tv Bloomberg Business Week Bloomberg March 2, 2019 3:00am-4:00am EST
♪ carol: welcome to "bloomberg businessweek." we are inside the magazine's headquarters here in new york. the cover story, global challenges facing the auto industry. from car production to efforts to reduce emissions and the growing popularity of ridesharing. have we reached peak car? a ceo that work for required you to exercise on the
job and with the ceo? tell you about that swedish company. and we begin this weekend remarks. a history of trade negotiations and what it tells us about the current standoff in beijing. i feel like there was a chance to step back and think about the bigger implications. >> he does a nice job of connecting some dots. the deadline has been pushed back and of for the opportunity to say that even after this thing might reach a moment of compromise, there will be some implications that none of us have started talking about yet. just u.s. andot china negotiating alone, everybody else in the world is watching. even the european region starting to come up. the u.s., they are economic superpowers. and when they come together on whatever this ends up looking like, it creates a new version
of what global trade alliances will look like. we have all been talking about u.s. china, but what about everybody else? what happens to them? thank you so much. i sat down with a reporter for more. hearing from europe, japan, and other places. there is concern about the way locking and china are up the series of purchases by china to address the trade deficit. tradeht affect the way flows around the world and how it may undermine this system that the u.s. spent decades trying to get in place. carol: let's talk about this system of trade. you mentioned managed trade. what has been the system in place? give us the history lesson of how things kind of got put into place a few decades ago?
shawn: when you look at the history, the themes that he has put out there, the focus on a more transactional approach to trade, the idea that a president should be a salesman in chief -- that is. something that has been there through history. boston tearget the party was not just about british taxes. it was about chinese tea. that was the t in question. politicians innd washington have been trying to define that relationship with china for a long time. ii, though --r this was a debate that was resolved during franklin d presidency. there was a focus on setting rules in the world and allowing the market to get to work. idea ofwhere we get the
free trade from. let's set some rules and let's help people compete under those rules. and what donald trump is increasingly doing is focusing version ofashioned trade. a much more 19th-century version of trade, which is called managed trade. the idea that the government can negotiate specific purchases for with anothers government. and that will set the framework for a trade relationship. carol: and you wonder what might be the implications for trade in europe. shawn: if there is a big part of ay china as trade agreement, it will result in a loss of market for airbus. .he big european competitor
the eu would have the right to say, that is not fair. you are not playing under the rules that we have in the global trading system. you are negotiating this deal.tilist we will challenge that. that is one way it can affect things. we are already seeing the way the trump administration is trying to take this trait approach to the european relationship. it is now threatening auto tariffs, for example. much aimed at reducing the imports from the eu of cars. of mercedes, bmw, etc.. and that is a way of managing trade that is very old-fashioned and a mercantilist approach to trade. the europeans object to that strenuously. we saw angela merkel talk about
this as an existential issue for the german economy which is a very export dependent economy. it is worth thinking about the transatlantic alliance and how donald trump is testing that. for another perspective, let's bring in taylor. taylor: one thing we do is look at the chinese economy in particular. in this terminal, manufacturing pmi. this started last summer in june of 2018. red means lower, green means higher. red, red,p read -- way down.e concerns about how trade is impacting. good stuff, taylor. thank you so much. japan is nudging the door open when it comes to immigration. a utility with a
--businessweek.com and our mobile app. don't call the new worker program a policy change. >> the country is reluctantly coming to terms with the idea that it needs foreigners to combat this demographic problem. the workforce is going to shrink by a quarter over the next 25 years. and already, there is a lot of where they forecast about 500,000 caregivers to take care of mostly the elderly in the next 25 years. who will do this work? it is a temporary program. >> this is a new kind of the sarah. so they think they come in on
these five-year residency permits. there is very vague language attached to the idea that they may be able to apply to be a permanent resident which is unlike the trainee program. we know from the experience of germany that had a guest worker program that began in the 1950's, mostly taking people from the former yugoslavia and turkey that people did put down roots in germany and germany has a sizable turkish population. so we anticipate that the japan is kind of not actually understanding in the way that some of the implications are in the long term. we have president trump and western leaders pushing back against policy saying, come on
in. >> and in japan, it is sort of a last-ditch effort. the country has tried to boost female participation and try to expand the labor pool without doing this. admission thatan we need another source. about when wender talk about economic growth, there are different ways to do it. increase productivity or increase the size of the labor force. japan has had such a hard time getting the economy going. what with the implications be? >> i think it is a positive for the country as a whole and we might have to see the pushback there might be socially or politically later on. far, the government has been able to use its majority to attempt down -- to tamp down
anything. workershere are the coming from? >> vietnam, the philippines, china. them are students, for example, allowed to work even though they are on student visas. and people in this technical trainee program. of bottom rung drops. they are working in convenience stores, hotels doing housekeeping. caregivers. and factories. people start.w role ing&e's california's devastating camp fire last november around paradise, in northern san francisco.
