow cinemas to open. This watershed moment provides opportunities for entertainment companies to invest in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.

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