BERAL, INC.
Andrew Racz
Director of Research
300 East 54 Street, Suite 26C
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 319-6949
Fax: (212) 753-1944
E-mail: mlikar@aol.com

They Made A Difference

September 30, 2009

Saul Steinberg
Leasco
The Sixties

J. Crosby
Resort International
The Glory Days

Robert Friedland
Mongolia
The Age of Commodities

Marie Bartiromo

The Voice of the
21st Century

The three stocks in my lifetime that made the difference

I presume it is romantic, but in fact, it is true. There were three companies, three stocks, three corporate presidents, who came into my life since I immigrated to the United States. It was January 1964. I came on the Queen Elizabeth. I spent the New Years with Prime Minister Edward Heath and danced with Olivia de Havilland. Then I met Saul Steinberg of Leasco (1967), Jimmy Crosby of Resort International (1978) and Robert Friedland of Sirius Satellite (1994). They made the difference. In fact, I picked up this remark from President Nixon's book, who selected great people whom he had contact with in his life and the criteria he said was, they made a difference.

I did know David Frost. He was at Cambridge and on a few occasions I talked to him. I liked the Frost Nixon Movie and I'm gratified to say that he is still alive, celebrity in London and perhaps next time when I am in the United Kingdom, I could see the man who at some stage of his life represented "the age we live in".

Let us now go back to the three heroes whom I consider, not only being tremendous success, but made the difference in the time we lived in.

The first is Saul Steinberg. I met Saul, or rather I first met his company Leasco in early 1966. Leasco was the darling of the stock exchange. He went public for $500,000 through Michael Katz, a small underwriter. Within a few years, the leading computer leasing company, domiciled in #1 Lincoln Place, Great Neck, had been perhaps the most talked about company in America. Saul was 27 years old.

To begin with, since underwriting in 1962, Leasco has gone up 5,000%. Stockholders of Leasco have become multimillionaires. Saul had the personality, touch, castle on the North Shore of Long Island, frankly a place I've only seen in the first class cabins of Queen Elizabeth in 1961 when I crossed the Atlantic as a student for a six week study course. A leading British cabinet minister gave me a half hour appointment because of my adventures in the Belgium, Congo and my interview with President Sir Roy Welensky. Actually, I also had a taped interview with Katongo President Moise Thsombe who eliminated Lumumba.

Now, let's go back to Leasco. It was representative of a group of companies who leased IBM 360 computers and by changing the depreciation schedules they had seen tremendous growth in earnings. These earnings progress was followed by the increase of the price of stock and surprisingly the head of some of these companies, were first class entrepreneurs.

Actually, I came close to a competitor of this in late 1965, a company called Data Processing Financial General sponsored by Allan & Co. The flight of Data Processing was equally impressive; from $20 to $160 but then came another bombshell. A deal of the century. The people who run this leasing company which one could have said that were nothing but bookkeeping, but intelligent, constructive people, dynamic people, and people who wanted to do something with their company and with their lives. Data Processing made a tender offer for A&P. In the 1960s A&P which was owned by Huntington Hartford was on every street corner in New York City who was a person known for six failed marriages. Nevertheless, for a computer leasing company which didn't exist a few years before, to make a tender offer for A&P, was a totally unheard of issue and hopefully one day, they will teach the whole history performance and results at the Harvard Business School.

However, Leasco got recognition far above its competitors. Undoubtedly, the personality of a young man, then age 25-26, who actually went to the Wharton Business School who brought in his whole family to run the company, represented something very commendable in the 1960s. Second, Leasco made gradual acquisitions, computer software company, value opinion research company, a container leasing company; in other words, it represented a gross pattern with which was typical in that period when conglomerates were becoming the order of the day.