the giant utility serves most of the area and warned the sec that it may have accidentally started the fire. this case illustrates how unprepared policymakers and utilities are for the consequences of climate change. mason is amed lineman for pg&e but specializes in fixing things when they go wrong. he was in the company's yard when he got the call to go to this town of paradise. pg&e is one of the big utilities there. he gets up there and start seeing smoke and a stream of cars going the other way. he gets to town and this giant fire that started just a few minutes before arrives in town and would end up destroying the town, killing over 80 people.
he was there basically trying to deal with all of the broken infrastructure to let firefighters through to try to let people get out. interesting was an story because he was on the front lines when the fire came through. trying to protect people, trying to help manage the problem. and at the same time, pg&e filed this report with regulators saying that we may have started the fire. , power lines will send sparks to vegetation and start the fire. on thisn outage particular hillside where the fire seems to have started. in town for a couple of weeks, he gets this mixed reception.
some people are happy to see him, others are yelling profanities because they blame the deadliestor fire in california history. carol: where do we go with all of this? drake: the situation in california will have to change. caesar --nother fire season coming up this summer. they will not be surprised if a second california utility gets hit with a big fire. if a company has been negligent, we need to figure it out and address that. on and the power to stay read there to be some stability for these companies. the current regime for this combination of a changing climate that really wasn't built for this climate, it was built forest fires where
weren't that bad and want to this common or easy to start. what are we hearing from various policymakers, regulators, and politicians on this? nobody wants to be seen bailing out a company that may have been negligent but you are starting to see some legislators talk about setting up a wildfire insurance fund. it is interesting, they are modeling it on a hurricane insurance fund in florida. so you see this problem cropping as climate change is screwing around with the weather and making these once rare catastrophes more run of the mill. carol: have we figured out ultimately who is responsible? drake: we have not figured it
out yet. of stakeholders. one of the interesting angles that will need to be worked out is that california has been pretty upfront in using utilities to try to mitigate future climate change. pushing forward renewables. now that pg&e has declared ankruptcy, we might see bankruptcy judge try to get them out of some of these renewable contracts that are very expensive and were key in helping california become a greener place. carol: and there were investigations because of that. from the, we will hear ceo of ares capital management and the co-ceo of the carlyle group. our guests are up next. this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
"bloomberg businessweek." i'm carol massar. you can listen to us on the , on 106.1ew york in boston, and of course on the .loomberg business app jason kelly is that the super return private equity capital event. tell us what is this event about? every february, the world descends on berlin. 2500 people show up and there is just a buzz this year because private equity is doing pretty great. carol: you spoke with specific players including michael arrington eddie -- arengeti. they do private equity, but they are best known for private credit.
