Black Business News

project-image-thumbOur US service provides real-time and forward-looking news on corporate events (M&A, debt instruments, IPOs and LBOs), cross-border trade, legislative and regulatory coverage and commodity-specific intelligence. BBN will focus on the United States’ 200 most dynamic African American companies and help promote both inbound and outbound cross-border investment and M&A by Black Businesses.

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CI VIEW: Leonardo Chairman De Gennaro opens door for BAE Systems merger

MILAN (BBN) — Leonardo SpA (BIT:LDO) Chairman Gianni de Gennaro said a merger with listed UK defense giant BAE Systems (LSE:BA) “could be an idea” at a recent company event in Milan.

[Leonardo (BIT:LDO) Chairman Gianni de Gennaro tells Capitol Intelligence Group using CI Glass that merger with BAE Systems (LSE:BA) “could be an idea” during Leonardo Innovation awards with Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo at the Museo Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan. November 20, 2017]

De Gennaro’s openness to pursuing a full merger with BAE Systems marks a strategic departure for the listed Italian defense and civil aviation group and indicates the smaller national defense champion is now seeking a merger with a major European defense contractor.

BAE Systems, under pressure to find a strong European defense partner with the looming exit of the United Kingdom out of the EU on March 2019, has historic and close cultural ties with Rome-based Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica). 

BAE Systems spokesman Rowan Pearman declined to  comment on any possible merger with Leonardo. Under the UK Takeover Panel code, a company cannot pursue a merger for at least six months following a denial of interest.

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CI VIEW: President Trump to resurrect Puerto Rico to former glory through CEO intervention, PREPA privatization UPDATE

SAN JUAN/WASHINGTON DC (BBN) — (Update on November 6, 2017 to add comments by Financial Oversight and Management for Puerto Rico Chairman Jose Carrion IIIDonald J. Trump’s harnessing of CEO intervention, the US military and exploiting the White House bully pulpit to resurrect of Puerto Rico to its former glory following the devastation by Hurricane Maria will undoubtedly be the high point of his presidential legacy.

[President Donald J. Trump arrival on Air Force One filmed by Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at Muniz National Air Guard Base in Puerto Rico. President Trump and First Lady Melania was met by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello and  wife. October 3, 2017]

To many in Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria is a blessing in disguise as the enclave was facing an even more devastating slow death under USD 70bn of unsustainable debt to Wall Street banks and asset managers.

President Trump effectively talked down Puerto Rico bond prices from about 60 cents on the dollar pre-Hurricane Maria to about 30-35 cents following a choreographed impromptu interview with Fox News anchor and Puerto Rican native, Geraldo Rivera during during his visit on October 3, 2017 .  The USD 9bn in bond debt owed by PREPA will be zeroed out as Hurricane Maria wiped out the utility.

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CI VIEW: President Trump’s USD 1 trln infrastructure fund triggers National bank vs bond agency debate UPDATE

WASHINGTON/BALTIMORE (BBN) –  (Update on October 26, 2017 to add comments from Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching) — President Donald Trump plan to spend up to USD 1 trillion upgrading US infrastructure has triggered the first serious bipartisan debate in Congress whether the United States should establish a National Infrastructure Bank and/or national bond authority.

[President Donald Trump speaks with Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at Economic Club of Washington DC event prior to entering race for Presidency and the opening of Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. December 15, 2014]

US House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) says he opposes the establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank while US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is pressing for an independent National Infrastructure Bank or financing authority.

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CI VIEW: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to pick Baltimore for Amazon HQ2 in game changing beauty contest

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON, DC (BBN) – Amazon.com INC, (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will almost certainly pick the City of Baltimore for its planned second headquarters notwithstanding its nationwide beauty contest.

[Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass ahead of US CEO Summit with Indian PM Narendra Modi ahead of Oval Office meeting President Donald Trump. The Willard Hotel in Washington DC. June 24, 2017]

According to Amazon’s pitch document, the new Amazon headquarters would create 93,000 direct and indirect jobs; a capital investment of USD 3.1bn; and an estimated 233,000 annual hotel nights by Amazon employees.

