Wall Street

Inside Jay Peak’s International Funding Scam

by The Editors on February 12, 2024

It’s not often that a rad, little resort in Vermont makes the pages of The New Yorker Magazine, especially in a story featuring hundreds of millions in potentially mishandled funds. But that’s exactly the position Jay Peak and former resort manager Bill Stenger are in this month with a story titled “The Rural Ski Slope Caught Up in an International Scam,” by Sheelah Kolhatkare.

The crux of the story revolves around how Stenger and a business partner raised money for development at the resort and what they actually did with the money they raised. Here’s the how:

He [Stenger] raised money using the EB-5 visa program, which aimed to channel foreign investments into businesses that created jobs for Americans, especially in rural or economically depressed parts of the country. For five hundred thousand dollars (the amount has since risen to nine hundred thousand), foreign investors and their families became eligible for green cards, so long as that money succeeded in creating at least ten jobs.

As for what they did with all the money, you’ll have to read the story. In the end, it goes to show that running a resort isn’t always about keeping the snow guns blowing and the cats repaired. There is much, much, more involved. And sometimes it even a little prison time. Click the link for the rest of the story.

[Link: The New Yorker]

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Forbes Checks In With Chip Wilson

by The Editors on January 5, 2024

The thing that no one ever mentions about Westbeach (and Lululemon) founder Chip Wilson is that the guy can dance. Put on some swing music and he will drag the most uncoordinated person out on the floor and make them look like Willa Ma Ricker. This vision keeps coming back to us as we’ve watched Wilson negotiate all kinds of business successes and snafus over the years. But now, as a guy with a reportedly $7 billion wallet and a large chunk of Atomic and Salomon parent company Amer Sport some are wondering what he’s been up to lately. Forbes finds out.

Wilson, who famously stepped away from the yoga-inspired fashion brand he started in 2013 after landing in hot water for blaming an issue with see-through leggings on “some women’s bodies,” specifically those with thicker thighs, has spent a good chunk of the past year opening up about his disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that slowly eats away at muscle strength in the upper body and shoulders. Though he was diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) over 30 years ago, more than a decade before he started Lululemon in 1998, it wasn’t until last year that he revealed his diagnosis and launched a full-scale assault on FSHD, which impacts an estimated 870,000 people around the world. Citing his likely need for a wheelchair in the next few years, the Vancouver-based billionaire in March 2022 pledged the equivalent of $75 million to a new organization he set up to stamp out FSHD by 2027.

For the rest of the interview, please click the link and if you don’t have a subscription to Forbes, you can just turn javascript off in your browser and read it for free.

[Link: Forbes]

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Billionaire Ball Sports Guys Buy We Are Camp

by The Editors on December 6, 2023

Apparently, Josh Harris and David Blitzer (the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and NJ Devils sporting teams) have purchased the Mt. Hood snowboard camp conglomerate known as We Are Camp. They’re saying they purchased it in partnership with the one and only snowboarder/business man Shaun White according to a story on TMZ Sports.

“I’m honored to officially partner with We Are Camp along with Josh and David. I’m excited to step in and help elevate a place that’s so special to me, so come June, you’ll know where to find me!”

Shaun White is just the icing on the cake. Looks like We Are Camp got a wonderful exit and now the sports guys can pour money into it for a while. They’ve for sure made money easier ways than running snowboard camps. How long do you think it will take them to flip the camps to the next round of PE bros?

[Link: TMZ Sports]

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Arena Group Using Zombie Writers?

by The Editors on November 28, 2023

The Arena Group, the company who ended up with Surfer, Snowboarder, TransWorld Skateboarding, Powder and Bike magazine titles after the last round of brand swapping has been accused of using “fake AI writers” to write fake AI generated stories at their flagship title Sports Illustrated, according to a story on Futurism. They’re running zombie titles, why not hire a hoard zombie writers?

“There’s a lot,” they told us of the fake authors. “I was like, what are they? This is ridiculous. This person does not exist.” . . . “At the bottom [of the page] there would be a photo of a person and some fake description of them like, ‘oh, John lives in Houston, Texas. He loves yard games and hanging out with his dog, Sam.’ Stuff like that,” they continued. “It’s just crazy.”

Futurism says that as soon as they asked Arena about it, the stories and writers were gone from the site. None of this is surprising to anyone who has been following along. Arena did eventually claim that the content was provided by a third party who uses real writers to write real stories but sometimes under pseudonyms. But we don’t believe them.

Just so you know, although he may look like an AI generated handsome man, Blair Alley actually exists. . . but Justin Leveille? We’re not so sure about that guy.

[Link: Futurism]

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Rebagliati Still Promoting The Weed

by The Editors on October 21, 2023

When Canadian Alpine racer Ross Rebagliati won the world’s first snowboarding Olympic gold medal in Nagano Japan in 1996 it was kind of funny that he immediately tested positive for marijuana. Of course, snowboarders are pot heads. All that.

But Ross said recently, in an interview with CBC News, that when he was being held in Japan on the drug issue he decided that “I am going to fight for this plant for the rest of my life, start a cannabis company and show everybody what cannabis is really all about.” And it appears he’s done something close. .  maybe.

