Thursday, December 20, 2007
After the successful culmination of five years' worth of bootlicking by Stephen Roach, it's worth considering what other assets might tickle the fancy of CIC, ADIA, and other sovereign wealth funds in the future. After months of deliberation, thoughtful study, and cost-benefit analysis, the crack research team at Macro Man Industries has handed him the following list of future targets for SWFs. Be warned!
1) Manchester United, the Dallas Cowboys, and Yomiuri Giants. Carpetbagging ownership is swiftly becoming the bane of professional sports in some areas, notably the English Premiership. By purchasing a flagship team on three continents, SWFs could set the standard by which all other money-grabbing owners could be judged.
2) The Eiffel Tower. The Japanese bought MGM, Rockerfeller Center, and Pebble Beach Golf Club in the 80's. SWFs have more money that the Japanese ever did, so can set their "cultural icon" sights a bit higher. And with M. Sarkozy's attention otherwise engaged, they might even get a good deal.
3) The North Pole. Word on the street is that the Russian oil stabilization fund has already got this one in the bag.
4) The Beatles' back catalogue. Wacko Jacko could use a bit of dosh to pay for, er, more "medical procedures." Apparently, "Money" is quite a catchy number in both Arabic and Mandarin.
5) Africa. Dealing with corrupt regimes in the effort to secure resources can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. So why not just cut to the chase and buy the entire continent? Sure, it would infringe upon the African peoples' sovereignty, but that won't be a concern to the people who set US market interest rates and the EUR/USD exchange rate, now, will it?
6) Saturn's moons. The Cassini-Huygens mission has so far found hydrocarbons, potential geysers, and ferrous materials on Saturn's moons. If the commodity price boom continues, it will soon be cheaper to extract strategic resources from Phoebe, Hyperion, and the like than to mine them on Earth. In the race to lock up resources, he who dares, wins!
7) The Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery. 80's Japan paid outrageous sums for individual paintings. Nougthties SWFs can't be arsed to decide between the Van Gogh or the Monet, so why not just buy an entire museum or two? Afterwards, it'll be something like a Lucky Dip to see what it is that they've actually got. Imagine their joy and surprise when they find that they're now the proud owners of Chris Ofili "poo paintings" and thoughtful, sensitive works like Tracy Emin's bed.
8) The US Government. On second thought, given how many Treasuries they already own, perhaps we can say that SWFs and mercantilist CBs already own the US government.
9) Pearson, NewsCorp, and Google. Many of the countries with large SWFs are not exactly strict adherants to the concept of freedom of expression. Tired of the adverse coverage of their activities, mightn't the SWFs decide to buy the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Blogger.com to quiet pesky journalists and wise-ass bloggers?
10) A 9.9% stake in Goldman Sachs. Perhaps the most outlandish suggestion of the lot!