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INVESTIGATION ALERT: Labaton Sucharow — A Nationally Ranked Shareholder Rights Firm — Announces It Is Investigating Claims Against J2 Global, Inc. (JCOM) and Strongly Encourages Investors with Losses to Contact the Firm

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Labaton Sucharow LLP, a leading and award winning investor rights law firm, announces it is developing a proprietary investigation concerning potential securities claims on behalf of shareholders of J2 Global (NASDAQ: JCOM) resulting from allegations that J2 may have issued materially misleading business information to the investing public.

J2 Global, Inc., together with its subsidiaries purports to be a leading provider of internet services. J2 provides cloud services to consumers and businesses and license its intellectual property (IP) to third parties. In addition, the Cloud Services business includes fax, voice, backup, security and email marketing products. J2s Digital Media business specializes in the technology, gaming, broadband, business to business, healthcare, and international markets, offering content, tools and services to consumers and businesses.

On June 30, 2020, Hindenburg Research issued a negative report on J2 noting:

  • J2 is a digital media roll-up that has acquired 186 businesses since its inception. Its CEO describes the companys acquisition system as its single great competitive advantage.
  • We suggest the contrary and believe J2s opaque acquisition approach has opened the door to egregious insider self-enrichment, which we approximate totals $117 million to $172 million based on publicly available information.
  • For example, we uncovered that J2 acquired a newly formed entity based out of its own VP of Corporate Developments personal residence for an estimated $20 million. The entity had undefined intellectual property and no employees or apparent assets. No conflict was disclosed.
  • The VP of Corporate Development who was on the receiving end of the payday handled 135 of J2s acquisitions, representing ~73% of the companys acquisitions to date.
  • It appears to be a pattern. J2s Chairman formerly controlled a different publicly traded company alongside the noted VP, stacked with various J2 board members and insiders. Its European subsidiary racked up ~‚¬14 million in losses despite having virtually no assets. The entity was based out of the same personal residence and was also acquired in part through a related party transaction with the Chairman. The stock of the parent company is down ~99%.
  • J2 recently committed $200 million of shareholder cash to a newly-formed investment vehicle run by its Chairman, who has a track record of venture investment failures. The investment vehicles leadership includes other J2 execs and insiders. J2 expects to commit another $100 million to the vehicle.
  • That investment vehicle, in turn, made its first investment of an estimated $12 million into a newly-formed home video business established by the Chairmans nephew. That business is already dormant, according to a former employee. Once again, no conflict was disclosed.
  • Despite J2s proxy describing all but one of its board members as independent, we found decades of intertwined financial interests between board members and executives, calling that independence into question.
  • Concurrently, a slowing stream of acquisitions has helped to unearth a decline in J2s key business metrics: digital traffic is down (despite support from recent acquisitions), and cloud cancel rates are ticking up with ARPU falling.
  • The underperformance has been masked by tricky accounting. The company has never taken a goodwill impairment, yet subsidiary filings report multiple material goodwill impairments that dont appear to coincide with parent financials. We estimate at least $155 million in impairments based on visibility into $700 million in acquisitions.
  • J2s European business (13% of revenue in 2016), which was overseen by the aforementioned VP of Corporate Development, has seen its revenue decline 27% in the subsequent 3 years with operating income swinging from $5.5 million to negative $13 million.
  • We believe the companys audit committee simply cannot be relied upon, as a majority of the committee has worked together for years prior to serving on the board of J2 in roles that reveal conflicts of interest.
  • The independent board approved the cancellation of J2s dividend to create greater shareholder returns over the near, medium and long term. This apparently includes massive loss-making capital commitments and management fees to related parties.
  • J2s young, newly minted CEO was compensated over $45 million during his first year in the role, more than the CEOs of Microsoft and JP Morgan, despite J2 being a fraction of the size. We cant help but wonder whether the board and executive team could be simply trading favors, in a manner consistent with J2s actions for decades.
  • COVID-19 has now officially halted the companys acquisition model. We feel this is a crucial opportunity for the companys auditors to examine all of the transactions we lay out in this report (including all acquisitions made under the former VP of Corporate Development) and take necessary measures to prevent what we believe to be additional misuse of shareholder capital going forward.

On this news, on June 30, 2020 pre-market, J2s stock is down approximately 10%.

If you are a shareholder or option holder that suffered losses in J2, and wish to participate, learn more, or discuss the issues surrounding the investigation, please contact David J. Schwartz using the toll free number (800) 321-0476 or via email at [email protected] or [email protected].

About the Firm

Labaton Sucharow LLP is one of the worlds leading complex litigation firms representing clients in securities, antitrust, corporate governance and shareholder rights, and consumer cybersecurity and data privacy litigation. Labaton Sucharow has been recognized for its excellence by the courts and peers, and it is consistently ranked in leading industry publications. Offices are located in New York, NY, Wilmington, DE, and Washington, D.C. More information about Labaton Sucharow is available at http://www.labaton.com.

