In a bombshell report published Monday by the New York Times
NYT
, hedge fund tycoon Leon Black—whose net worth Forbes estimates to be $8 billion—transferred at least $50 million to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein between 2012 to 2017, in a professional relationship that ended in 2018 when the two men had a falling out over a “fee dispute.”

Although Jeffrey Epstein has been dead for over a year, having taken his own life in a Manhattan lockup in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges, many questions—including how extensive his alleged sex ring of underage girls actually was—remain. From a financial perspective, many people wonder how Epstein, born to a working-class family in Brooklyn, New York, managed to get his hands on hundreds of millions of dollars throughout his lifetime, and use some of those funds to prop up his alleged sexual predation.

Forbes was the first to report the revelation from podcast Broken: Seeking Justice that late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell could have been one of Epstein’s earliest sources of wealth. Maxwell’s prized daughter, Ghislaine Maxwell, was reportedly introduced to Epstein by her father as early as 1988, before his mysterious drowning death off the Canary Islands in 1991. A deposition uncovered by the podcast revealed that Ghislaine Maxwell, who’s awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges in Brooklyn, may have had access to some of her father’s wealth after his death, including the $500 million in pension funds he stole from his own company.

During Epstein’s high-rolling years in the late 1990s, he managed the fortunes of L Brands
LB
CEO and chairman Leslie

It would be an understatement to say that Canadian pot producer Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) is having a tough go. The company is coming off a disappointing fourth quarter in which its sales declined 5% from the previous period, and it is forecasting revenue to continue its fall in the next quarter. It has a new CEO, but there are no signs that the leadership switch will provide any immediate fixes. Its shares are already down more than 80% this year and could continue to fall even further. Needless to say, this is not what investors were hoping for.

When billionaire investor Nelson Peltz joined Aurora in 2019, many investors saw him as someone who could add stability and unlock growth opportunities, by using his connections to broker a deal with a company from another industry, not unlike the arrangement rival Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) has with Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ). But since coming aboard, there haven’t been any hoped-for blockbuster deals. Now that he’s resigned, it’s hard not to look back on Peltz’s time with the company as a disappointment. Let’s take a look at what factors may have impacted his ability to make a deal.

Two men, one wearing a black suit and the other in a white shirt, shake hands.

Image source: Getty Images

There were deals happening in the beverage industry, but Aurora stayed on the sidelines

The bulk of the deals in the cannabis industry so far have involved beverage companies looking to tap into a new segment: cannabis beverages. Besides Constellation and Canopy Growth, other notable deals include Tilray‘s partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev and HEXO‘s joint venture with Molson Coors. Constellation’s situation, however, is the only one in which a company actually spent billions of dollars investing directly in a cannabis producer. It’s been evident over the past few years that if you’re a cannabis company

Billionaire casino mogul Phil Ruffin disputes that there was anything unusual about a multi-million dollar payment the Las Vegas hotel he co-owns with President Donald Trump made to the Republican candidate during the 2016 election.

The New York Times published a story Friday examining the one-time payment to Trump as part of its ongoing coverage of the president’s tax returns. The story asserted that Trump was in desperate need of cash as he self-financed his 2016 campaign.

The story builds on a 2019 Kansas City Star story in which Ruffin disclosed that the hotel made a $28 million payment to Trump in 2016 for back fees.

The New York Times story states that the total payment was $21 million based on Trump’s tax returns, but in an interview with The Star Friday, Ruffin continued to assert that the amount was $28 million.

Ruffin, who grew up in Wichita, said that the money was for licensing fees the hotel owed Trump as part of their joint venture.

“It was fees we owed him and the property owed him, and so he got paid. What he did with the money, I don’t know,” Ruffin said Friday. “It’s his money. … He accumulated over a 10-year period these fees and he didn’t ask for it until the property was paid off. It’s a straight deal.”

Ruffin first disclosed the payment in 2019 when Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, faced questions during a House Oversight Committee hearing about payments from a Kansas businessman.

Ruffin lives in Las Vegas, but maintains holdings in Kansas, including the Wichita Greyhound Park and the Woodlands racetrack in Kansas City, Kansas.

“It was branded a Trump hotel and Trump has value. These were fees that we agreed to when we built the damn thing,” Ruffin said Friday, disputing

Norman Pearlstine is about to be out of a job and likely is breathing a sigh of relief. Having successfully run major media entities like Forbes, Time Inc. and the Wall Street Journal, Pearlstine has tried for the past two and a half years to steer the recovery of the Los Angeles Times. He’s had some positive things working for him: A supportive billionaire publisher who has supplied massive refinancing and a gorgeous new headquarters. Also an eager readership that has survived years of frustration because of mismanagement.

Nothing can be more ominous than good portents, however: Despite Pearlstine’s stalwart efforts, and a near doubling of digital readership, the Times staff has seemed bent on self-immolation with its editors and reporters delivering more apologies than news. Last month, the newspaper published a special editorial section declaring its regrets for gaps in coverage dating back to the 19th century. As for Pearlstine, the executive editor, he has decided to move on.

To some in the media business, the problems of Times ring an alarm bell: Just as the Times can’t seem to overcome the forces of divisiveness and gloom, are other corporate entities destined for a similar fate?

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Trump administration, whose statements have poisoned moves toward cohesion, last week officially suspended all government diversity training programs. According to Trump’s executive order, these programs have only succeeded in propagating “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.”

So what is the appropriate response? “Donald Trump is about to be defeated and it’s time for people to snap out of it, stop talking about moving to New Zealand and start building on the recovery,” comments the CEO of one media company who insists on talking off the record. “We’ve got to put

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON, Oct 9 (Reuters)Billionaire investor Daniel Och, who founded hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management, said in a filing on Friday that he plans to raise $750 million through a blank check acquisition vehicle, becoming the latest major hedge fund investor to launch one.

Och, who started Och-Ziff in 1994, retired as its chief executive in 2018 and left the firm, which is now called Sculptor Capital Management SCU.N, last year.

Ajax I, will be managed by Och and investor Glenn Fuhrman, who co-founded MSD Capital, which manages Michael Dell’s fortune, in 1998. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, 23andme co-founder Anne Wojcicki and Chipotle founder Steve Ells will serve on the board.

Ajax sponsors have reduced the promote to 10% instead of the usual 20%, according to the regulatory filing.

Ajax said it will seek a company that operates in the internet, software, financial technology or consumer industries.

Och, through his family office Willoughby Capital Holdings, has a long track record of investing in technology companies including Coinbase, Instacart, Stripe and Robinhood.

He now joins the ranks of hedge fund managers William Ackman’s Pershing Square, Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value LP and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC who have all raised pools of capital known as special purpose acquisition companies (SPACS).

A SPAC is a shell company that raises money through an initial public offering to buy an operating entity, typically within two years.

In total, 112 SPACS have raised $42.9 billion through an IPO in the first nine months of 2020, making it the biggest year on record, according to SPAC Research data.

A merger with a SPAC allows a private company to access capital quickly and quietly, which is especially beneficial during the volatile trading conditions that have been influenced