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FB Roundup: Vanessa Gold, Gina Rinehart, Stanley Druckenmiller

FB Roundup: Vanessa Gold, Gina Rinehart, Stanley Druckenmiller
In this week’s FB Roundup, Vanessa Gold is set to sell a 10% stake in West Ham United football club, Gina Rinehart increases her lithium mining share ownership; and Stanley Druckenmiller expresses concern about the US economy.
By Glen Ferris
Vanessa Gold

Vanessa Gold to sell 10% stake in West Ham United football club
British businesswoman Vanessa Gold is set to sell a 10% portion of the 25.1% ownership shares in West Ham United football club she inherited from her late father David Gold, the former owner and chairman of Gold Group International.

The sale, which comes after Vanessa Gold was appointed to West Ham’s board, as joint chair with David Sullivan in August 2023, following her father’s passing at the age of 86 in January 2023, is expected to value the Premier League team at more than £650 million, according to Sky News.

Vanessa Gold is reported to be working with the private bank Rothschild & Co on the sale, which is expected to attract significant investment interest following regular sell-out games at West Ham’s 62,500-capacity London Stadium in the wake of their triumph last season in the Europa Conference League. Of the club’s other major shareholders, Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is expected to retain the 27% stake he bought in 2021, while David Sullivan owns just under 39% and the financier Tripp Smith holds 8%.

“I would consider selling a proportion of our shares to the right partner,” said Vanessa Gold in an interview with Sky News. “I have spoken to each of the other three major shareholders at West Ham United: David Sullivan, Daniel Kretinsky and Tripp Smith, who have been very supportive.

“Any transaction to purchase some of our shares will be with my father's legacy at the forefront of my mind which, of course, prioritises his beloved West Ham United.

“I will keep the other shareholders, the club and our supporters updated on any significant developments.”

Gina Rinehart

Gina Rinehart increases lithium mining share ownership
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart looks set to spoil a second major lithium takeover in a matter of weeks after increasing her share ownership in Azure Minerals.

Just a few weeks after Australia’s richest woman forced the collapse of Albemarle’s $4.2 billion buyout of lithium developer Liontown Resources after acquiring a big enough stake in the business to block the deal, Rineheart’s Hancock Prospecting has announced that it now holds 18 per cent of Azure and can officially challenge the current $1 billion bid from the world’s biggest lithium producer, SQM.

According to The National, “Under the terms of its main offer structure, SQM can pull out if a single shareholder acquires more than 19 per cent of the Perth-based miner – a major hiccup, even if other deal options remain.”

The iron ore billionaire, who inherited her privately owned mineral exploration and extraction company from her late father, Lang Hancock, is at the forefront of the lithium rush following increased demand for use in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. Give the nickname ‘Australia’s Iron Lady’, Rineheart is believed to be keen to increase her $26 billion net worth (according to Global Finance) by increasing her holdings in the low-density metal which is expected to have a market worth $134.6 billion by 2027.

“You can see Hancock has intent to be involved in the lithium industry,” said Matthew Langsford, a portfolio manager at Terra Capital, in an interview with Bloomberg. “There’s going to be greater competition for those assets that appear to have scale.”

Stanley Druckenmiller

Stanley Druckenmiller expresses concern about US economy
Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller has joined a number of prominent American investors in expressing concerns about the state of the US economy prompting him to buy “massive” bullish positions in two-year notes.

“I started to get really nervous”, said the founder of Duquesne Family Office in an interview. “So, I bought massive leveraged positions [in the short-term notes].”

Druckenmiller joins the likes of PIMCO co-founder Bill Gross and Pershing Square Capital Management founder Bill Ackman “in sounding the alarm about the US economy”.

Druckenmiller revealed at a Robin Hood Foundation event in New York that “he is keeping bearish wagers on longer-term bonds because he is concerned about swelling government-debt issuance. But with the new bullish bets on two-year notes, overall he is long on fixed income for the first time since 2020.”

In a fireside chat interview with American billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones at the NYC event, Druckenmiller said he has observed anecdotal evidence that “on the margin, things are getting softer” as pandemic stimulus is “running down rapidly”, while “historically, the simultaneous increases in interest rates, oil and the US dollar have been negative for the economy.”

According to The National, Druckenmiller’s “paired long-short bond bets means that he is expecting the yield curve to steepen, a move that typically happens when the US Federal Reserve cuts interest rates.

“Yields on two-year Treasuries jumped to about 5.3 per cent in October, the highest in more than a decade, as investors absorbed Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s pledge to keep rates high for an extended period.”

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