April 2 , 2001

 

 

 

Headlines---
 
  
UniCapital Robert New Dies in Private Plane Crash
    
American Express Finalizes Sierra Cities Merger
      
CitiGroup to Buy American Express????
        
Finova Continues Losses
           
GE Buys Franchise Finance
 
_____________________________________________________________
 
Thank 
you for the information about Robert New.
 
 
UniCapital 
Co-Founder Dies in Plane CrashFederal Aviation 
Administration 
officials 
in Denver failed to notify Aspen's control tower that night 
instrument 
landings at this airport ringed by mountains were banned, 
investigators 
looking into a crash that killed 18 people 
 
 
Aspen 
jet carried birthday celebrants
By 
Peggy Lowe, News Staff Writer 
Mountain 
Rocky Newspaper
 
Limos, 
a gorgeous Aspen home, a catered dinner. 
 
All 
were waiting for the birthday bash Robert New planned for his 
business 
partner 
Mario Aguilar and 13 others. 
 
But 
the flamboyant weekend plans in the posh Rocky Mountain ski resort 
went 
down 
in flames Thursday night when the jet carrying the 15 celebrants 
and 
a 
three-person 
crew slammed into a hillside, killing all aboard. 
 
The 
expensive and elaborate party plans were vintage Robert New, an 
"enormously 
generous" businessman, said his brother, Jonathan. 
 
"He 
was renting a jet, renting a beautiful house. There was a catered 
dinner 
waiting," 
Jonathan New said. "That's who he is. There's nothing like it 
when 
he 
goes to town like that." 
 
New, 
36, a financier who lived the wild ups and downs of business, 
owned 
homes 
in Snowmass, Miami and Beverly Hills. His wife, Monica, and 
8-year-old 
son, 
Matthew, lived full time in Snowmass neighboring a home owned by 
movie 
star 
Jack Nicholson. 
 
The 
jet carried five members of Aguilar's family, including his mother, 
aunt 
and 
two brothers, Jonathan New said. Other people on the plane included 
Mir 
Tukhi, 
26, and Marissa Witham, 22, both staffers at KTTV, the Fox News 
affiliate 
in Los Angeles. 
 
Tukhi 
was an assignment editor at KTTV and Witham was a production 
assistant 
and 
researcher, said John Frenzel, the station's program director. 
 
New 
and Aguilar had known each other for about four years and were 
involved 
in 
several business enterprises, said New's Chicago attorney Rene 
Torrado 
Jr. 
He wouldn't be specific about the businesses, but Jonathan New said 
his 
brother 
owned a luxury rental car business and some entertainment 
interests 
in 
Los Angeles. 
 
New's 
generosity was reportedly as flamboyant as his business dealings. 
A 
company 
he founded with fanfare and huge finances in May 1998 recently 
announced 
that it was bankrupt. UniCapital Corp., an equipment leasing 
company, 
raised $532 million in its intial stock offering. 
 
Company 
officials drove Mercedes-Benzes, ate from Limoges china and 
drank 
from 
Baccarat crystal, according to a report in The Miami Herald. New's 
private 
bathroom had marble fixtures and a personal fitness center. 
UniCapital 
is now being liquidated and also faces lawsuits from several 
companies, 
including Colorado-based Boulder Capital Group, Torrado 
said. 
His 
attorney called him "a warm, decent human being." 
 
"He 
had a ready sense of humor, people really responded well to him," 
Torrado 
said. "When he entered the room, everybody wanted to talk to 
Robert." 
 
Jonathan 
New, the middle brother of three sons by Rhoda and Alan New, 
was 
the 
chief financial officer at UniCapital. The company rented corporate 
jets, 
but New flew both in private and commercial planes, he said. 
Reached 
at his parent's Miami home on Friday, Jonathan said the family 
was 
very 
surprised that Robert had agreed to fly through bad weather. 
"He 
didn't really enjoy flying in any type of bad weather and he was a 
very 
skittish 
kind of flier," he said. "He would ask the pilot a lot of 
questions 
and 
he would be concerned about anything that was going on." 
 