the have a window into economy that not a lot of other people do because they are lending to all sorts of companies. >> more people are a net. competition increases. that is the natural evolution. i am not compromising the opportunity in the asset classes. a lot of people that are allocating tend to be smaller first-time funds. jason: and still a hearty appetite on the part of institutional investors? >> the other thing that there is an insatiable appetite for is yield. whether it is real estate lending or structure credit, the opportunity to generate current ields, the floating-rate, don't expect that to change.
jason: how much do you worry about interest rates rising? >> i wonder if they are rising for the wrong reasons. if rates are going up because the economy is fundamentally sound, that is constructive for credit. earnings moving in the right direction. generally, when interest rates go up, the returns go up. the offset to that is if rates go up too fast or too much, it can strain cash flow. it is something we keep an eye on but on the balance, it is positive. jason: biggest worry for 2019 going forward? so much geopolitical uncertainty and movement. shock that worked its way through the market i think is a great reminder that just based on structure and tone are still a little fragile under the
surface. there is still enough risk of it. jason: there was shock, but it seems so long ago. >> this is a market where areas performs the best. when a retail investor is moving out of the market and the daily liquidity is coming below their intrinsic value. it was an enjoyable couple of months. carol: you also caught up with li at the carlyle group. jason: he is the newish ceo taking over for the founder david rubenstein probably being the best known of those.
so they have a pretty big task ahead of them, getting their arms around this big mobile enterprise. he and i talked about what happens going forward in 2019. >> we are seeing growth moderate, but it is not solid. we don't foresee a recession in 2019. but i would be remiss if i did not say that there is a little bit of uncertainty about what happens in 2019 and 2021. a lot of it will depend on policy responses as well as how geopolitical events unfold. what do you make of the case that private equity could use a little bit more uncertainty and a little bit more volatility in the market?
>> i think that recalibration is healthy. we have all been conditioned to an absence of volatility. the central banks are very accommodative. now the volatility is back. and it does mean, more likely than not, that returns will disperse. because when it gets harder to do things, you will see separation and performance. and maybe there is a little bit more of the rising tide that generated the return. resettingcalibration, one feels clear. all of that is probably better than not in terms of recalibrating and helping to reset expectations. what is the heartiest appetite for?
the desire for air liquide private equity and the asset classes generating three, 5, 10, 25 years -- no matter how you measure, it continues to be in demand. how do i concentrate more investing dollars with fewer general parkers and what are the institutions i can get behind? i think the private credit asset class is expanding. people are realizing that maybe there is a benefit in doing thans more directly mediating the private capital. they are becoming more and more of interest. hearing from these pe guys. we will get back to you in just a moment.
it makes sense. >> you are 1.3 million automobiles on the planet -- there are 1.3 million automobiles on the planet. maybe it's time for something new. that's where companies have made a realization sank we have hit peak cart. the future -- car. the future of our industry will not look like the past. carol: you really break it down among some of the major cities and regions in the world. >> everyone of these is because of where we lived is probably going to be more in urban areas than an rural ones. people are not buying cars, cars are getting more expensive, and they are using things like mobility services. it's going to be a shift, a revolution, if you will. carol: i got more with jim ellis.
