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Business & Finance

Forbes May 31, 2019

Whether it’s reporting on the “next Facebook” or scrutinizing a new tax law, Forbes covers stories with uncanny insight and conciseness that hurried business folks appreciate. Get Forbes Digital Magazine Subscription today for rigorous, to-the-point business analysis.

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United States
Forbes Media LLC
14 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
money games

SOME OF MY FONDEST memories from my first stint at Forbes, in the 1990s, revolve around sports: tagging along with Jack Nicklaus as he traded up his private jet, or with Nike’s Phil Knight as he walked through the Olympic Village he helped fund; eating breakfast pancakes in Vegas with George Foreman as he revealed the marketing alchemy of pay-per-view, or jumbo shrimp in Orlando with a young Shaquille O’Neal at his rap-album launch party, a pioneer of the multiplatform-celebrity era. It felt heady and big, but in retrospect it’s clear that sports business was in its infancy. The millions I chronicled became billions, as you can see in our annual Major League Baseball rankings, on page 19. (A paltry $4.6 billion for the Yankees, anyone?) Our coverage has gotten exponentially…

7 min.
capitalism ain’t kaput

HARDLY A DAY goes by without some eminence from business or finance proclaiming with furrowed brow and seeming sorrow that capitalism is in crisis and must be overhauled if it is to survive and not be replaced with some variant of socialism. Inequality, climate change, obscene levels of corporate profits, stagnant wages, soaring healthcare costs, crushing levels of student debt, rampant Wall Street greed, high-tech monsters and much more are all laid at the feet of an allegedly heartless, unresponsive capitalistic system. It ain’t so. Contrary to all this highbrow hand-wringing, the problem is bad government policies and, worse, a fundamental misunderstanding of free markets. It’s time for a reality check regarding this much-maligned system. Capitalism, free enterprise, free markets—whatever you label our system—is moral because one succeeds by meeting the needs…

2 min.
manny happy returns

TURN THE PAGE BASEBALL’S MOST VALUABLE TEAMS 2019 THE AVERAGE BALLPLAYER faces a tough reality: MLB salaries are flat, up less than 1% per year since 2014, the result of a new collective bargaining agreement and the sport’s now intensely data-driven approach to gauging value. Only the brightest stars still command big paydays. Stars like Manny Machado. The San Diego Padres’ third baseman is in the first year of a decadelong, $300 million deal that was the largest-ever free-agent signing in American sports. (For a few days, anyway. Nine days aft er the Padres and Machado came to terms last winter, fellow free agent Bryce Harper inked an even bigger contract, $330 million over 13 years.) “A lot of things go into picking your future, and San Diego checked every box,” Machado…

1 min.
emperor of ephemera

IN A TEN-MINUTE span last month, all these items were sold on Mercari, an online “flea market”: a long-sleeved Lululemon shirt ($22), a cyclopean doll from Mattel’s Monster High toy line ($25), a pair of size-nine Naot shoes ($50) and a brownish Coach purse ($8), which the seller admitted was in “poor” condition with a “dirty” bottom. There was enough demand for secondhand Barbies and dingy bags last year for Tokyo-based Mercari to pull in $324 million in sales, taking a 10% cut of every transaction. Founder Shintaro Yamada, 41, can surely afford to buy everything he wants new: His 32% stake in the firm is now worth $1.3 billion; company stock has zigzagged upward since its June 2018 IPO. “Our mission: to create new value,” he told Forbes Japan in…

2 min.
bring on the bubbly, jettison koons

VICTORIA JAMES Author, sommelier, partner and beverage director at Cote in Manhattan BUY Special Club Champagne A tiny consortium of 28 growers who release their top wines in identical packaging. Pierre Gimonnet’s Blanc de Blancs, around $125 upon release, quickly becomes a collectible. HOLD German Rieslings Sweet and dry can both age majestically. Think Dönhoff, Von Winning and Peter Lauer. Often a steal for under $50 when released, they can skyrocket after a decade. SELL 2004 Red Burgundy Rain, rot … and ladybugs. An infestation meant that many of the cute red insects were crushed up with the grapes, creating tainted wine. Hope for maybe $200 when you move it. JOHN REARDON International head of watches, Christie’s BUY Steel Audemars Piguet These Swiss watches are getting hotter by the minute. Start with the self-winding Royal Oak, with a new inhouse movement, at $19,200. HOLD Tourbillons The whirlwind trend…

1 min.
landmarks and largesse

WITHIN HOURS OF the devastating fire at Notre Dame last month, three French billionaires (Bernard Arnault, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers and François Pinault) and an American (Henry Kravis) pledged almost $700 million to help restore the Paris cathedral. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly common for tycoons with monumental fortunes to donate to monuments in need. WASHINGTON MONUMENT WASHINGTON, D.C. David Rubenstein Net worth: $2.8 billion Amount donated, year: $10.5 million, 2012 and 2016 Restorations after 2011 earthquake, elevator repairs COLOSSEUM ROME Diego Della Valle $1.4 billion $33 million, 2011 Cleaning stone surfaces, installing new iron gates, restoring basement GREAT WALL OF CHINA BEIJING AND BEYOND Robert and Philip Ng $12.1 billion $1.6 million, 2018 Repairing a section of the wall and its lookout towers CHÂTEAU CHAMBORD LOIRE, FRANCE Stephen Schwarzman $14.4 billion $4 million, 2016 Replanting its 18th-century French formal gardens PONTE DI RIALTO VENICE Renzo Rosso $2.9 billion $6 million, 2013…