Even as US cities such as Detroit, Chicago/St. Louis, Cleveland scramble with their own AmazonHQ2 proposals, Baltimore’s strategic location combined with dynamic political leadership of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan all but guarantees Amazon will pick the Charm City for its new headquarters.

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CI VIEW: AT&T CEO Stephenson takes on Alphabet’s Schmidt as Time Warner bid heralds new US antitrust regime UPDATE

WASHINGTON/BALTIMORE (BBN) – (Updating on September 23, 2017 to add interview of Sean “Diddy” Combs by US House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) —  AT&T (NYSE: T) USD 85.4 bin dollar bid for Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) is seen marking the end of Alphabet (NYSE: Goog) and Facebook (NYSE:FB) dominant position in the US media market and heralding new antitrust action by the administration of President Donald Trump.

[21st Century Fox  and News Corp  Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch speaks to Capitol Intelligence/Black Business News (BBN) using CI Glass on AT&T bid for Time Warner at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit in Washington, DC. November 15, 2016]

The administration of Donald Trump is looking at taking long overdue antitrust action both by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the administration of Barack Obama gave a “free ride to Google, Facebook and Silicon Valley,” a Washington DC antitrust attorney close to the Trump transition team said.

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CI VIEW: Magic Johnson co-opts France’s Sodexo and Starbucks to bridge the opportunity gap UPDATE

WASHINGTON (BBN) — (Updated September 15, 2017 to include interview with Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz)  — Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s ability to co-opt some of the world’s largest companies such as Paris-based catering and outsourcing giant Sodexo (EPA:SW) and Seattle-based Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is more impressive than his exploits on the basketball court.

[Magic Johnson Enterprises founder and CEO Earvin “Magic” Johnson filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at Back to School Block Party at all-male DC Public Ron Brown High College Preparatory High School in Northeast DC]

Johnson, who owns a 51% stake in SodexoMagic, — an educational catering business with Sodexo – returned to Washington DC where the company holds a city contract to give an inspiring speech to DC Public Schools first all-male high school, the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast DC.

But Johnson’s strategy of targeting African-American communities such as nearby Prince George’s County and Harlem in New York with amenities such as shopping malls, Starbucks and move theaters has transformed his Los Angeles-based Magic Johnson Enterprises into a multi-billion private equity fund with an even more impressive 40% internal rate of return (IRR).

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CI VIEW: UVA President Sullivan and VA Gov McAuliffe failing to the top in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE (BNN) — On Labor Day, the University of Virginia college town of only 40,000 residents was still reeling from the white nationalist/neo-Nazi riots that brought the tragic deaths of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and Virginia State Troopers Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. Bates during Unite the Right rally over the removal of General Robert E. Lee‘s statue in Emancipation Park.

[Pro-Confederate Labor Day protest filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass over the removal of Robert E. Lee statue at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. September 4, 2017]

But the shock is quickly turning into anger against University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for failing in their moral obligation to properly ensure the safety and security of UVA students and the citizens of Charlottesville.   

African-American Charlottesville residents such as Garcia Johnson and Cavalier Barbers owner Eric Massie were dumbfounded to learn that University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan could have stopped the alt-right Tiki torchlight protest Friday, August 11 by exercising a Virginia law that makes it a Class 6 felony for anyone who burns an object with the objective to “place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of death or bodily injury.” 18.2-423.01 of the Virginia Code.

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CI VIEW: SmartCEO – Fear, Loathing, Failure and Charlottesville UPDATE

BALTIMORE/CHARLOTTESVILLE (BBN) — (Updated on September 7, 2017 to add interview National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Charlottesville video footage and interviews) The rise and fall of Baltimore-based SmartCEO – the 15-year-old event and business magazine – is a glaring example of the contrast between the downward mobility of white flight suburbs and the resurgence of urban economies in the United States.

