Hi! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC.
Fun fact Friday: The first DVD mailed by Netflix was “Beetlejuice” in 1998, but you might be even more surprised by the company’s most-popular DVD.
Today, we’ve got stories on the struggle PE firms are having with their ESG mandates, Tiger Global’s no-good-very-bad year in venture investing, and the science behind humans living to be 150.
But first, let’s check the terminal.
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A few weeks ago I speculated on who’s the most powerful person in finance. The names I suggested were meant to represent the different corners of the industry: Jamie Dimon (banking), Ken Griffin (trading), Jerome Powell (regulation), Larry Fink (money management), Warren Buffet (Main Street).
However, I’m ashamed to admit there was one glaring omission: Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg doesn’t run a massive trading operation. He’s not a top rainmaker. And he’s not governing how the industry works. (At least not anymore.)
What Bloomberg does is arguably much more important than that. He holds all the information.
Bloomberg deals in data — via its ubiquitous terminal — which serves as the lifeblood of Wall Street.
That’s why this profile by the Financial Times on his potential successor is fascinating.
Bloomberg is one of the richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $94.5 billion, according to Forbes. (A funny nugget from the FT story: Bloomberg is not part of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Perks of being the boss, I suppose.)
But it’s not just his wealth that’s impressive. It’s the stickiness of his business. In many ways, the Bloomberg terminal is the cockroach of Wall Street. (I’m sure the marketing team will love that analogy.) Terminals are seemingly everywhere in the city, and they just won’t die. The only difference is these ones cost about $26,000 a year to use.
Global financial crisis? The terminal survived. Pandemic that sends people home (and away from their terminals)? The terminal survived. Spying scandal? The terminal survived.
Yes, banks figured out that Bloomberg reporters had access to their employees’ terminal usage and could use it for their own reporting. Guess what? It didn’t stop them from using the terminal!
The company has also faced nearly 40 employment lawsuits since 1996, some of which specifically included the man himself, Insider previously reported. And even still, it powers on.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine what could topple Bloomberg. The financial world will always need data, and Bloomberg will certainly have plenty of it to share… for a price of course.
Click here for more on Bloomberg’s potential successor.
In other news:
2. The messy business of ESG. Top private-equity firms want to reduce the amount of emissions their portfolio companies give off. But for firms like KKR, Blackstone, and Carlyle, sometimes that’s easier said than done. Inside PE’s fossil-fuel dilemma.
3. Who’s running the show at Warner Bros. Discovery? We mapped out the 112 most powerful people at the media giant that includes film and TV studios in addition to HBO and CNN. Check out our org chart here.
4. Tiger Global’s down bad. The firm’s $12.7 billion venture fund, known for its aggressive, unorthodox form of venture dealmaking, was down 20% as of December 2022, The Information reports. Here’s more on Tiger Global’s unique approach to investing in startups and why it backfired.
5. The stars of the latest Y Combinator class. A good chunk of famous startup incubator Y Combinator’s winter class was focused on developer tools. Four members of the class have already gotten more funding. Check them out.
6. Things are not great at SVB. In the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s acquisition by First Citizens, some employees are headed for the exits, The San Francisco Standard reports.
7. Restructuring Ray. Billionaire Ray Dalio believes the financial system needs “big restructurings.” More on why he’s so pessimistic.
8. Bank deals galore. Off the back of the banking crisis, The Economist is predicting a consolidation among US banks. Here’s why.
9. Humans still have a lot more left in the tank. While living for eternity isn’t possible, surpassing 150 years could be, according to some researchers. More on the science here.
10. Do you think this is still good to eat? Maybe. We listed four foods that are safe to cut the mold off, and four you should just throw in the trash, according to a food safety expert. Save yourself the stomachache and read up on these.
Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.