For all intents and purposes, Leasco was a conglomerate and it was headed by a man who in 1966 when I met him, was only 28 years old. He had subsidiaries in Italy, in Germany, and was about to expand further in Europe. He borrowed a lot of money, but his capital structure was solid. He raised money whenever he could; equity money. He used a first class law firm, Wilkie, Fahr and Gallagher. The president of Leasco was Bernie Schwartz, an accountant for the Steinberg family who later became the legendary head of Loral Corporation.

I was a research analyst. So when I met the Seinbergs they explained to me their philosophy in the financial service area and I wrote an 80 page report. Shortly after I finished my work, Steinberg had made the tender offer for Reliance Insurance, a $2 billion insurance company probably 200 size of Leasco. We lived in an age, I mentioned, the conglomerate era, when papers were exchanged for paper. Leasco offered $2.20 convertible preferred, and half of a $56 warrant, all newly issued securities. Leasco captured the giant insurance company.

In early 1968, with the successful conclusion of the Reliance acquisition, Steinberg becomes part of the Establishment. I played an active role in the birth of the Steinberg Empire. I had to admit the Steinberg family and Bernie have done a great deal for me. They lifted me out of the mentality and atmosphere an immigrant lives in and suddenly I felt myself, not the establishment, but part of a movement – part of an enthusiastic movement which was a welcomed change from a man who was educated in war torn Europe and struggling financially and socially in the United States and formerly in England. Actually, I studied in Cambridge (UK).

Leasco opened the door for me.

I also tried to open the door for Leasco too. With Bernie Schwartz, I traveled around the country with my 80 page report and we visited perhaps 100 institutions at various meetings.

What I knew that Steinberg was interested in buying a bank. However, I didn't know and didn't suspect that the 29 year old head of financial service company, who at that time, moved to 280 Park Avenue South, was interested to buy Chemical Bank.

Chemical Bank was the 7th largest bank in New York City at a time when Nelson Rockefeller, the brother of David Rockefeller, head of Chase, was governor.

With the deal was announced, it was one of the biggest turmoil in financial history. Actually, there was a snowstorm in New York and all the bankers were in New York. They talked about Leasco and Reliance, Steinberg and Chemical.

I'll never forget. Mr. Renchard, the head of Chemical who announced to the New York Times, and I quote "we intend to oppose it with every power at our disposal and this may turn out to be considered quite unthinkable". The story basically ends here. Steinberg didn't get Chemical. He was badly beaten. He recovered. At the age of 31 he reorganized himself and his company, and Reliance Insurance in 1989 went Private at the price of $100 a share.

I never forget, how young people and we were roughly at the same age, his brother Bobby was a few years younger, gravitated in the 60s from obscurity with hard work, imagination, diligence, to heights which perhaps no other age would have permitted us.

The 1960s were difficult years. It was characterized by social unrest, by the Vietnam war, the country had torn itself to pieces. Young people who objected escaped from the United States, but there was an island called Leasco that attracted many people whose principal aim was to build companies and make money. We were, decent people with decent families, decent children. Actually, Saul's son Jonathan Steinberg is the head of Wisdom Tree – one of the nation's leading EFT companies.

Let me, however, end the story. What is America all about?

The subsequent 10 years were not considered the most glorious and imaginative 10 years in American history. In fact, there was a market collapse, double digit interest rates, mediocre political leadership, a surrender to higher oil prices. Actually in 1977, in selecting the Man of the Year for my newsletter, I selected and I got complemented; I selected Sheik Yamani. Sheik Yamani was not American.

His last meaningful and in fact quite meaningful memory I have is what I call the Steinberg days of war my family life was. In late 1968 when there was an opening in Hungary to smuggle my younger brother out of the country. He was 26.

When I heard that such opening is available I remember I called up Bobby at Leasco office at Lincoln Place. Within a few minutes, Saul came on the telephone and in a very forceful manner said, listen, this is a very serious matter. I take it 100% in my hands and I guarantee you that your brother in one week will be in the United States.

I don't want to go into details how it happened. It happened. It wasn't easy. It could have only been done with Steinberg's power, but it was done by Saul Steinberg in the 1960s between a highly successful young entrepreneur and an immigrant analyst, myself. My brother is still alive and lives in America.

