Talk about a fast flip. Just a month after it sold for US$909 million, Manhattan’s Coca-Cola building has changed hands once again, this time for a higher price of US$955 million.
A partnership including developers Michael Shvo and Bilgili Group paid that amount for the historic 18-storey property, on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, in a deal that closed this week, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction.
The sellers were Nightingale Properties and Wafra Capital Partners, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing a private matter. The sellers’ purchase was completed in August this year, New York City public records showed.
The new owners will keep the tower, which has a history dating back to 1927, as an office-and-retail property, while enhancing its amenities and public spaces, according to Mr Shvo’s website.
Such a project would be a new direction for Mr Shvo, whose focus has been on high-end residential developments, such as the conversion of a portion of Fifth Avenue’s Crown Building.
Deutsche Finance Group and German pension fund BVK are backing the purchase, according to the person with knowledge of the deal.
Coca-Cola inherited the tower in 1983, through its purchase of Columbia Pictures. Bloomberg reported in December last year that the beverage company hired brokers to sell the property, which counts boutique investment bank Allen & Co and Sandler Capital Management among its tenants.
The Polo Bar by Ralph Lauren remains even after the fashion company’s decision to close its flagship store in the same building.
Venture Insurance Programs launches online platform for small business insurance
National insurance program administrator Venture Insurance Programs is introducing a new platform that will allow agents and brokers to better serve their small business clients.
The new Venture Small Business platform allows insurance professionals to quote and bind policies for over 150 classes of business within the same day. The platform will also provide several post-bind services such as direct billing, issuing ACORD certificates of insurance, policy document requests, and claims reporting/servicing.
Venture Small Business can quote and bind general and professional liability coverage for small businesses within the following industries:
Architecture and engineering
Marketing and public relations
Creative and design
Health, beauty & fitness
“Venture is pleased to offer this small business platform alongside our industry-specific products and services for agents and brokers,” said Venture Insurance Programs founder and president Phillip J. Harvey.
Harvey added that the dedicated online portal will assist producers in receiving quotes for their small business clients quickly and accurately, as well as in binding coverage.
E-cigarette-maker Juul agrees to avoid targeting minors amid wave of vaping illnesses BY ANDREW SHEELER
E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs must restrict its marketing and promotion to avoid targeting minors under a new legal settlement agreement with the Oakland-based watchdog Center for Environmental Health.
The settlement in Alameda County Superior Court exposes Juul, which is co-owned by Atria, the parent company of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, to legal liability if it violates the agreement.
The agreement includes prohibitions on advertising in media with an audience 15 percent or more younger than age 21, advertising on social media outside of Juul’s age-restricted YouTube account and using models younger than 28.
The settlement comes as dozens of people across the nation have sicked from a mysterious vaping-related illness, one that has led to at least 26 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in September calling on his tax collectors to step up enforcement of the e-cigarette industry.
The Juul settlement, announced on Thursday, contains other prohibitions, including no advertising within 1,000 feet of a school or playground, no sponsoring sporting events or concerts that allow people under 21 and no paying or permitting company employees or contractors to appear at school or youth-oriented events.
The company also must replace the terms “adults only” and “not for use by minors” with “the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited by law” in order to avoid enticing minors.
The agreement limits bulk sales of Juul products both online and at brick and mortar stores and requires Juul to continue it’s “secret shopper” program, which seeks to catch retailers selling Juul products without asking for ID.
“This settlement will reduce the number of children getting addicted to a neurotoxin like nicotine, and help protect them from other toxic chemicals present in Juul products,” said CEH’s CEO Michael Green in prepared remarks. “CEH intends to monitor the company closely and if Juul violates our agreement by one inch, we will sue them again.”
A spokesman for Juul said that the settlement affirms practices that the company already had in place.
“We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products, since our products exist solely to help adult smokers find an alternative to combustible cigarettes,” the spokesman said.
BY ANDREW SHEELER
Drug Giants Close In on a $50 Billion Settlement of Opioid Cases
CLEVELAND — As a critical trial deadline bears down, lawyers for states and the three largest drug distributors in the country, along with two manufacturers, have agreed on a framework for a deal to resolve thousands of opioid cases with a settlement worth nearly $50 billion in cash and addiction treatments.
Three people familiar with the negotiations said that cities and counties across the country are tentatively supporting the broad parameters of the deal but are negotiating over its total value as well as attorneys’ fees. They warned that details could change and the deal could still fall apart before Monday, when opening statements are to begin in the first federal trial to determine responsibility for the opioid epidemic.
The agreement would release AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, which together distribute about 90 percent of the country’s medicines, along with Johnson & Johnson and Teva, the Israeli-based manufacturer of generic medicines, from a rapidly growing list of more than 2,300 lawsuits that they face in federal and state courts.
All of the companies either didn’t return requests for comment or declined to do so.
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are leading the talks for the states, along with lawyers for thousands of cities and counties whose cases are in federal court.
Since the late 1990s, more than 400,000 people in the United States have died from overdoses of prescription painkillers and illegal opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. The epidemic is considered one of the greatest public health crises in the country’s history.
The three drug distributors and Teva are defendants in the first trial, brought by two Ohio counties. With thousands of somewhat similar governmental lawsuits on the national runway, the Ohio suit is considered an important showcase that will test the strength of both sides’ witnesses and legal arguments before 12 jurors.
Even as discussions continue, so does the selection of a jury, in anticipation of the start of the trial should talks collapse.
Johnson & Johnson recently settled with the two Ohio counties for about $20.4 million, but the company is named in many of other suits, as well.
Many drug manufacturers and pharmacy chains also have been named as defendants in federal and state opioids cases, but they are apparently not involved in these negotiations.
The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma — which is currently in bankruptcy court — has a tentative and much-disputed agreement with lawyers for thousands of municipal suits in federal court and nearly two dozen states that, if finalized, would remove the company from most opioids cases as well.
According to people familiar with the talks, the combined value of the current deal breaks down as follows: $20 to $25 billion in cash to be divided among the states and localities to help pay for health care, law enforcement and other costs associated with the epidemic; and another $25 to $30 billion in addiction-treatment drugs, supplies and delivery services.
People familiar with the negotiations said many details are still being debated, including the timetable for when the money would be paid.
Whether the amount will be considered sufficient by all the plaintiffs remains to be seen. A new report by the Society of Actuaries projects the costs related to the opioid epidemic at $188 billion in 2019 alone, including health care, child and family assistance programs, criminal justice activities and lost wages.
People familiar with the talks said that a sticking point in negotiation is how much money will go toward attorneys’ fees for the private lawyers who represent governments in the overwhelming majority of cases and work on contingency.
Those lawyers filed the first opioid lawsuits in 2014 and have since conducted hundreds of depositions and compiled many millions of documents.
Source : nonperele
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