Category Archives: Investments

What Mohamed Amersi is saying about the Telia deal

Mohamed Amersi
Mohamed Amersi

Mohamed Amersi is generally unknown in Sweden, but in the 2010s he was a legendary dealmaker in the emerging markets of Eurasia. For several years, Telia hired Amersi and his company to facilitate the company’s investments in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Russia, and Uzbekistan. 

As background, Amersi says “I have a long experience of doing M&A business in emerging markets. In Latin America for Telefonica, in the Middle East for Etisalat, Oredoo and Zain, in Africa for Etisalat, MTN and Zain, in Russia for Veon to name a few clients. In total, I have participated in transactions corresponding to approximately 1,000 billion Swedish Kronas.” Within these deals, Amersi provided both legal expertise and input from his corporate, finance, private equity, and venture capital experience.

“At the time of Telia’s business in Eurasia, the company had ambitions to become a global player in telecoms, primarily through acquisitions in emerging markets. To succeed in this,” Amersi explains,  “a successful acquisition strategy was required. At that time, the two merging companies – Swedish Telia and Finnish Sonera – already had a presence in Eurasia through the operators Megafon, Turkcell, and Fintur. But the competence of the merged company needed to be strengthened to be able to continue to acquire and manage operators in Eurasia.” As Amersi attests, he is arguably the only person who could both handle the M&A directly, “and had insight into the local culture and could work both sustainably and profitably.”

Amersi reiterates that Telia Sonera was also interested in finding and acquiring operators in other emerging markets. That is why his company was hired for an ongoing role in advisement to merge Swedish-Finnish company. Ultimately, the merger was meant to bring Telia new operators outside of Eurasia, with expansions in emerging countries such as Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Iran, and Ethiopia.

It was precisely Amersi’s cultural litheness and familiarity that allowed him to make valuable contributions to the Telia merger process. To Amersi, his role was “about general advice, resolving ownership disputes, understanding local regulatory issues and not least evaluating and concluding agreements with local partners.” These local partners, says Amersi, are often quite powerful and wealthy; their support is key to making any deal.

“But unlike what has been described in the press, it is not about bribes at all. It is crucial that the deal is started in the right way. It must be made clear to the responsible authorities, regulatory units and other authorities and parties that there will be no bribes.” 

Mohamed Amersi

Toward that end, Amersi adds that the collaboration with prominent local partners must be fully established and clarified from the very beginning. This allows for clearly described roles and responsibilities,” as well as clear payment flows. Amersi also says that local partners must be required to co-own the merged entity, giving them a financial stake (and risk) that come with the co-ownership. Amersi’s insistence on the local partners is in fact built on the principle that “value creation in the merged business that profits and dividends can be made. Not through bribes. It is in collaboration with a weak partner that corruption most often occurs.”

Furthermore, Amersi insists that a culture of giving back must be inherent in any merger process. “It is about creating local jobs, education and skills development locally, and not trying to minimize taxes, but paying full local tax.”

Mohamed Amersi

As for his involvement with Telia, Amersi clarifies “My role in this transaction was of a technical nature…I was asked as an advisor to make a check of the valuation made of Telia’s finance function and to be helpful in developing an optimal structure for the transaction. In addition to my assignment, Telia had hired world-leading lawyers with recognized good competence and experience in negotiating and drafting agreements, as well as conducting audits and due diligence.  I, therefore, did not participate in the negotiations themselves or directly in the implementation of the deal or in any part of the review and due diligence.”

Ultimately, it is clear from the investigations and a conversation with Amersi that not a single error was found, or any remark made.  Telia’s auditors also reviewed the relationship between the companies.  Amersi is a man of truth, integrity, and respect; these are his keywords for trust and transactions of all kinds.

Bitcoin 2022 Dazzles Miami

The Miami Beach Convention Center was hopping last week as participants swarmed to attend the Bitcoin 2022 Conference. With the pandemic dismissing any possible gathering the past two years, cryptocurrency fans made sure to take this opportunity to come out and make their presence known. Over 25,000 people were in attendance each day at the convention center, which was designed as a literal crypto universe. A giant moon hung from the ceiling, reminding attendees to always reach higher. A huge Mars replica couldn’t be missed just a little further away. A spreadsheet was passed around listing details about the many scheduled parties. Fog machines were activated and dance music blared. All the big names of the crypto world were in attendance, if not on stage speaking.

When Bitcoin was first released in 2009, conferences barely attracted more than a dozen attendees. There weren’t enough people willing to take Bitcoins that were being distributed for free. Now, the crypto coin and industry in general has multiplied immensely.

The excitement was clear and the fervor could be felt at the gathering in Miami. With the paramount hustle and bustle throughout the convention center, the energy was contagious. Through all the glitz, though, there was a clear focal point – a 40-foot volcano adorned with the Bitcoin 2022 logo, proudly displaying the ambitious future of crypto. Another impossible-to-miss site was a mechanical bull, again sending the message of a bright future. The lucky participant who rode it the longest was to be awarded a single Bitcoin.

Even before the convention ended, participants were already expressing anticipation for next year’s. Will future crypto gatherings outdo the glamour of Bitcoin 2022? We’ll have to wait to find out!