Now let's go back to the period of the very 10 years and try to remember what shook up the country and what even in the stock market shook up the stock market.

In May 1978, Resort International headed by James Crosby and Jack Davis, opened their door in Atlantic City. It was the first casino away from Nevada and it covered 90 miles in each direction with potential gamblers.

Resort International, of the Bahamas, didn't have the best possible reputation. In fact, there was word that Meyer Lansky was associated with Resort, but Resort International with all its controversy opened its door in May 1978. The effect was incredibly positive. First of all, for days every morning instead of Good Morning America, they were talking about Resort International. Suddenly James Crosby became a household word; so was gambling. The opening was on a Friday, and I suddenly received an invitation that Mr. Crosby was sending his limousine to receive me on the first Saturday and Sunday in the Casino. For the life of me, I have never known why I was selected. Actually, I have never been inside the Casino except once. I never gambled more than $160. I was bored by gambling, but there was no gambling analyst in America and somehow or other, Mr. Crosby put me into his confidence.

I went on. It was a dilapidated old hotel converted to casino, absolutely filled up with people, lines from various double doors, and here I was in the heart of a new world which captivated the attention of America.

After going through the facilities, Crosby asked me at around 10 o'clock at the bar, how much is my stock worth? I tried to be polite and also constructive, so I said $50. The stock was less than $20 then. He said how about $150?

We then spent an hour or so talking about gambling, stock market, and Crosby very soon discovered my interest in President Nixon.

He told me a story which I still remember saying that in early 1968, he flew from the Bahamas to New York and went up to Nixon's Fifth Avenue apartment. The former Vice President, then of course, lawyer, was a bit late and Crosby talked to Mrs. Nixon and the family. When Nixon arrived he said, look Dick here is two hundred – that's all we managed to scrape together for the New Hampshire primary. But tell me Dick, why are you killing yourself? Nice home. Nice family. Nice job.

When I first met Nixon a few years later and I mentioned Crosby's name, Nixon smiled and said, Jimmy Crosby was a very big help to us. You know, we had to fight a Rockefeller.

I wrote up my report during the weekend on Resort, the numbers were astronomical - $600,000 win in the first day. And the Resort only had 3 million shares outstanding. This stock started to jump $5 or $10 a day. I was told that my British friend, Jimmy Slater, was one of the major buyers and his friend, Sir James Goldsmith. Resort ran up to $200 and since I was with the first report out, I had dinner invitation every night for three months. My favorite restaurant was Laurent at 57th Street, and La Circque at 65th Street. Somebody always entertained me during those days.

Somewhere in the middle, when Resort was $80 or $100, they gave a party to which 250 money managers and analysts came. Some very well know named industrialists where there including Jerry Tsai and if I am correct, George Soros.

I made a short introduction speech saying that the story of Resort International couldn't have happened except in 1978, in America, during the Carter Administration and which I received highly appreciated applause.

But what was even more telling that a certain money manager, who didn't like the reputation of the Resort family, shorted the stock. Of course, everyday his position became worse and worse. He traveled around the world to escape reality until in Hong Kong he said something which was very moving, unfortunately, this individual was very moving and very telling. He said that Resort happened in 1978. The fact that he didn't take into consideration, that the 1970s nothing has worked for America. Resort was the first venture which worked.

That remark left a very deep mark in my thinking. In order to have an astronomical winner, in order to strike it big, in order to make money for many people, the events will have to create the publicity. However, the facts have to make the difference.

This is not a story to tell what's happened to gambling in America and in the world, in the building of Atlantic City. America needed a real winner.

 Resort International shook up the stock market, shook up Wall Street, but shook up the American people towards a very simple concept that we can succeed. Within a few months, a whole city was built around Atlantic City. Everybody talked about Resort, gambling. First and foremost – the country regained its pride.

