Billionaires: Michael Dell cashes in on record high shares

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Michael Dell is unloading shares in his namesake computer company for the first time in almost three years as Dell Technologies’ stock soars on artificial intelligence optimism.

Dell’s chief executive has been selling on a near daily basis since March 6 and has now disposed of more than four million shares worth about $465 million.

Michael Dell sells over $465 million worth of Dell Technologies shares amidst surging stock value. FTX's founder faces sentencing for $8 billion theft. Adam Neumann's Flow invests $300 million in Miami real estate. Joe Lewis pleads guilty to insider trading, seeks probation. Dell, Neumann, and Lewis rank among the world's wealthiest individuals.

He still owns half of the Texas-based company, the largest asset behind his $99.7 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which ranks him as the 13th-wealthiest person in the world.

A representative of Mr Dell’s family office, DFO Management, declined to comment.

Dell’s shares jumped 32 per cent on March 1 to a record high after the company reported sales and profit that beat analysts' estimates, fuelled by demand for technology that can support AI applications.

The stock has gained 52.48 per cent so far this year and is currently trading in the $114 range. Mr Dell, 59, who founded the company in 1984 while he was a student at the University of Texas, 

joins a growing number of tech billionaires selling stakes in their companies, including Meta Platforms chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Sam Bankman-Fried is delusional in claiming the possibility that customers of now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange may recover funds means he did not steal, his successor as chief executive said.

Bankman-Fried was convicted in November of stealing $8 billion from FTX customers.

In a victim impact statement filed in Manhattan federal court, Bankman-Fried's successor, John Ray, said FTX customers will recoup some losses because of the bankruptcy estate's efforts – and not because Bankman-Fried did not steal, according to a report by Reuters.

“Mr Bankman-Fried continues to live a life of delusion,” Mr Ray wrote. “There should be no delusion that because assets have increased in value or that the professionals have been able to recover funds and assets taken or stolen from the estate, that there was no need for the Chapter 11 cases.”

US judge Lewis Kaplan is scheduled to sentence Bankman-Fried on March 28 in Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors are seeking a 40 to 50-year prison term. Defence lawyers believe a sentence should reflect a “significant” reduction below the minimum five and one quarter years they say is called for under federal guidelines.

The 32-year-old former billionaire pleaded not guilty to seven fraud and conspiracy counts and has vowed to appeal against conviction.

Defence lawyer Marc Mukasey has said FTX customers would likely be made whole in the bankruptcy process, and that Bankman-Fried worked diligently after the exchange's November 2022 collapse to recover funds. He was arrested the next month.

“The memorandum distorts reality to support its precious 'loss' narrative and casts Sam as a depraved super-villain,” Mr Mukasey wrote, referring to prosecutors' sentencing proposal.

Prosecutors had argued that Bankman-Fried gambled with customers' money out of greed and wouldn't admit what he did was wrong.

How much customers will recover remains an open issue.

In court filings last week, several said they would be dissatisfied being paid based on what their cryptocurrency holdings were worth when FTX imploded, because those assets would be worth more now.

“Any delays and missed market swings should be attributed to operation of the bankruptcy code and not to Sam's alleged crimes,” Mr Mukasey wrote in a separate filing on Wednesday.

Mr Ray, who helped manage Enron after the energy trader's 2001 bankruptcy, said Bankman-Fried's theft meant many accounts had fewer assets than customers wanted to believe.

He also said FTX equity investors, whom Bankman-Fried was also convicted of conspiring to defraud, were unlikely to recover significant sums in the bankruptcy.

Adam Neumann
Adam Neumann’s real estate start-up Flow is planning to invest $300 million in Miami developments in an area that was known as tent city only a decade ago.

The plans include rental apartments, retail space and small offices, all within walking distance of each other in the city’s downtown area, according to a preliminary document filed this month on MuniOS, an online repository for municipal offerings.

A spokeswoman for Flow confirmed that the company owns and is building the projects. They are part of the Miami Worldcenter, an urban redevelopment venture that spans more than eight hectares, multiple city blocks and several developers.

The Miami venture provides a glimpse into Mr Neumann’s plans as he explores a joint bid with other investors for WeWork, the company he built into a $47 billion real estate giant before he was ousted and it fell into bankruptcy.

Flow, which Neumann founded after his exit from WeWork, raised $350 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in August 2022 at a $1 billion valuation.

The office and retail space is expected to be completed by next year and the developer is “in the process of submitting an application to obtain site plan approval for its current development plan”, the municipal offering document says.

Miami Worldcenter is raising about $240 million through a municipal bond sale. The almost 800-page memorandum for the deal says that 166 2nd Financial Services, the family office of Mr Neumann and his wife, is developing the projects. But the spokeswoman for Flow disputed that description.

“Any references that anyone falsely made to Adam, Rebekah or their family office are provably incorrect,” she said.

A spokesman for the Miami Worldcenter said the document would be updated to reflect Flow’s ownership of the projects. The deal is expected to be priced on March 26, according to the investor roadshow document.

The involvement of firms linked to Mr Neumann in Miami Worldcenter dates back to at least 2021, according to the document, with the purchase of a 44-storey residential tower called the Caoba. As of December, 95 per cent of units in the building were occupied.

Flow and developers of the original Caoba tower – Florida-based Falcone Group and Merrimac Ventures – are building another 41-storey apartment tower next door. The building is expected to be completed this year, the document says.

Across the street, Flow is also planning 19,000 square feet of retail space and 40,000 square feet of office space by 2025.

The buildings could be worth about $300 million, according to an estimate by Concord Group, a real estate consulting firm, which was included in the document.

Mr Neumann is worth $1.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Joe Lewis
British billionaire Joe Lewis says he should be spared prison time after pleading guilty to insider trading and instead be put on supervised release for three years and fined $5 million.

Mr Lewis’s advanced age – he is 87 – and his co-operation with prosecutors are among the factors that weigh in favour of probation over prison, his lawyers said in a court filing.

In January, the investor who rose spectacularly from London’s East End to become one of Britain’s richest men admitted in the Manhattan federal court to three counts of securities fraud, including conspiracy.

US prosecutors had charged him with passing inside corporate information to his private pilots and his girlfriend.

Mr Lewis is the founder of the investment firm Tavistock Group, which has stakes in more than 200 companies, including luxury hotels, resorts and sports. He is also the former owner of the Tottenham Hotspur Premier League football team.

He and his family have a net worth of $7.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Under his plea agreement, prosecutors agreed not to oppose a sentence lower than the range suggested under federal sentencing guidelines of 18 to 24 months in prison, Mr Lewis’s lawyers said in the filing.

His lawyers offered another reason to keep him out of prison: As a foreigner, Mr Lewis would not be eligible to serve time in a prison camp with a dormitory setting, but instead would be sent to a higher-security facility with “a more dangerous inmate population”.

He is due to be sentenced on April 4 by US District Judge Jessica Clarke. The government has yet to weigh in with its sentencing recommendation. 


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