BlackRock, Inc. | January 15, 2024
BlackRock, Inc. and Global Infrastructure Partners a leading independent infrastructure fund manager, jointly announce that they have entered into an agreement for BlackRock to acquire GIP for total consideration of $3 billion of cash and approximately 12 million shares of BlackRock common stock.
A $1 trillion market today, infrastructure is forecast to be one of the fastest growing segments of private markets in the years ahead. A number of long-term structural trends support an acceleration in infrastructure investment. These include increasing global demand for upgraded digital infrastructure like fiber broadband, cell towers and data centers; renewed investment in logistical hubs such as airports, railroads and shipping ports as supply chains are rewired; and a movement toward decarbonization and energy security in many parts of the world.
Further, large government deficits mean that the mobilization of capital through public-private partnerships will be critical for funding important infrastructure. Finally, as capital has become more scarce in a higher interest rate environment, companies are exploring partnership opportunities for their embedded infrastructure assets to improve their returns on invested capital or to raise capital to reinvest in their core businesses.
BlackRock has a broad network of global corporate relationships as a long-term investor in both their debt and equity. These relationships will help us lead critical investments in infrastructure to improve outcomes for communities around the globe and generate long-term investment benefits for clients.
The combination of GIP with BlackRock’s highly complementary infrastructure offerings creates a comprehensive global infrastructure franchise with differentiated origination and asset management capabilities. The over $150 billion combined business will seek to deliver clients market-leading, holistic infrastructure expertise across equity, debt and solutions at substantial scale. Marrying the proprietary origination and business improvement capabilities of GIP and BlackRock’s global corporate and sovereign relationships provides a platform for diversified, large-scale sourcing to support deal flow and co-investment opportunities for clients. We believe bringing GIP and BlackRock together will deliver to clients the benefits of broader origination and business improvement capabilities.
Founded in 2006, world leading independent infrastructure investor GIP manages over $100 billion in client assets across infrastructure equity and debt, with a focus on energy, transport, water and waste, and digital sectors. GIP’s performance has been driven by proprietary origination, operational improvements, and timely exits. They have successfully scaled their global equity flagship series, with the most recent fully invested flagship fund in 2019 surpassing $22 billion.
BlackRock’s over $50 billion of infrastructure client AUM is comprised of infrastructure equity, debt and solutions, and has grown both organically and inorganically since inception in 2011. Top investment talent at BlackRock lead franchises that include Diversified Infrastructure, Infra Debt, Infra Solutions, Climate Infrastructure and Decarbonization Partners.
The GIP management team, led by Bayo Ogunlesi and four of its founding partners, will lead the combined infrastructure platform. They will bring with them talented investment, and operationally focused business improvement teams with a strong track-record of building and running high-performing private markets businesses. GIP’s founders and teams remain highly committed to clients, and we expect the integration with BlackRock’s broader platform will generate even greater opportunities. Subject to completion of customary onboarding procedures, BlackRock has also agreed to appoint Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, to the Board at the next regularly scheduled board meeting following the closing of the transaction.
“Infrastructure is one of the most exciting long-term investment opportunities, as a number of structural shifts re-shape the global economy. We believe the expansion of both physical and digital infrastructure will continue to accelerate, as governments prioritize self-sufficiency and security through increased domestic industrial capacity, energy independence, and onshoring or near-shoring of critical sectors. Policymakers are only just beginning to implement once-in-a-generation financial incentives for new infrastructure technologies and projects,” said Laurence D. Fink, BlackRock Chairman and CEO.
“I’m delighted for the opportunity to welcome Bayo and the GIP team to BlackRock, and happy to announce our plans to have Bayo join our Board of Directors post-closing. We founded BlackRock 35 years ago based on a unique understanding of investment risk and the factors and forces driving investment returns. GIP’s deep understanding of the factors and forces driving operational efficiency for long-term value creation have made them a global leader in infrastructure investing. Bringing these two firms together will create the infrastructure platform to deliver best-in-class investment opportunities for clients globally, and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead of us.”
“I’m excited about the power of this combination and the prospect of working with Larry and his talented team. We share with BlackRock a culture of collaboration, client focus, investment partnership, and commitment to excellence. Investors have adopted private infrastructure investing for its ability to provide stable cashflows, less correlated returns, and a hedge against inflation. Global corporates have turned to private infrastructure as a fast innovator and a more commercially agile owner of infrastructure assets that aren't core to their commercial businesses. This platform is set to be the preeminent, one-stop infrastructure solutions provider for global corporates and the public sector, mobilizing long-term private capital through long-standing firm relationships,” said Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman, and CEO. “We are convinced that together we can create the world’s premier infrastructure investment firm.”
BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, we help millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable.
Finastra | December 05, 2023
Finastra, a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, brought together leaders from community banks and credit unions across the United States to discuss innovation in lending technology, operational and strategic initiatives, and trends in mortgage and retail lending. The series, open to current Finastra lending customers, was hosted in Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, and Scottsdale from September through mid-November.