In the 1970s probably many people bet against America. Resort International actually going from $2 to $200 in six months. Resort International, an American Company, defeated them all.

Betting Against America Did Not Pay!

And now let's return to the last major enterprise, the major success whose futures have not yet been decided. In fact, it is my considered opinion that we have seen nothing about the mineral deposits of Mongolia.

The Mongolian miracle which so far created the largest gold and copper deposits in the history of mankind in a country which is the 6th largest in the world, and is destined to be the 10th richest country in the world. It is tied to an individual who is probably more controversial and complicated than anybody I have ever met.

I met Robert Friedland in August 1994 when he was trying to bring public from the Carlyle Hotel a company called CD Radio. It later became Sirius Satellite, and of course, books have been written about it. Satellites were supplied by Bernie, then chairman of Loral Satellite.

In August 1994, he had no takers in the United States. I recognized that satellite radios in the car, is a brilliant idea.

Frankly, if Robert Friedland would have done nothing, but bring about the success of his CD Radio, he would have entered corporate history.

Two months later, when he invited me to Vancouver, BC to study his other company, Diamond Field Resources, he had the biggest mining discovery in the history of Canada. It was nickel, cobalt and copper, mainly of course, nickel and its size which was a total surprise, totally revolutionized the Canadian stock markets.

I was simply lucky to have dinner with this co-chairman, Mr. Jean Boulle, at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver the night when the news hit Mr. Boulle from the fields.

I had served introductions to Mr. Boulle to the chairman of First Boston whom I knew. Later on the company was sold at for $4 billion Canadian to International Nickel.

Mr. Friedland pocketed something like $500 million and Diamond Field made him a very wealthy man.

He and I witnessed played very little role in the discovery but in structuring the finances, the sale and setting up the financial activities, he took the lead role or rather the solo role. Friedland does, like President Kennedy, goes for the moon. Diamond Field changed the Vancouver and Toronto stock exchange that no other company had changed before.

Several years later Mr. Friedland emerged with his Mongolian venture and some eye-catching economical number were floated around. Frankly, I can tell that in October 1994 when Diamond Field happened the very equally ambitious and forward looking numbers, were floated but next to nothing what the Mongolian miracle represented.

I don't want to summarize the three years of negotiations between the Mongolian government and Ivanhoe, Mr. Friedland's holding company, but I have reason to believe that by the time this article is typed and corrected, signatures of the Mongolian government is there.

Actually, the President of Mongolia confirmed a $50B pricing deal on Bloomberg. $50B in 2009, 12 times the $4B deal in 1998. Friedland has traveled fast. In fact, if the price of gold doubles to $2,000 – the deal is worth $100 billion. Churchill in England, Friedland is Mongolia! Number One Citizens of the World!

Ivanhoe is an entrepreneurial story and a political story. It is a political story because Mongolia is an independent small country and so far and hopefully forever, avoid to become the fate of other small countries in the Far East like North Korea, Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. These countries are all politically enmeshed in a fight which has no merit and only destructive political and personal elements are involved.

The other part is that Ivanhoe and that is Mr. Friedland's achievement, is developing something so unique that maybe bigger than any mining financial conglomerates in the history of mankind.

Surely there was an Anglo-American a hundred years ago. What did Anglo-American achieve?

I have been many times in Johannesburg, and you see a totally modern metropolis with almost 2 ½ million people, high rises, modern highways, beautiful suburbs; it all basically originated from the gold and mineral production of Anglo-American which was established by Frederick Oppenheimer, Harry Oppenheimer his son, and Sir Cecil Rhodes.

The catalyst of gold is tremendous.

Ivanhoe is not yet publicized in the financial or political press although the facts are available. Of the 400 million original share, 100 million is owned by Mr. Friedland. At the moment, 10% is owned by Rio and they have the right by October 27 to purchase another 10% approximately at $10 Canadian a share.

Rio has an option to buy another 30% again roughly at $10 Canadian bringing its total ownership to 43.1% of Ivanhoe.

