Archive for May, 2011

Power Breakfast: Owners negotiating sale of Atlanta Hawks, state budget, AGCO, WellStar, IMF, oil breaks

The Thrashers aren’t the only team that the Atlanta Spirit ownership group is discussing selling, AJC reporter Tim Tucker writes.

The Spirit, in the process of negotiating a deal that would send the hockey team to Winnipeg, also is in talks about a possible separate sale of the basketball Hawks, who would remain in Atlanta, Tucker reports.

Two people familiar with the situation, both of whom asked not to be identified because of the ongoing talks, told Tucker that the Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores are in an exclusive negotiating period regarding the Hawks and the Philips Arena operating rights. Both people said a deal is not close and that it’s far from assured one will get done, Tucker writes.

The exclusive negotiating period means the owners agreed not to pursue the sale of the Hawks to any other prospective purchaser for a prescribed period of time, Tucker reports. It is not known when Moores’ exclusivity expires.

Meanwhile, …

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Fiscal crises spur growth of public-private partnerships

You’re going to hear a lot more about what the insiders call “P3” in the days and years to come — and at least one Atlanta law firm is ready to pounce.

Jeff Haidet

Jeff Haidet

I’m talking about public-private partnerships — a financial arrangement that is becoming more popular as state, local and federal governments wrestle with fiscal crunches.

“P3 is gaining in popularity because it’s a solution to funding constraints. Governments still have to provide services,” said Jeff Haidet, chairman of the McKenna Long & Aldridge law firm, which specializes in helping companies navigate the twists and turns of doing business with government.

The politically connected firm boasts a roster that includes Howard Dean and Zell Miller as consultants, as well as full-timers with Republican and Democratic pedigrees. Among the local ones are Gordon Giffin (former U.S. ambassador to Canada in the Clinton administration), Eric Tanenblatt (former chief of staff for Gov. Sonny Perdue) and …

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Power Breakfast: Atlanta may lose Thrashers to Winnipeg, foreclosure notices up, ICE, natural gas, IMF, Madoff

Will Atlanta lose an NHL team to Canada for the second time?

The Atlanta Spirit is in negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment on the sale of the Thrashers — which would result in relocation to Winnipeg, AJC writer Chris Vivlamore is reporting, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The parties have not entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement nor has a deal been reached, Vivlamore writes. It is not known how long the two sides have been negotiating.

However, the fact that talks are underway could mean the Thrashers’ relocation, perhaps as soon as next season, Vivlamore writes.

According to a person familiar with the Thrashers’ situation, a meeting was held Monday between team officials and a prospective buyer interested in keeping the team in Atlanta, Vivlamore reports. But the talks have not progressed.

Twenty-one years ago, Atlanta lost its first NHL team when the Flames moved to Calgary.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Atlanta may lose Thrashers to Winnipeg, foreclosure notices up, ICE, natural gas, IMF, Madoff »

Metro foreclosure notices rise 22% in May due to longer time period

Foreclosure notices for metro Atlanta rose 22 percent in May from April, but the new figures released Tuesday require further explanation to get a better understanding of what’s going on.

First, the 9,530 notices in the 13-county metro area is a relatively small number during this housing crisis when there are five weeks in a month for lenders to prepare foreclosure ads for publication, said Barry Bramlett, president of Kennesaw-based Equity Depot, which compiled the data. May this year was such a month.

Over the past two years, the numbers generally have been running from a low of about 10,000 notices to a high of about 13,800 when there’s an extra week in a month for foreclosure notices to be prepared, Equity Depot data show.

Secondly, Bramlett said, the 22 percent monthly increase is coming off an April base of 7,784 notices — the lowest number in 27 months.

But what is not yet known, Bramlett said, is whether the situation is improving, or whether delays caused by the …

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Off for a few days

I will be taking off Friday and Monday.

Power Breakfast, my column and other news will resume Tuesday morning.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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Oil and gas prices are heading down

There is mounting evidence that highly volatile oil prices are retreating. Can gas prices be far behind?

Oil prices hovered near $98 a barrel Thursday in Asia as investors anticipate the likely end of an aggressive U.S. monetary stimulus, Associated Press reports.