>> autos are the largest industry in germany. it also employs almost one million germans. it is a huge piece of their economy and thought that he sort of top out in the number of -- you sort of top out in the number of unit cars. the are having to deal with notion of a switching from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. that's important, because electric vehicles take fewer people to make. therefore, employment was going to go down anyway as you go through this shift. longer-term, we are talking about fewer cars overall. ,hat has an impact in germany simply because a big piece of the middle class is built on non-college-educated people who can go to work in the auto business and basically have middle-class lifestyles. it is sort of what the u.s. was in the 1960's and 1970's with the detroit before detroit
basically got rid of the union's. carol: so what's a germany doing? >> they are working on the idea of preparing people for the shift, the initial shift toward electric vehicles, but overall, there is not a lot you can do when so much of your economy is built on pushing metal. a big piece of the german corporate idea is that they have decided to become huge, or even bigger in the markets where cars are still expected to grow, most notably china. china is the largest auto market in the world. volkswagen is the biggest company, you know, it's biggest part of its business in china. carol: you took my segue. how does china play into all of this? this has been the area of the world where so many global
automakers have been kind of salivating over, that's where we are going to see growth. china is dealing with some things that may be pushing car sales down. >> right. so many people thought no matter what happens, it's hard not to say that developed markets are mature from an auto standpoint. there are only so many cars you can drag at one time just drive at one time -- can drive at one time. you can certainly own a lot at one time. carol: it's expensive to own a car in china. >> it's expensive in china. china has been making it more expensive to have a car. china had a really big growth spurt in cars between 2007 and 2017. the auto market grew at a total percent annual rate. that's huge -- 12% annual rate. that's huge. double-digit business in that
kind of business is unheard of. last year the chinese auto market shrank by over 4%. >> big change. >> something has happened. one of the big things is the uncertainty over trade, but it's more than that. a big thing that happened is the notion that mobility services much more off there than here. there is a company in china which is a ride-hailing service. it is massive. carol: there is a step that jumped out -- statistic that jumped out at me, 30 million active users per day last year, almost all. in china. >> it is the uber in china and they ran over out of china -- uber out of china. they had more rights in china -- rides had globally uber had globally.
china has become a big place for massive urbanization. >> beijing has a lottery. unless you win a lottery, you cannot have a car in beijing. >> it is difficult. they have a lottery. in a city with over 20 million people, they are only allowing 100,000 new cars to be registered this year. carol: small percentage. >> small percentage. often it takes years to get a spot on the lottery. they also allow you not to have to go in the lottery if you buy an electric car. you have to get in line and wait. currently the weight is about eight years to be able to bite is aboutr -- wait eight years to be able to buy a car if you live in the city. >> if we are at peak auto sales. i have been able to chart this on the bloomberg table. i am looking at u.s. auto sales on the left and on the right
axis, european auto sales. a lot of concern as it has been stagnating. may be consumers are not confident buying new cars. if it's changing habits. if you are doing more ride-hailing versus purchasing your own cart. are we at the peak of the cycle. carol: coming up next, what titans of private equity are saying about dealmaking and real estate. will hear from blackstone's global head of private equity when "bloomberg businessweek." returns.
♪ carol: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i am carol massar. join jason kelly and me for bloomberg businessweek every day on the radio from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. wall street time. catch up on our daily show by listening to our podcast. you can also find us online at businessweek.com and on our mobile app.
jason kelly is in berlin for the super return conference, where the biggest names in private venture capital are gathered. jason: if there is such a thing as a hidden tycoon, it is bruce flat. $350 billion under management brookfield has. they are well known in the real estate world. --, awn a big chunk of big part of lower manhattan. they are also in private equity and the infrastructure businesses. >> there's always opportunity. there is a lot of consternation and politics and things out there. the world is generally in a pretty good place right now. the economies of the world are either good or actually some of them are improving. going down but on balance, if you look back over many years, it's pretty good in the world and the environment. in the news -- jason: in the news obviously is
brexit. you are a huge landowner in london. how do you play all this? >> look, this is a long game. we invest for many years. we make investments assuming you will have issues when you go through it. this one just happens to be political. we just don't pay attention to the short-term and news. it will be what it will be. we assume everything will work out in the long-term and i'm quite positive it will in one direction or another. i think london is a great place, a great global place to invest, and it will be for a long time. jason: what is the biggest thing people are worried about as we go through 2019? what are you most worried about? >> we are 10 years into a cycle. at some point this cycle is not going to be as good as it is today. it always turns. they have not been repealed.