Seven unidentified independent wealthy groups in the Far East so far express the desire to buy 9.9% of the account of Ivanhoe at the price not yet decided. It is my assumption that instead of 10%, there will be at higher prices another 10 or 15% buyers for Ivanhoe.

The current base indicate a total investment in Ivanhoe by various parties $2.4 billion. If my assumption is correct, and there will be other bidders, the total investment in Ivanhoe will be $4 billion.

And this is where the brilliance of Mr. Friedland and the historic event has to be measured. There is only one Mongolia which has of course the mineral reserves.

There is only one company, namely Ivanhoe, which will take all the gold and copper and other minerals and then resell it on the open market or under contract.

Everybody else in the picture including Rio, including future investors, are nothing but investors who provide money. The glory, the power is in two hands …. One Ivanhoe, namely Robert Friedland and individual investors like myself who buys and sells stocks on the open market. All the other investors are nothing but contractual investors.

The result is that in the Far East, in far away country, about which we know very little, has gone into partnership with a Singapore based, Canadian entrepreneur who not only discovered the world's largest gold and copper reserves, made a deal with the Mongolian government of mutual understanding, raised at least $4 billion, and possibly too incorporating $5 or $6 billion and will stand as the largest mining finance holding company certainly in the 21st Century.

What makes the difference? Mr. Friedland has made the difference but the public hasn't yet recognized the difference. The difference is that with his will power, imagination, and his contacts, he has masterminded a company of international stature, supplying probably one of the largest amount of copper to China, creating a powerful company whose market kept not very far away will be $10 billion. And this has made a difference. Potentially a $10 billion company has been created in a matter of a few years. It is the creation of human efforts, human understanding, correct negotiations, and an obligation of intellectual work to deliver the mining products to the marketplace.

It has been done in a period when at least our last few years has been known for financial thievery, for politicians flooding the market with more money, for people losing their jobs. It was created in the 21st Century. It shows that we don't have surround it with bad politics, bad banking, management, give up employment, unnecessary wars all over the world. Mankind can still deliver, and that is what made the difference.

It has been estimated for America the Iraqi war cost $1 trillion. To put venture market price of Ivanhoe if certain events will take place in the next few days is only $10 billion. It is a ratio of 100:1. It is history's biggest while colors blunder, unfortunately Washington's blunder.

When we will defeat the possibility of another trillion dollar waste and make sure that Ivanhoe will increase its market value from 10 to 20 or 30 billion dollars, we can say that Ivanhoe and Mr. Friedland and all their friends and partners together including the Mongolian government, have made the difference.

And, this is the end of my presentation. I tried to be factual in each case. I am lucky that I was present in the building of all the three companies who made the difference.

May I finally say, and I hope that the generation who follows all of us … Steinberg, the late Crosby, Robert Friedland and his colleagues and myself, is followed by imaginative and creative people.

May I therefore respectfully state that the next generation is represented by a unique person, Ms. Maria Bartiromo, the daughter-in-law of Saul Steinberg.

There is no doubt as a worldwide television personality Maria Bartiromo has made a difference!

Disclaimer

Information contained herein is based on data obtained from recognized statistical services, issuers reports or communications or other sources believed to be reliable. However, such information has not been verified by us and we do not make any representation to its accuracy or completeness. Any statement non-factual in nature constitutes only current opinions which are subject to change. BERAL INC. or their officers, directors, analysts or employees may have positions in the securities or commodities referred to herein, and may as principal or agent buy and sell such securities or commodities. An employee, analyst, officer or a director of BERAL INC. may serve as a director for companies mentioned in this report. Neither the information nor any comment expressed shall constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or commodities mentioned herein. There may be instances when fundamental, technical and competitive opinions may not be in concert. This firm may from time to time perform investment banking or other services for or which investment banking or other businesses from any company mentioned in this report.