David J. Schwartz

(800) 321-0476

[email protected] or [email protected]

 

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Lument Provides $21.5 Million in Freddie Mac Financing for Affordable Housing in El Paso

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NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lument, a national leader in commercial real estate finance,   announced today that it provided a $21.5 million Freddie Mac unfunded forward commitment loan to facilitate the substantial renovation of Jackie Robinson Memorial Apartments, an affordable multifamily property in El Paso, Texas.  Lument is the combined organization of legacy industry experts Hunt Real Estate Capital, Lancaster Pollard, and RED Capital Group.

“By combining the Freddie Mac unfunded forward loan with tax credit equity and other soft funding sources, we were able to put in place an attractive debt structure to help improve these much-needed affordable apartments,” said Josh Reiss, director at Lument.

Originally built in 1975, Jackie Robinson is a 186-unit, 4% low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) community in the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) portfolio. As part of the transaction, the property will receive Section 8 assistance that will facilitate the conversion to long-term, project-based voucher (PBV) rental assistance. Subsequently, all 186 units will be restricted to tenants earning income at or below 60% area median income (AMI).

The $21.5 million Freddie Mac loan features a low, fixed interest rate, 18-year term with three years of interest only, and a 35-year amortization schedule. The forward commitment term will be 30 months with one six-month extension.

Jackie Robinson will undergo substantial interior and exterior construction, including a gut renovation of all residential units, from new drywall to new kitchen appliances. In addition, exteriors will be improved with new windows and doors, repaired or replaced roofs, and new stair towers.

Construction began in October 2020 and is expected to be complete within 24 months.

Mr. Reiss and the Lument team have financed over 960 units in partnership with HACEP, totaling $41 million. Since 2015, the team has financed over $565 million in RAD transactions for a total of approximately 6,500 units.

About Lument
ORIX Real Estate Capital Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Lument, is a subsidiary of ORIX Corporation USA. Lument is a national leader in commercial real estate finance. As the combined organization of legacy industry experts Hunt Real Estate Capital, Lancaster Pollard, and RED Capital Group, Lument delivers a comprehensive set of capital solutions customized for investors in multifamily, affordable housing, and seniors housing and healthcare real estate. Lument is a Fannie Mae DUS®, Freddie Mac Optigo®, FHA, and USDA lender. In addition, Lument offers a suite of proprietary commercial lending, investment banking, and investment management solutions. Lument has approximately 600 employees in over 25 offices across the United States. Securities, investment banking, and advisory services are provided through OREC Securities, LLC, d/b/a Lument Securities. Member FINRA/SIPC. For more information, visit www.lument.com.

MEDIA CONTACT                                                                                                           
Michael Ratliff | Marketing Director
212-588-2163 | [email protected]

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SOURCE Lument

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IPC Partners with Greenprint Capital to expand the Solar PPA offer throughout the United States

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ROCKY HILL, Conn., Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (IPC), a mission-driven specialty finance organization working at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact is pleased to announce the closing of a tax equity partnership with San Diego-based Greenprint Capital, as well as a debt facility with the Connecticut Green Bank. Having launched these two partnerships, IPC is now able to acquire, develop, construct, and operate distributed solar projects throughout the United States. IPC's solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) provides direct financial savings to customers in underserved markets – small-scale commercial properties, houses of worship, affordable multifamily housing, and non-profits. IPC can be flexible to accommodate most commercial or community-scale customers.

“Launching a solar PPA platform has been a major component of IPC's strategy since our formation in 2018. Building on the many years in which our staff supported the Connecticut Green Bank's solar PPA program in Connecticut, IPC is well-positioned to deliver energy-saving solar PPAs to customers who might otherwise be overlooked by traditional financiers. We are thrilled to be partnering with Greenprint Capital and Connecticut Green Bank to achieve this major milestone in IPC's growth,” said Kerry O'Neill, IPC's Chief Executive Officer.

IPC's first four solar projects are in Connecticut, acquired from the Connecticut Green Bank, and include two schools, an Islamic center and a Boys and Girls Club. The projects total 495 kW and are anticipated to save the customers approximately $20,000 in their first year of operation. IPC's first four solar customers include:

  • Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley – 127 kW Rooftop Project
  • Bridgeport Islamic Community Center – 75 kW Rooftop Project
  • The Country School – 107 kW Rooftop Project
  • Washington Montessori School – 186 kW Rooftop Project

Bert Hunter, Connecticut Green Bank's Chief Investment Officer noted, “IPC will be one of our key partners in continuing to serve the Connecticut solar market. With this latest round of financing, we are confident IPC has the tools needed to manage the solar PPA partnership throughout the state of Connecticut and beyond. We are eager to see IPC replicate and expand upon the success the Connecticut Green Bank has had in creatively de-risking projects to provide access to previously credit-challenged potential solar customers.”

Antoine Bishara, Principal at Greenprint Capital, said, “IPC's focus on de-risking solar projects in underserved markets is a great fit for Greenprint's approach to tax equity investment. We see Greenprint's role in the market as leveraging our efficiency to lower financing costs and unlock the small and medium scale distributed solar market for tax investors. That efficiency is even more important when it results in lower PPA prices for important community organizations like IPC's customers.”