And while he took on other jobs to fund his dreams, he kept at it, founding medical marijuana dispensary Ross’ Gold in 2013. And on Feb. 8, 2023 — 25 years to the day since he won gold in Nagano — Ross’ Gold products started being sold in licensed dispensaries, a moment Rebagliati said gave him as much pride as his Olympic victory.

Way to stick to it, Ross. Still doing snowboarding proud after all these years. For all the details from an audio interview with Ross, please click the link.

[Link: CBC News]

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Alterra Consumes Mike Wiegele Heli

by The Editors on October 12, 2023

There really is no escape from the ski business gobbling monster known as Alterra Mountain Company. They’ve just added world famous Mike Wiegele Heliski to their growing porfolio two short years after the founder’s death in 2021, according to a story that appeared everywhere, but we’ll link to Ski Area Management.

“Alterra is the ideal partner to celebrate and preserve the legacy that Mike Wiegele left behind,” said Elias Ortner, general manager of MWHS. “This will propel this operation to new heights, allowing us to enhance the guest experience further and deepen our existing community and loyal guest partnerships.”

We’re happy for at least some of the Wiegele family, sad for everyone else. Monopolies are bad. Don’t mind us. We’ll just keep saying that. . . over and over and over.

[Link: Ski Area Management]

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Arena Group Launching Zombie Channels

by The Editors on October 4, 2023

From the “wonder what The Arena Group is going to do with all their zombie magazine brands” files comes news that Arena has partnered with AcTVe to launch five FAST (stands for free, ad-supported television) “channels” with their action sporting brands, according to story on Deadline.com.

Powder Mag, Surfer Magazine, Transworld Skateboarding, Bike Mag and Snowboarder will provide the backbones for the new channels, which will debut globally this fall. The channels will be available on free, ad-supported streaming platforms like SportsTribal, FreeMovies+ and FreeCast, as well as via Roku, Vizio and Samsung. More distribution platforms will be added in 2024, the companies said.

We have absolutely no idea what these “platforms” are, who watches them, or what this means for the brands. Nor, do we believe they will spend any real money on content. So what is going to be on the channels (aside from paid advertising against no viewers)? If you understand any of this, please let us know in the comments.

[Link: Deadline.com]

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Authentic Brands Group Liberates Boardriders

by The Editors on September 27, 2023

Today (September 27, 2023), Jamie Salter’s Authentic Brands Group announced that they have chosen Costa Mesa’s Liberated Brands as the licensee for several of their recently purchased Boardriders brands.

In the deal, Liberated will run retail and e-commerce ops for Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, Honolua and Boardriders in the US and Canada. They will also act as the official licensee for the Billabong, RVCA, and Honolua brands. The press release makes it seem like they’ve reached outside Authentic Brands to do a licensing deal, when it’s actually more of an inside play. ABG owns a rather large chunk (officially a “minority stake”) of Liberated Brands so they’re basically licensing the brands to themselves while building in a little distance. Here’s how Nick Woodhouse explains it:

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Liberated,” said Nick Woodhouse, President and CMO at Authentic. “As evidenced by their focus on the growth of Volcom and Spyder, Liberated’s unwavering commitment to innovation and community engagement makes them the ideal partner to take on Billabong, RVCA and Honolua, as well as the retail operations for the best lifestyle brands inspired by skate, surf and snow. Together, we look forward to implementing our strategic vision for growth and expanding the brands’ presence in the US and Canada.”

Yes, your own business usually makes a great “partner.” Sorting out the facts of this announcement are well above our pay grade, but let’s just say it is always entertaining to see how these businesses shuffle things around. Side note: if you’re a graphic designer, Liberated is looking for a few good people to shape the vision for the brands moving forward. For the official release, click the link.

[Link: Authentic Brands Group]

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Jamie Salter Closes on Boardriders Purchase

by The Editors on September 1, 2023

Authentic Brands Group has officially completed its purchase of Boardriders (parent company to most every action sports brand you remember from your youth) for the alleged sale price of $1.25 billion and added a reported $1.4 billion to its annual sales totals, according to a blurb in Women’s Wear Daily.

In March, the brand development, marketing and entertainment firm inked a deal to acquire Boardriders, the parent of Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC Shoes, Element, VonZipper, Honolua and Boardriders, for a reported $1.25 billion. At the time, Authentic had sales of $27.6 billion. . . The company said it would shortly begin to orchestrate its plan to “announce a roster of best-in-class partners around the world to help drive the brands in their next stage of growth.”

And to think, it all started for Jamie Salter with a little company called Kemper Snowboards. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they?

[Link: WWD]

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Ridiculousness Writers Want Dyrdek To Pay

by The Editors on September 1, 2023

Like the rest of us, it seems the writers behind the “unscripted” reality show Ridiculousness, are tired of getting played by Rob Dyrdek. And to get what they deserve they’re pushing to unionize the team, according to a story on Deadline.

“‘Unscripted’ television is very much scripted and our writing staff is fed up with being abused and underpaid by Paramount, MTV and Rob Dyrdek. We produce the most profitable show currently on TV and yet we are paid 60% less than WGA writers that work for America’s Funniest Home Videos,” writer Ally Maynard told Deadline.

We wish them luck, however, MTV (and Dyrdek co.) will probably just cancel the show (or the entire network for that matter) rather than pay the writers what they’re worth.

[Link: Deadline]

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