With presentations from Lending business unit product and compliance experts, various financial institutions, and industry partners, User Connect explores how financial institutions can maximize their fintech solutions, offering strategies for achieving increased growth, productivity, and compliance readiness.
User Connect is a unique opportunity to come together with customers and ecosystem partners to share ideas and best practices. Insights from the event are invaluable, and we look forward to conversations like this throughout the year so that we can enable more seamless customer journeys and more productive time to revenue for lending teams across the US.
Mitch Lucas, head of retail lending at Finastra
Throughout the series, several significant takeaways were highlighted:
Optimization of tech stack is key: To generate leads more quickly and easily, nurture these leads, and increase chances to convert them to being a customer, a modern end-to-end tech stack is crucial. If a borrower encounters any technical obstacles from application through the onboarding process, the risk of losing the lead to a competitor increases significantly.
Automation and streamlined processes address operational challenges: To process loans quickly and underwrite more efficiently, leveraging integrated services, embracing workflow automation, and utilizing document management for a paperless loan file eliminates many operational challenges. Systems that migrate borrower information from the point-of-sale to the loan origination system automatically reduce human error, decrease incidences of regulatory compliance issues, and speeds up prequalification, approvals, and processing times. Research from Finastra and East & Partners supports this takeaway, noting that lending process automation remains a major area for improvement, with significant room for growth in approvals, closing, origination, and servicing. 11% of respondents said they utilize automated approvals, while just 10% offer automated loan closing processes. Even fewer respondents have succeeded with origination and servicing automation, at 7% and 6% respectively.
Importance of readiness for increased loan applications: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the mortgage origination market is expected to improve by 19% to $1.95T in 2024, a rebound after the estimated 30% drop from 2022 to 2023 and 50% fall from 2021 to 2022. While volume has significantly slowed, lenders must be ready for an uptick in applications, so they do not lose leads to competitors. Financial institutions can prepare by investing in scalable technologies, setting up parameters for automatic prequalification, focusing on personalized experiences, and building self-service portals for document management.
Section 1071 is looming, and financial institutions need to be ready: Although Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act is currently wrapped up in ongoing litigation, borrowers and compliance experts agree preparation is important. Users throughout the series were polled and noted that banks and credit unions are paying close attention in order to train staff and align processes. Attendees agreed that since commercial lending practices are often challenging to implement, preparing early is critical should the litigation fail.
Supporting younger generations on their homebuying journey: According to a presentation from David Lykken, chief transformational officer at Transformational Mortgage Solutions, the typical American dream of home ownership has not gone away, but younger buyers are struggling to break into the market, noting that people aged 28-38 have only a 28.87% rate of home ownership. When rates decrease, an increase in this number is expected, but planning is important. Brian Bone, president and CEO at American Partners Federal Credit Union stated during a panel discussion, "My kids are very concerned about their ability to buy a home. We as an industry need to do everything we can to help them, whether that means credit coaching, down payment assistance, or other programs. This also includes ensuring we offer the best of both worlds – the human touch of financial services with a technology stack suitable for their needs."
Brian Bone added, "The User Connect series in Orlando was a valuable experience for me and my credit union. I learned a lot from Finastra's experts and partners. I also appreciated the opportunity to network with other financial institutions and share best practices. Finastra's User Connect series is a great event for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the curve in the lending industry."
Finastra is a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and launched the leading open platform for innovation, FusionFabric.cloud, in 2017. It serves institutions of all sizes, providing award-winning software solutions and services across Lending, Payments, Treasury & Capital Markets and Universal Banking (Retail, Digital and Commercial Banking) for banks to support direct banking relationships and grow through indirect channels, such as embedded finance and Banking as a Service. Its pioneering approach and commitment to open finance and collaboration is why it is trusted by more than 8,000 institutions, including 45 of the world's top 50 banks. For more information, visit finastra.com
KSL Capital Partners | December 15, 2023
KSL Capital Partners, LLC ("KSL"), a leading investor in travel and leisure businesses, today announced its 2024 promotions, including the addition of four individuals to the firm's partnership.
The following individuals have been promoted to Partner effective January 1, 2024.
"Our people are our single most important asset, and we could not be more pleased to welcome four new Partners who reflect the strength of our firm and global team," said Eric Resnick, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of KSL. "On behalf of the entire KSL team, I want to congratulate Kirk, Martin, Kevin and Tina on their well-deserved promotions to Partner and thank them for their unique strengths and exceptional leadership, which have been instrumental to KSL's success to date. Each will support our continued growth in the years to come."
KSL also announced Michael Acierno and Harris Levinson have been promoted to Principal, effective January 1, 2024.
"KSL is committed to building the next generation of private equity leaders and promoting from within our firm, and we are thrilled to see the continued progression of our team," said Peter McDermott, Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of KSL. "Mike and Harris both joined us as associates and are now key leaders in our tactical opportunities and credit fund strategies, and we thank them for their hard work and commitment. We look forward to their continued growth at KSL."