interest rates, if they go up a lot, that's an issue with all asset classes. we do not think that will be the case, but those are two things we worry about that are really not controllable. we can control some things. we finance our businesses as prudently as possible. we can ensure everything we buy. we know we are going to go through a recession at some point but we cannot control it. jason: given all we have talked about, are you a net buyer or net seller in the world right now? >> last year we invested 35 billion, we sold 12. this year i bet we will some more than that -- sell more than that. i don't know we will invest that much. last year was a bigger year. on balance we are more conservative than a number of years ago. carol: you caught up with so many well-known names in the world of private equity,
including joe barada at blackstone. jason: blackstone is the king. and joe brought it is the prince of-- barada is the prince private equity. he made his name doing big deals around more than entertainment. we talked -- merlin entertainment. with talked about that and what blackstone sees ahead. >> as we look at our portfolio, there are small pockets of weakness. maybe the auto in china and at some point in the u.s.\ hot housing is strong -- u.s. housing is strong, consumer spending seems to be strong. there is certainly a deceleration in topline growth. we are not seeing the telltale signs of a recession in the near-term. jason: europe is especially interesting, the people here, here, but- to people
also to you. you did some of the seminal deals for blackstone. legoland, marvin entertainment -- merlin entertainment. you are instantly meet -- intimately knowledgeable about that market. how do you look at europe right now? >> the recovery of europe has been a bit of a disappointment in terms of the amount of economic growth. brings it was unforeseen and is an issue -- brexit was unforeseen and is an issue. we are investing in the u.k.. we think it's a great economy but there are some unpredictability's. maybe you will pay a lower price than in a pre-brexit world. for us europe is a selective market. we have to find a company we can think we can do something fundamentally 22 transformants growth. " -- fundamentally to to transform its growth. jason: you name checked warren
buffett on the stage. you talked about long-term capital. how is that process going? of sort of raising money that you hold for longer and it still are able to deliver the returns your investors expect? >> we began the discussions with investors a few years ago. every other asset class has multiple structures to own different kind of assets. safer assets are afforded a lower cost of capital. private equity has one structure. you hope to generate 20 plus percent returns. we created a vehicle and raised about $5 billion three years ago to buy really high-quality companies with high predictability and hold them for a decade plus. it has gone really well. we have made it three investments. we are about to make our fourth. i'm sure we will be back out with another vehicle. jason: you talked a lot about valuations in europe. take us back to the united states. are you seeing any weakness
there? >> i think in the last year, wide swaths of the market have been repriced. smaller gdp growth businesses, industrial concerns were trading a year ago30% higher than they were today. i think some sectors have been repriced. it takes a while for that to translate into the private market. i think sellers of certain kind of assets have to realize prices have come down. carol: what a great bunch of interviews. when a ceo forces you to keep up with his workout routine and hot spring hopping in idaho sounds like fun to me. this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
i am carol massar -- welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i'm carol massar. you can listen to us on sirius xm, 90 91 fm in washington, d.c., a m naik 60 in the bay area, and the bloomberg business up. no one skips fourth hour at swedish sportswear maker bjorn borg. we are talking about sports our. the company's's ceo has made fitness mandatory. it's a great story. >> he's a former swedish special forces sergeant who then set a record skiing to the north pole, became a business consultant sort of talking about the experience, and has sort of imposed what seems like a strict philosophy and what he calls framework onto his businesses, which is all about setting and achieving goals. it's not just about your work. it's about wellness overall and fitness is a part of that. bjorn borg is a fitness company
so he really pushes this fitness to the extent that every friday morning the company shuts down and everybody in the company works out together. carol: wherever they are. there are a lot of management books out there. that are all these different philosophies. his it seems to be very disciplined when it comes to time, working out, goals, all that stuff. >> it seems extreme but the people there seem to like it. they also have all kinds of seminars. you can meditate if you want. they have life coaches coming in. the is healthy food. they leave at eight decent hour. if you follow a schedule and get done what you say you are going to get done, you should be able to get out. carol: is this just a story about a cool guy with a cool management philosophy and what he does with his employees? is it somebody who does this and gets results?