In 
addition to the birthday party, Robert New was planning to spend 
time 
with 
his family this weekend, but he wasn't a big skier, Jonathan New 
said. 
He 
had been visiting Aspen for 15 years and lived there about four 
years, 
he 
said. 
 
"He 
just enjoyed the town, the culture and the people," Jonathan New 
said.
 
For more 
news on how Unicapital Failed, see Miami Hearld Story:'
 
http://www.leasingnews.org/archives/March01/3-19-01.htm
------------------------------------------------------------
 
Amex 
Closes SierraCities Deal
 
By 
Pamela Tate, Dow Jones Newswires 
 
American 
Express completed its $107.5 million acquisition of equipment 
financing 
company SierraCities.com. 
 
American 
Express announced the $5.68-a-share cash tender offer for 
SierraCities 
in February. 
 
In 
other news, shares of American Express rose as much as 8% earlier 
Friday 
(3/30/01) 
on renewed speculation that Citigroup might be eyeing the 
company 
for 
a takeover. The company declined to comment on the rumor, published 
in 
a 
BusinessWeek 
report. 
 
New 
York Stock Exchange-listed shares of American Express closed Friday 
at 
$41.30, 
up 6% for the day on volume of 13.5 million, nearly twice the 
average 
daily activity. 
 
Leasing 
News has been following this story since the company changed 
its
name 
from First Sierra, became an "internet company," if you will, with
Sierra 
Cities.com
 
For 
a complete story, please go to:
http://www.leasingnews.org/articles.doc/newsletter3.htm
 
-------------
 
In 
a related story, it is rumored that Citigroup is considering buying 
American 
Express.  The stock is a good buy for them 
now, and the price 
being 
talked 
about is $56 billion.  Citigroup purchased 
Associated Finance 
for 
$30 
billion, 
I believe the largest for a finance company at the time.  
With 
all 
the 
major mergers or purchases, depending on how you want to look at 
it, 
there 
will be room at the bottom for other companies to grow, and a 
very 
good 
opportunity with leasing and finance companies with strong cash 
balances.  
editor
 
 
Expected 
News from Finova---Their Press  Release
 
FINOVA 
Capital Corporation Announces Net Loss for 2000 (Subject to 
Final 
Audit)
 