Mr. Acierno, who focuses on tactical opportunities, and Mr. Levinson, who focuses on credit investments, are also members of the firm's Investment Committee.
About Kirk Adamson
Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Kirk was a Principal in Blackstone's Real Estate Debt Strategies team (BREDS) based in London. Prior to Blackstone, Kirk was an Associate in Deutsche Bank's Commercial Real Estate Group from 2010 to 2012. Earlier in his career, Kirk worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank, based in both New York and London. Kirk holds a B.S. in Accounting & Business Administration from Washington & Lee University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Kirk focuses on North American investments.
About Martin Edsinger
Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Martin worked as an Investment Manager with ARLE Capital Partners. Prior to ARLE Capital Partners, Martin worked as an Experienced Associate Consultant with Bain & Company and an Economic Analyst with NERA Economic Consulting. Martin graduated from The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), where he holds a degree in Accounting and Financial Management and an MSc in Economics and Business. Martin focuses on European investments.
About Kevin Rohnstock
Kevin serves as the firm's General Counsel. Prior to joining KSL in 2011 as Chief Compliance Officer, Kevin served as Associate General Counsel of Royal Gold, Inc. from 2009 to 2011 and as Senior Corporate Counsel for Newmont Mining Corporation from 2005 to 2009. Kevin began his legal career in 2002 as an Associate in the Corporate and Securities Department of Brownstein Hyatt & Farber, P.C. Kevin is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. Kevin holds a B.A. from Holy Cross and a J.D. from the University of Denver.
About Tina Yu
Prior to joining KSL in 2011, Tina was an Investment Banking Analyst at Citigroup in the Real Estate group. Tina was awarded in 2018 The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) and The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) Young Leader Award and featured as one of the Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Magazine in 2018. Tina graduated magna cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania, where she holds a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate from the Wharton School and a B.A. in International Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. Tina focuses on European investments.
About KSL Capital Partners
KSL Capital Partners, LLC is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado; Stamford, Connecticut; New York, New York; and London, England. KSL invests across three primary strategies through its equity, credit and tactical opportunities funds. KSL's current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure.
Webull Corporation | January 30, 2024
Webull, a leading online broker for global investors, has launched an initiative to drive financial literacy, announcing its partnership with Dow Jones, a global news and business information services provider and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The agreement aims to drive greater levels of financial literacy among retail investors by empowering Webull customers with curated award-winning content from The Wall Street Journal, including news, analysis, and essential insights on managing personal finances. The collaboration provides access to the publication's trusted and reliable journalism to help Webull users make better educated and informed decisions around their financial goals.
Webull users will receive a curated round-up of WSJ articles on its news feed within the app. New and renewing Webull customers will also receive a WSJ subscription.
"Webull was founded on the principle of democratizing investing and making it more accessible and inclusive - especially for first time investors. In this regard, we've already seen success, with a robust number of our active members being first-time investors," said Anthony Denier, Webull Group President. "Through this partnership with Dow Jones, we want to put the power of the world's leading financial publication straight into the hands of our customers with content that helps investors make better financial decisions with greater confidence."
"Financial literacy, powered by trusted and credible journalism, leads to better decisions," said David Martin, Chief Revenue Officer for Business Intelligence at Dow Jones. "We are delighted to work with Webull and look forward to putting the Journal's high-quality and award-winning business news, information and analysis at the fingertips of millions of Webull users on its platform to help elevate their decision making process."
Financial literacy has been identified as a key barrier to entry to investing for many people, with research from the World Economic Forum revealing that 40% of non-investors chose not to invest because they do not know how or find it too confusing. In addition, approximately 70% said they would be more likely to invest, or invest more, with expanded financial education.
With the trend of retail investors skewing younger, the initiative aims to address knowledge gaps by providing access to actionable and outcome-oriented information to help educate and shape the way new and existing users navigate fast-changing markets in an informed and responsible manner.
Webull is a leading digital investment platform built on next generation global infrastructure. The Webull Group is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida and backed by private equity investors located in the United States, Europe and Asia. Webull serves tens of millions of users from over 180 countries, providing retail investors with 24/7 access to global financial markets. Users can put investment strategies to work by trading global stocks, ETFs, options and fractional shares, through Webull's trading platform, which is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Canada. Webull also offers investment education services, with lessons covering a wide range of topics.
About Dow Jones
Dow Jones is a global provider of news and business information, delivering content to consumers and organizations around the world across multiple formats, including print, digital, mobile and live events. Dow Jones has produced unrivaled quality content for more than 130 years and today has one of the world's largest news-gathering operations globally. It is home to leading publications and products including the flagship Wall Street Journal, America's largest newspaper by paid circulation; Barron's, MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Financial News, Investor's Business Daily, Factiva, Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, Dow Jones Newswires, OPIS and Chemical Market Analytics.