Fans of the North London soccer club Arsenal may not be in good spirits these days. The Gunners, as they are affectionately known, finished fourth in this season's English Premier League, well behind rivals Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea. In the final of the European Champions League, the most prestigious tournament of the season, the team lost a close 2-1 game to Spanish club Barcelona. And, perhaps most distressing of all, Arsenal's longtime stadium, Highbury, hosted its final soccer match last month. The team is moving to a new, larger home nearby: the 60,000-seat Emirates stadium. In a sign of the times, the façade of Highbury will be converted into luxury apartments and the pitch turned into a garden square.
The old Highbury, which only seats 38,500 and was originally built in 1913, may not have had the flash of more modern stadiums, but fans lamented its closing as “heartbreaking” and “terrible.” Michael Hart, a reporter for London's Evening Standard, called Highbury “the symbol of a bygone age of English football.” Fans will have a chance to hold on to a piece of that bygone era when the club auctions off memorabilia from the old stadium. Plans to sell the stadium's seats, however, were recently scrapped when it was discovered they contained trace amounts of cadmium, a toxic metal. Whether or not that explains the maniacal devotion of the Arsenal faithful is unclear.
Of course, not everything is doom and gloom for fans of the red and white. Thierry Henry, the team's star striker who was rumored to be considering a move to Barcelona, recently signed a new four-year contract with the Gunners.
“In the real estate market in the 1930s you could borrow more money against some real estate assets than you could sell them for. That's happening now in some parts of the private equity world and it's weird.”
Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska
“These investors have no social conscience whatsoever. They have a single interest: make my bank account fatter.”
Thilo Kluge, a 45-year old resident of Dresden as quoted in the International Herald Tribune, referring to Fortress' recent acquisition of the city's residential portfolio
“It feels like a hot potato market. I have to think, ‘Who's the bigger fool I'm going to sell it to?’”
Barry Sternlicht, founder and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital, at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles
“Make it difficult—then the foreigners will have to pay more. Why should we make it easy for them?”
Kishore Biyani, founder of India's largest shopping group, Pantaloon, quoted in Fortune about easing government restrictions on foreign investment in the Indian retail sector
“Dumb lending always has its consequences. It's…like an epidemic that doesn't show up until it's too late to stop it. Any developer will build anything he can borrow against.”
borrow against.” Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska
“We are all going to be in a liquidity crunch when it all crashes. There is nowhere to hide. “
David Ellington, trustee at the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System, referring to the overheated Indian real estate market, as quoted in Reuters