 

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Posted May 31, 2007

"Bayswater Uranium Corp."
Posted May 30, 2007 

"Brilliant Mining Corp."
Posted May 22, 2007

"Golden Valley Mines, Ltd"
Posted April 21, 2007

"Warren Buffett - Franklin Roosevelt"
Posted March 15, 2007

"Rubicon Minerals Corp."
Posted March 1, 2007

"Robert Friedland -
The Man of The Year"

Posted February 21, 2007

"Lexam Exploration, Inc."
Posted February 11, 2007

"My Father Died In Auschwitz"
Posted January 19, 2007

"WisdomTree Investments, Inc."
Posted December 26, 2006

"Entrée Gold Inc."
Posted December 13, 2006

"Aero Mechanical Services, Ltd"
Posted November 17, 2006

"This Year I"m Voting For Dick Nixon"
Posted November 7, 2006

"Global Options
Group, Inc."

Posted November 1, 2006

"The Arrival of the
Nickel Billionaires"

Posted October 18, 2006

"The Kennedy-Nixon debate revisited"
Posted October 4, 2006

"Brilliant Mining Corp."
Posted September 17, 2006

"A Matter of Reasonable Doubt"
Ken Lay - Enron

Posted August 30, 2006

"Silver Wheaton - SLW"
Posted August 28, 2006 

"Silver In The
Twenty-First Century"

Posted August 16, 2006

"The Age of Mediocrity"
Posted July 19, 2006

"Let There Be Sunshine"
Kirk Kerkorian

Posted July 12, 2006

"Oil & Gas
Energy Crisis Solution"

Posted July 3, 2006

"I Am An Immigrant!"
Posted June 7, 2006

"Northern Star
Mining Corp."

Posted May 19, 2006 

"Gateway Gold:
It"s A Gold Story"

Posted May 15, 2006

"Ken Lay's Legacy"
Posted May 8, 2006

"The Principal Guest Was Missing"
Posted April 25, 2006

"J.P. Morgan Offers Advice To Ken Lay"
Posted April 11, 2006

"Pocketful Of
Miracles"

Posted April 8, 2006 

"Midway Gold
Corporation
"
Posted March 23, 2006 

"Harvest Gold"
Posted March 2, 2006 
 
"Sparton Resources"
Posted March 1, 2006 

"Interview with
Robert McEwen-
U.S. Gold Corporation
"
Posted February 22, 2006 

 
"A Tribute to
Rudy Giuliani
"
Posted February 15, 2006
 
"Your Money Is Not Yours"
-Enron & Martin Siegel, Esq.

Posted February 9, 2006

"Other People"s Money -Enron & Martin Siegel, Esq."
Posted January 28, 2006

"Northern Star Mining"
Posted January 16, 2006 
 
"Sonesta International Hotels Corporation"
Posted December 29, 2005 

"The Currency of Mass Destruction"
Posted December 5, 2005
 
"Bunker Hunt-Silver-China"
Posted November 28, 2005

"50 Relatives Worse Than Yours"
Posted November 14, 2005

"Then And Now"
Posted November 9, 2005 

"The Business of Hungary is Business!"
Posted October 31, 2005

"Mr. Prime Minister"
Posted October 13, 2005
 
"U.S. Gold Corp."
Posted September 29, 2005

"Orezone"
Posted September 23, 2005

"Mr Clarke -
Call In The Boys"

Posted September 12, 2005
 
"A Letter To
President Bush"

Posted September 8, 2005

"Mr. Smith Goes To Hungary"
Posted September 1, 2005
 
"Orko Gold"
Posted August 18, 2005

 "Near Hit"
Posted August 16, 2005

"An African Queen"
Posted August 11, 2005

"1848 and Beyond"
Posted August 4, 2005

 

 

Andrew Racz. 300 East 54 Street, Suite 26C, New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 319-6949 Fax: (212) 753-1944. E-mail: mlikar@aol.com

Copyright © 2011 Andrew Racz. All Rights Reserved.

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