>> he does get results. the people who work there syntel really like it. i see -- seem to really like it. i did not get the sense they are putting on an act for me. people seem to really be into it. carol: we need to know where we to going, where we are, what do, and why we are here doing this. that kind of guys so much -- guides so much? >> it does. they have a software program where you set goals based on the framework. with someone very senior at the end of the year and they are not just professional goes. some of them are supposed to be personal like i need to work out more, spend time with my children, be in better husband or wife. it is meant to be overall wellness, making you a better person. carol: also, paramount and -- resorts are going head-to-head, snapping up ski resorts.
can they save skiing and make selling lift tickets in bible business -- a viable business? >> the thinking was to get that daily lift ticket price as high as possible. with the cheaper price they were giving up some revenue seemingly, but getting people to come in early. they take some of the lumpiness out of the business model, get some revenue over the summer, the slowest time it, and get people committed to skiing before the snow starts falling. carol: so they know the revenue ahead of the season, essentially? >> right. so they stop selling and lock-in a huge chunk of the revenue, whether it snows are not. it was kind of contrary and thinking when it came out -- contrarian thinking when it came out in the mid-90's. carol: tell us about the guy behind this? >> wall street guy who came out
of private equity. had a bit of a like reevaluation after 9/11 and moved out west. vail.came ceo of very smart and focus guide. the original epic pass, which was his idea, kind of changed the industry. from there all the other independent resorts that work independently owned trying to cobble together something similar, try to partner, but were not ever able to match the gravity of va until two years vail until two years ago. it is basically three companies that each own a couple ski resorts. there was a fourth company called inter-west which i think is seven or eight resorts at the time that had been in trouble and they were looking for an exit. these three companies got
together and said let's smoosh are mountains together, by this fourth company. overnight there is a company the size and scale of vail. carol: and they too have a pass. >> they too have a pass. carol: it felt like there were a lot of folks that wanted to partner with the second company and go up against vail. >> all terra is run by rusty gregor. he came out of university of washington. he was a linebacker, is a very laid-back guy. knows everybody in the industry, friendly dude. carol: it was working, -- he was working, right, at a ski resort? >> yes. obviously was a very intelligent man. .ow part owner and ceo when this company kind of informed, he takes the reins and starts going through his
rolodex, calling on his ski buddies through the industry. terrais a sense that all liv-ex to generally own the mountain -- likes to own the mountain. carol: a different reason to check up a mountain, at least in idaho. i talked about discovering your own private hot spring. >> we sent our writer to go find these hot springs and set a record simmering and learn about simmeringd sit around and learn about this. he went around the area between idaho falls and boise and found these great places hidden in the woods in the mountains where there is only one or two people, or no other people and you can sit and enjoy nature. carol: how easy are they to access? >> some are on the side of the road and people have built pipes
into what is essentially a giant human cauldron. some you have to hike up into the woods. he hiked. walking through snow to get to these places. no matter how hard it was, he would find people up there. carol: tell me about kind of the one that everybody goes to find. >> the one he was excited about was called goldbug. it was a little further up north, up a switchback trail. we got a great picture of it in the magazine. it is a series of little pools, totally hot. you are looking out at the ,ockies with pine trees, snow and then of course when you get in and out when you have this cold moment. when you are in there, it's utterly peaceful. carol: that's what i love about this story, that you kind of give this is what should purchase, this is where you should state. not every spring is warm, right?
>> he went to one that cooled down and actually one was too hot. the best times to go our summer, fall, and winter. even if it's cold, it's great to do this. spring is the time when the note can overwhelm -- melt can overwhelm the pool. carol: we are in a sharing economy so you will have some folks there. >> most people wear bathing suits, not everyone does. it's a natural experience. is something that makes you think you have to treasure these things before climate change might change this. carol: he makes the point that the environment could be changing, whether it's climate change or mining, that it could impact these springs the future. >> these springs are heated by plate tectonics but the surface of the land could be affected by mining, overflow, deforestation, so these things might not always be there. carol: bloomberg businessweek is available on newsstands, online, and the mobile app.
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