Monthly Archives: October 2014

Barrett Wissman’s IMG Representing Artists Globally

Barrett Wissman is a businessman with a passion: to bring performing arts to the people. Under the auspices of his Los Angeles, California-based company IMG Artists, Wissman can do exactly that.

The idea behind IMG is to bring dance, theater, music and more to the maximum number of people while still maintaining the highest level of quality and taste. IMG represents over 500 artists and 200 specialists in 10 offices spread throughout five continents. From Los Angeles, California to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and beyond, Barrett Wissman, through IMG, has organized performing arts festivals, spectacular fireworks displays, and innovative theater productions.

As explained by Gulf Elite, “Barrett Wissman has been leading a paradigm shift in performing arts monopoly. Shifting from conventional settings and trying to bring arts and music to new places, Barrett vowed to promote refined arts and world class performances as universal and borderless. Starting with a small performance in Tuscany in an abandoned 18th century opera house, the festival soon turned into the globally acclaimed “Tuscan Sun Festival”. Wissman’s genius was soon sought across the globe as he was asked to launch a festival in North California that turned to become the Napa Valley Festival del sole.”

Some of the festivals Barrett Wissman has brought to life are the world renowned Napa Valley Festival del Sole, Divino Tuscany, and the Tuscan Sun Festival. The festivals originally began as an idea. It was Wissman’s dream to bring world class, refined performance art to a larger audience. His dream took shape in a small Italian city with a modest performance in a300-year old, abandoned opera house. It didn’t take long for this beginning to morph into the Tuscan Sun Festival. As word of its success spread, Barrett Wissman was sought after to bring similar festivals to other venues.  In 2006 IMG Artists, together with a San Francisco lawyer established the Napa Valley Festival del Sole.

Tesla Offers Sweet Deal on Model S Leases

Introducing the 2015 Tesla Model S Sedan

Introducing the 2015 Tesla Model S Sedan

In another burst of “out-of-the-box” thinking, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk wrote in a blog on October 25 that customers leasing the company’s new Model S electric car will have the option of returning the car within 90 days and have the remainder of their lease obligation nullified.

This offer is for purchasers of cars in the United States. A limitation on this deal is that if the car is returned after 3 months the purchaser will not be allowed to lease another Model S immediately.

Musk’s blog post also said that US Bank will be offering the lease for those interested in buying the Model S, lowering monthly lease payments by as much as 25 percent.

The new Model S was launched earlier in October. Among its features are the ability to park itself and recognize road obstacles.

Last year’s offer, in partnership with Wells Fargo & Co and US Bank, was an offer of 10 percent down towards the purchase of a Model S sedan.

Business Leaders Delegation Endorses Improved US Trade with Sri Lanka

On October 17, 2014 the American and Ceylon Chambers of Commerce joined with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to co-host a US-Sri Lanka Business Forum. The event took place in parallel with the 11th Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, known as TIFA, joint council meeting. Two business leaders, Anura Siriwardena, the Secretary from the Ministry, and Michael Delaney, the assistant US trade representative for Central and South Asia, spoke about expanding bilateral trade between their countries.

“Our TIFA meetings were cordial and productive,” said Delaney. “We were able to identify a number of ways we can deepen cooperation and boost two-way trade and investment.”

TIFA has created an opportunity for intensified discussions between the US and Sri Lanka, with a focus on seeking ways to reducing stumbling blocks to increased trade between the two countries as well as improving the investment climate. One of the main objectives of the TIFA Joint Council is to find ways to lower non-tariff trade barriers as well as minimizing regulatory impediments for foreign investors. TIFA is also seeking was to help potential investors and international partners to succeed in Sri Lanka.

“As in the past, it is our view that the TIFA process will continue to broaden and strengthen the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Sri Lanka,” said Asanka Ratnayake, President of the American Chamber of Commerce. “We also hope it will continue to open avenues for exploring mutually beneficial business opportunities between our two countries.”

French Telecom Company Backs Out of Deal to Buy T-Mobile

The third possible buyer in as many years decided not to jump into the purchase of T-Mobile US. The French affordable telecom operator Iliad SA stepped down from the deal, which was never formalized, when it faced resistance from T-Mobile’s majority owner Deutsche Telekom.

Detutsche Telekom, according to a person familiar with the company’s mindset, prefers to hold on to the company longer. DT, which owns 66% of T-Mobile, is not convinced that the newbie to the US market could run the company better than the management they already have in place now.

Despite the fact that the deal was tenuous and never presented as a real possibility, T-Mobile’s stock plummeted to a 10-month low. Only three months ago Sprint withdrew its own possible deal to purchase T-Mobile.

The question now is whether T-Mobile can maintain itself as an independent company despite the fact that it has been gaining market share due to aggressive sales and marketing tactics.

“There haven’t been any other viable offers that have emerged since Sprint backed out, and that was not a formal offer to boot. There may be some questions about the price a larger buyer is prepared to pay in turn for a regulatory battle they may have to face,” said Bill Menezes, an analyst at Gartner.

As Economy Recovers Recession Mood Lingers

Despite data showing that the US economy grew at its fastest rate in eight years during the second quarter of 2014, Americans still believe that the country is still in the midst of a recession.

The economy swelled during the Q2 at an annualized rate of 4.6 percent, duplicating the fastest quarterly growth since 2006. After a difficult, weather related, bad first quarter, second quarter growth was influenced by improvements in all sectors. Those growth sectors included consumer spending, residential and non-residential fixed investment, net exports and government spending.

The perception, however, is of an economy still in trouble. A recent poll done by the Public Religion Institute showed that over 70 percent of Americans thing that the economy is still experiencing a recession. This perception is not without reason: the unemployment rate is still high with millions of American not working, and the recovery is not fully realized as yet.

Two economic academics, Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have shown that post-war economies generally need, on average, four and one half years to recover back to the same GDP as they had before a financial crisis. They also found that unemployment rates take about the same amount of time to reach their low points, and housing prices can take even longer to recover. Therefore, once we realize these characteristics of recoveries, the US has truly bounced back from its 2008 crisis pretty well.