John D'Agostino, Director of Financing Programs at IPC said, “we are very excited about our first four projects in Connecticut and are grateful for the opportunity to serve four organizations whose missions align with our own. The Solar PPA projects will help these customers continue to provide a wide array of services to their communities. Greenprint's nimble and efficient approach to tax equity financing is a major reason we're able to make this possible. This partnership will allow IPC to provide financing solutions to commercial and community solar developers as well as energy savings to their customers. We hope to remain long-term partners and bring the success we've achieved with Greenprint in Connecticut to IPC's pipeline of solar projects throughout the country.”

About Greenprint Capital:
Greenprint is a professional advisory and consulting firm focused on structured tax credit and preferred equity investments in renewable energy projects. Greenprint and its financial partners invest in and support infrastructure development activities and seeks to serve all stakeholders involved

About the Connecticut Green Bank:
The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation's first full-scale green bank, its mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit http://www.ctgreenbank.com.

About Inclusive Prosperity Capital:
Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (“IPC”) is a not-for-profit investment fund scaling clean energy financing solutions that channels investment capital to program partners in communities that need it most. As a spin-out and strategic partner of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is focused on scaling its work in Connecticut and expanding its successful model nationwide by accessing mission-driven capital and partnerships. IPC operates at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact. We believe everyone should have access to the benefits of clean energy, helping to deliver Inclusive Prosperity.

Media Contact

Madeline Priest, Inclusive Prosperity Capital, +1 860-257-2891, [email protected]

 

SOURCE Inclusive Prosperity Capital

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Edward Jones Named One of the 2020 Best Workplaces for Parents™ by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE Magazine

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ST. LOUIS, Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Financial-services firm Edward Jones has been named one of the 2020 Best Workplaces for Parents by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE Magazine. The firm, ranked No. 7 on the list of 100 companies, earned this award for creating consistently positive experiences for working parents.

Great Place to Work determined the Best Workplaces for Parents by gathering and analyzing employee experience feedback representing 4.8 million U.S. employees across more than 20 industries – the largest annual study of working parents to date.

“Edward Jones is extremely proud of this recognition that spotlights the work environment we've built, and evolved, to support our parents. This is particularly significant in light of the difficult and novel challenges facing parents this year,” said Kristin Johnson, Edward Jones Chief Human Resources Officer. “We strive to create a people-first culture for all associates that allows them to effectively manage their commitment both to our clients and to their families.”

Since forming in Spring 2020, the Edward Jones Parental/COVID-19 Taskforce has acted as a key listening post and strategy team advocating for the needs of associates, their families and working in a remote environment. The 20-member taskforce, with representatives from multiple areas of the firm, has created critical policies, programs and solutions that provide support for navigating pandemic-related issues in five areas: workplace flexibility, time off, dependent care and educational support for children, health and wellness, and financial support.

Support for parents and families includes:

  • Associates in distress due to COVID-related financial challenges can look to help from the Edward Jones Disaster Relief Fund. Associates and retirees donated $930,000 to the fund this summer to assist colleagues.
  • To help ease family concerns around health expenses, the Edward Jones medical plan provides no-cost care for COVID-related testing and treatment through the end of 2020. And to remove barriers to care and the burden of costs, the firm waived the deductible for the treatment of COVID-19 from both in- and out-of-network providers.
  • Associates have 10 extra personal days this year, and we've revised our sick/safe time policy, allowing associates to use sick time for any COVID-related reason, including childcare needs, through the end of the year.
  • Many associates have worked remotely since mid-March, allowing parents to be with children and other dependents as schools and care centers closed.
  • The firm's Investing in You website contains a wealth of information for families struggling to balance childcare, at-home learning and work. There are 60-plus resources for working parents. The firm also offers free online webinars on subjects such as helping kids cope with pandemic anxiety as they return to school, how working parents can structure their day, and how to manage their workspace and teaching space.

Rankings are based primarily on parents' scores of trust and fairness across the company culture, including levels of trust, pride, management effectiveness, innovation, diversity and equity. The analysis focused on how parents' workplace experiences compare to those of their non-working colleagues and determining whether their job level, race/ethnicity or any personal characteristic changed the level of support they received as a working parent. Finally, each company's parental leave, adoption, flexible schedule, childcare and dependent health care benefits were evaluated.

“Best workplaces like Edward Jones have built dynamic, flexible, and transparent workplaces built on trust,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “This gives companies on this list a powerful opportunity not just to do well for their people, but also to do well for their businesses.”

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones, a FORTUNE 500 firm headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices caters to individual investors. The firm's 19,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1.3 trillion in assets under management.  The Edward Jones website is at www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting Web site is www.careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees around the world and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Great Place to Work helps organizations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. Emprising®, their culture management platform, empowers leaders with the surveys, real-time reporting, and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Their unparalleled benchmark data is used to recognize Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in the US and more than 60 countries, including the 100 Best Companies to Work For® and World's Best Workplaces list published annually in Fortune. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™.

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SOURCE Edward Jones

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