 
Updated 
8:03 AM ET April 2, 2001
SCOTTSDALE, 
Ariz., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- FINOVA Capital Corporation 
("FINOVA 
Capital"), the principal operating subsidiary of The FINOVA 
Group 
Inc. 
("FINOVA") today announced a net loss of $936.0 million for the 
year 
ended 
Dec. 31, 2000, compared to net income of $219.0 million in 1999. 
The 
results 
included a net loss from continuing operations of $542.9 
million 
in 
2000 
compared to net income of $222.0 million in 1999, and a net loss 
from 
discontinued 
operations in 2000 of $393.1 million compared to a net 
loss 
of 
$3.0 
million in 1999. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2000, FINOVA 
Capital 
announced 
a net loss of $718.2 million compared to net income of $57.6 
million 
in the fourth quarter of 1999. The net loss for the fourth 
quarter 
of 
2000 from continuing operations was $578.0 million compared to net 
income 
of 
$59.6 million in the fourth quarter of 1999, and the net loss from 
discontinued 
operations for the fourth quarter of 2000 was $140.1 
million 
compared 
to a net loss of $2.1 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. 
In 
2000, 
FINOVA Capital experienced a significant deterioration in the 
credit 
quality 
of its portfolio caused in part by a softening U.S. economy and 
certain 
industry specific economic weaknesses affecting many of its 
customers 
in those industries. Additionally, with the loss of its 
investment 
grade 
credit ratings and limited access to capital, FINOVA Capital's 
cost 
of 
funds 
increased significantly during the course of the year. The impact 
of 
these 
events and current economic conditions resulted in increased 
levels 
of 
problem 
accounts and higher cost of funds (resulting in lower interest 
margins), 
higher reserve requirements, higher write-offs, losses on 
investments 
and disposal of assets, impairment of intangible assets, 
reduced 
tax 
benefits and the decision to exit certain businesses. Other Matters 
On 
Feb. 
26, 2001, FINOVA and FINOVA Capital entered into a commitment with 
Berkshire 
Hathaway Inc., Leucadia National Corporation and Berkadia, 
LLC, 
an 
entity 
jointly owned by Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia pursuant to 
which 
Berkadia 
would lend $6 billion on a senior secured basis to FINOVA 
Capital, 
to 
facilitate a Chapter 11 restructuring of its outstanding debt. On 
Mar. 
7, 
2001, 
FINOVA, FINOVA Capital and seven of their subsidiaries filed for 
protection 
under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. On 
the 
first 
day of these proceedings, the bankruptcy court granted various 
orders 
authorizing 
FINOVA Capital to continue operating in the ordinary course 
of 
business, 
including funding commitments to its customers. As of the 
filing 
date, 
FINOVA Capital had over $1 billion of cash on hand. Due to delays 
caused 
by the bankruptcy process and other events, FINOVA Capital has 
filed 
for 
an automatic 15-day extension to file its annual report on Form 
10-K 
with 
the Securities and Exchange Commission. FINOVA Capital expects to 
file 
the 
10-K on or before Apr. 16, 2001. FINOVA Capital Corporation is a 
financial 
services company focused on providing a broad range of 
capital 
solutions 
primarily to midsize business. FINOVA Capital is 
headquartered 
in 
Scottsdale, 
Ariz. with business offices throughout the U.S. and in 
London, 
U.K., 
and Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit the company's 
website 
at 
www.finova.com.
 
####################################################
 
GE 
Capital Agrees to Buy Franchise Finance
 
By 
Matt Murray, Wall Street Journal 
General 
Electric's finance arm agreed to buy Franchise Finance Corp. of 
America 
for about $1.4 billion, and to assume about $700 million in 
debt, 
in 
a 
move that expands the reach of GE's large finance operation among 
franchisers 
such as chain restaurants and convenience stores. 
Clients 
of Franchise Finance, a real-estate investment trust in 
Scottsdale, 
AZ, 
include franchisees of such restaurant chains as Applebee's, 
Arby's, 
Burger 
King and Cracker Barrel, as well as auto companies such as Midas 
Muffler 
Shops and Checkers Auto Parts and convenience stores such as 
Circle 
K. 
The company said as of Dec. 31 it had a combined 
investment-and-servicing 
portfolio 
of more than 6,200 properties throughout the U.S. and Canada. 
GE 
Capital, the world's largest non-bank finance operation, said the 
acquisition, 
among its largest recent purchases, represents its greater 
interest 
in the growing market of financing mortgages and other loans 
to 
franchisers. 
Franchise Finance, meanwhile, said the sale would enable 
it 
to 
offer 
more services and products to customers. 
Through 
its commercial equipment-financing business, GE Capital agreed 
to 
pay 
shareholders of Franchise Finance $25 for each share outstanding. 
As 
of 
4 
p.m. Friday (3/30/01) in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, 
Franchise 
Finance shares gained $1.20, or 5.1%, to $24.92, while GE 
shares 
rose 
46 cents to $41.86 each. 
Franchise 
Finance will retain its name once the transaction closes, but 
will 
be 
identified as a division of GE Capital Financing. The purchase has 
been 
approved 
by boards of both companies, but still requires Commercial 
Equipment 
approval of Franchise Finance shareholders. 
GE 
Capital's commercial equipment-financing business currently provides 
financing 
for a wide range of equipment for companies. It is one of 
more 
than 
two dozen businesses in GE Capital, of Stamford, CT. 
 

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