[National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on opportunity gap following speech to National Press Club of Washington, DC. August 29, 2017]

The contrast of the fortunes of urban economies to those of the suburbs can be seen in the rise and fall of SmartCEO and its founder, former suburban Bel Air, Maryland resident Craig Burris.  In less than a year, the 50-plus year-old Burris saw his fortunes rise to circa USD 40m before crashing down to personal and corporate bankruptcy and facing the real risk of imprisonment for fraud, embezzlement and larceny

However, the rising fortunes of our urban centers has breed a level of hostility, fear and prejudice in the once affluent suburbs not seen since the Boston school busing desegregation protests of the 1970s.

The most shocking images from Charlottesville was not the violence between neo-Nazis and the radical left, but the previous night’s torchlight procession of well-dressed suburban millennial males — filmed and reported by Elle Reeve of Vice News — chanting: “You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Blood and soil. Whose streets? Our streets! White lives matter.”

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CI VIEW: EXIM Bank catalyst for US job growth and reform with Mnuchin/Waters duo UPDATE

WASHINGTON/WHEELING, WV (BBN) (Update on May 18, 2017 to add comments by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) –The end of the long stalemate in Congress over the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has unintentionally served as a catalyst to convince the CEOs of Fortune 100 giants such as General Electric Corp. (NYSE:GE), The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), Honeywell International, INC (NYSE:HON), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) of the strategic need to lend their considerable resources to US small-and-medium and minority-and-veteran owned businesses to expand and compete in foreign markets.

[US House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on President Trump naming former NJ Congressman Scott Garrett as EXIM Bank at Tax March at US Capitol, April 15, 2017]

The issue of large corporates helping US small and medium-sized businesses came after EXIM Bank opponents succeeded in blocking the nomination of new EXIM board members and thus limiting the export credit agency to making export guarantees of USD 10m or less.

President Donald Trump unblocked the impasse by nominating former New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett as EXIM President and Chairman and former US House Financial Services Chairman and old-school Republican leader Spencer Bachus from Alabama as an EXIM board member. 

Meanwhile a highly unusual but effective alliance has been quietly forged between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) to guarantee that EXIM Bank primary focus will be to serve US small-to-medium size exporters, with special attention to minority-and-veteran led businesses. 

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CI VIEW: Maryland’s Rushern Baker quietly brings massive Chinese and foreign investment to Prince George’s County

National Harbor, Maryland (BBN) – (Updated on August 28, 2017 to add interview with County Executive Rushern L. Baker III at ground breaking Purple Line light railway) As President Donald Trump beats the drum for Made in America, Rushern Baker III, the elected leader of a predominantly African-American county neighboring Washington, DC is the truly unsung hero for bringing Chinese and foreign direct investment and high paying new jobs to the USA.

[Prince George’s Country Executive Rushern Baker III speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference on September 26, 2014]

While only the elected official of a province within the State of Maryland, Prince George’s County Executive Baker is feted as much as a governor of a large American  state on his numerous trade mission to mainland China.

The former military (JAG) lawyer was even seated next to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his State visit to the United States in September, 2015 with President Barack Obama.

In fact, Baker is preparing to lead a trade delegation of Prince George’s County companies to South Korea in the month of October 2017 after launching the historic Purple Line public-private partnership (P3) and success in building the USD 1.4 bn MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) casino and convention center at National Harbor in Prince George’s County’s.

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CI VIEW: Hershey return to Cuba can sweeten US-Cuba relations under Trump

CENTRAL HERSHEY, Cuba [Camilo Cienfuegoes] (BBN) – The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) and its affiliated multi-billion non-profit Hershey Trust eventual return to Cuba can truly reset US-Cuban relations and let President Donald Trump end decades of hostilities following President John F. Kennedy Cuban embargo in 1962.

[Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on Hershey return to Cuba after historic speech at US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. Feb. 16, 2016]

Hershey founder Milton S. Hershey created an almost mirror image of what he started in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1916 by creating a new town just 30 miles east of Havana named Central Hershey.  Central Hershey had the largest sugar producing factory in the world, a Hershey Hotel and a Hershey School for disadvantaged Cuban children.

The unique progressive capitalism of Milton Hershey, who as an orphan and childless himself, ordered that all profits from Hershey Company go to fund the Milton Hershey School for orphans and disadvantaged children.

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