That’s quite a decline from a 30-month high of almost $115 on May 2, AP reports.

The second round of a Federal Reserve program of buying Treasury bonds, known as quantitative easing, has helped boost the money supply and weaken the U.S. dollar, AP writes. That makes commodities such as oil more expensive here.

The bond buying program is scheduled to end next month.

“The major policy that has shaped oil prices is winding down,” Cameron Hanover said in a report. “As long as the Fed does not come up with a third round of quantitative easing, the major reason for oil price strength will be gone.”

A third round is unlikely now. In fact, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told me that in a recent interview.

On the …

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Power Breakfast: Metro Atlanta graying quickly, Newnan Yamaha adding jobs, state revenue up

Metro Atlanta is rapidly graying, creating new priorities and problems for a region largely geared to young people and working families, AJC reporters Craig Schneider and John Perry write.

The number of people 65 and older grew by 44 percent from 2000 to 2010 within Atlanta’s 28-county metropolitan statistical area, according to U.S. Census figures released today.

That’s 145,000 additional seniors who need their own types of housing, transportation and recreational activities — bringing the total number of seniors to nearly 472,000, the reporters write. In many areas, service providers are failing to keep pace with demand.

The regional growth of the senior population greatly exceeded the rate of overall population growth, which was 24 percent, the reporters write. The Atlanta region also is graying considerably faster than the nation as a whole.

The trend is being driven by baby boomers who are becoming senior citizens and older adults who are living longer, the …

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Do students who won investment contest have lesson for you?

Three Clayton County fifth-graders recently beat more than 3,800 teams of students to win the top spot in the Georgia Stock Market Game, AJC writer Tammy Joyner reports.

Not only did Jaylen Thompkins, Jacob Thomas and Kenny Chong beat the competition statewide, they outperformed the U.S. stock market— all while managing their investments during the after-school program at E.W. Oliver Elementary School in Riverdale, Joyner writes.

The trio earned nearly $63,000 on an initial hypothetical investment of $100,000 in the 10-week contest. They outperformed the stock market by 58 percent, Joyner reports.

Their portfolio consisted mainly of one stock — not the strategy money managers advise for investing real money, Joyner writes. They started with three stocks, but wound up basically betting the farm on pulp paper company Mercer International.

Is there a lesson here? If you play in a risky game like the market, then should some of your money go against conventional …

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Power Breakfast: Porsche may be heading to old Hapeville Ford plant, Wendy’s/Arby’s, Sears, Southwest, Tech

AJC reporter Rachel Tobin has an interesting story today about the next move for the old Ford plant:

In a rare loss for the northern suburbs, Porsche is expected to move its North American headquarters and what could be hundreds of jobs from Sandy Springs to the old Ford plant site near Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport.

As part of the deal, Porsche will build offices where the plant was demolished and a test track similar to its Porsche Silverstone facility in England.

According to people familiar with the plans but who asked not to be identified because they had not been authorized to speak publicly, the announcement will come on Thursday. Economic development officials from Georgia, Atlanta and Fulton County will take part, though their possible roles in the project are unclear.

News of the move, which could involve a couple hundred sales and marketing jobs to Atlanta’s Southside, is an anomaly for the northern suburbs.

But it’s a big win for the airport …

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Atlanta Fed chief says persistent inflation not in the cards

Will metro Atlanta be able to narrow the gap between its above-average unemployment rate and the nation’s anytime soon?

Dennis Lockhart

Dennis Lockhart

Is persistent inflation about to raise its ugly head, fueled by gas prices?

Are we headed for another recession or serious slowdown?

No — on all counts. That’s what Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, told me when I sat down with him last week.

“Atlanta continues to recover at a pace slightly lagging the national economy,” said Lockhart, who has headed the Fed’s six-state southeastern region for the last four years. “We haven’t discovered oil under Atlanta that creates a … driver that’s unconnected with the broader economy.”

So like the nation, Atlanta is stuck with slogging through this economy, making “gradual” improvements over the next few years, Lockhart said. But Atlanta has a steeper climb, since its jobless rate is 9.8 percent, while the nation’s is 9 percent.

Why is that, Mr. Lockhart?

In a nutshell, he …

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