Working with HSBC: Mozes Victor Konig Discusses the Benefits

HSBC has been established for close to two-and-a-half centuries.  Since its founding in 1865 by Scottish-born Thomas Sutherland in Hong Kong, it has taken a simple but sound journey to become the banking corporation it is today.

With the initial idea coming from Sutherland’s belief that local businesses needed “better banking facilities,” Sutherland simultaneously had the bank supporting international trade. 

“That was his genius,” believes Mozes Victor Konig, an investor and supporter of HSBC banking.  “When you understand that both local and global needs have to be met simultaneously, then you’re already half way to success,” he adds.

HSBC had a very fast transition from local to international.  Within a month, a branch was opened in Shanghai and four months later, one in London in an effort to exchange operations in the East as well as train junior bankers.

Today HSBC supports over 40 million customers spanning 64 countries and territories worldwide.

Randall Mays : Helping Others with the Bridge Builders Collaborative

We all know that there is strength in numbers. But what does that actually mean in practice? It’s not always easy for people to find that strength or to figure out where there are like-minded individuals who want to join together. Fortunately, Randall Mays has found that strength in numbers with the Bridge Builders Collaborative. The Bridge Builders Collaborative (BBC) is an investment group that funds companies creating mindfulness and mind-training solutions through technology. They are revolutionizing the idea of giving through traditional philanthropic means and are, instead, showing the importance of creating a collective partnership to invest in the future.

The Bridge Builders Collaborative, founded in 2012 by three investors, has already achieved great success. They have created an impact and sound return on investment. Now, they strive to be a collaboration for deeper shifts in humanity from mindfulness to behavior change, from awareness to integration and from looking at symptoms to pinpointing root causes. With the powerful belief as a collective that inner wellbeing is a bridge to social wellbeing, the Collaborative sees its role as not just capital investors, but as a group that can inspire conscious entrepreneurs to join them.

Randall Mays brings years of business acumen and philanthropic vision to the Bridge Builders Collaborative. He is a US businessman, investor and philanthropist and is the CEO of Running M Capital and Co-Managing Partner of Mays Family Enterprises. He dedicates himself to many philanthropic causes and sits on the boards of Live Nation Entertainment, the BuildGroup Technology Fund, Digital Defense, Spinal Stabilization Technologies, the Mind Science Foundation and the Mays Family Foundation.

As part of the Bridge Builders Collaborative, he can direct his energies and resources towards causes that align with his passions. As an active investor in Bridge Builders, Mays is working with the collaborative to put its combined capital and its energy to re-envision a more productive, healthier and happier future for millions of people. Five main considerations guide the investment strategy. They look for the positive impact for humanity their investment will offer; they strive to understand the scientific validation for the product; they look for collaboration with the leaders; they provide growth capital, often through Series A funding and tend to follow through with several rounds; and they look for opportunities to create a meaningful return on their investment.

While the list of funded investments is always growing and changing, the platform is designed to advance the ideas and concepts of social entrepreneurs who have scalable business models in the field of mindfulness. Their numbers to date are staggering and their impact assured. So far, they have invested in 15 companies with an average of 1.25 new deals each year. Five of the BBC companies have achieved $100 million valuations and three have achieved $300 million. The Bridge Builders includes a combined 100 years of contemplative practice and over 120 years of investment experience.

The future is brighter with the vision offered by the BBC. With their connections, credibility, collaboration and investment ability, they are pushing the bounds of wellness and allowing entrepreneurs to envision and design an impactful, healthier and happier future than the one we have today.

Money Management during dual crisis

How to Manage a Dual Crisis: Coronavirus and Market Meltdown

The CEO of Source Financial Advisors, Michelle Smith, has issued several suggestions for how the financial community can endure two conflating situations: the economic fallout of the coronavirus and market declines.

Be in Touch

Use technology to maintain contact with clients. Video platforms should be utilized as much as possible to offer a face-to-face personal interaction. While working remotely may mean that things are a bit more casual, it is important to keep things professional.

Be Authentic

The need to maintain decorum and professionalism notwithstanding, it is also important to be genuine with clients. They want to know that their money is in good hands, but they also want to have a sincere conversation about life. Start and end every conversation with a client by discussing their wellbeing. Ask how they are managing and feeling. Give them the assurance they need. Show them that you care about their physical, mental, and financial health.

Michelle Smith advises maintaining professionalism alongside authenticity during these trying times.

Be Pro-Active

When things are uncertain it is tempting to switch to preservation mode. We have a fiduciary responsibility to do our best for those who are already clients; we may not have the bandwidth to grow our business. But as we focus on the clients we have, we should also maintain business contacts and relationships that can help our business in the future. Look for opportunities in various sectors and actively pursue leads.

Be Thoughtful

Clients are worried about a lot of things right now. It is the job of financial planners and economic advisors to ensure that money is not an additional concern. The current health concerns coupled with economic uncertainties present people with two extremely basic fears: being alone and broke. Now is not the time to overwhelm clients with statistics and trends. Listen closely to what the clients are saying and what they feel most comfortable with at this time. This is unchartered territory for everyone. Every individual, business owner, team leader, and industry specialist is figuring out how to navigate these uncertain times. In the money management field, being attentive, genuine, forthcoming, and caring is the best business practice right now.