Formally trained as a furniture maker, Pummer, a native of Frankfurt, Germany, began specializing in bed frames in 1998. His research into bed-design principles led him to a sleep psychology institute in Austria, where he soon became certified as a sleep coach. Today, in addition to owning a home furnishings showroom in Dallas’s Design District, he offers in-home consultations on how to attain the best sleep possible.
Built to the Brim
A boom in the Texas housing market is stretching homebuilders thin as they fight to keep up with exploding demand, Businessweek reported this week. Home prices in Houston and Dallas are “up more than at any time since the oil boom of the 1980s,” and the state saw a record number of residential sales in the second quarter of 2013.
A Done Dell
After months of delays and deliberations, Dell Inc. shareholders voted Thursday to take the company private in a $24.8 billion buyout from CEO Michael Dell and the Silver Lake Partners investment group.
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank panelist Mark Cuban is back in court this week to defend himself against a federal insider-trading lawsuit that has spanned nearly a decade. The Securities and Exchange Commission claims Cuban “broke a promise of confidentiality and traded on private information that gave him an advantage over other investors” when he sold his stock in the Internet search company Mamma.com in 2004, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
At the center of the investigation is a phone call between Cuban and Mamma’s CEO, who mentioned an upcoming private offering that was likely to dilute the company’s stock value, prompting Cuban to dump his shares. The SEC claims both parties had agreed to keep the conversation confidential, which would have barred the Mavs owner from unloading his stock until the news went public. Cuban, who was the company’s largest shareholder at the time, claims he never agreed to confidentiality.
The Bottom Line: The SEC hopes to reclaim about $750,000 in losses that Cuban dodged by bailing out early, plus an additional fine, according to the Star-Telegram. There are no criminal charges involved in the trial, which will resume on Monday.
The Love Belo
Shareholders of Dallas-based TV broadcasting company Belo Corp. voted this week to approve the company’s sale to Gannett in a deal worth $1.5 billion. If the deal closes by the end of the year as expected, Gannett will be one of the nation’s largest TV-station owners, the Wall Street Journal reports. The addition of Belo’s twenty stations brings its total portfolio up to 43. The only remaining hurdle in finalizing the acquisition is securing approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, which have requested further information from the companies.
The Bottom Line: Seventy-three percent of shareholders voted in favor of the sale, despite some recent speculation that Belo could have gotten a better deal if it had put itself up for auction, according to the Journal. The June announcement of the sale sparked a bump in the company’s stock price as hedge funds jumped on the bandwagon, “expecting either another buyer to swoop in or for Gannett to sweeten its bid.”
Forbes 400 net-worth estimates are a snapshot of each list member’s wealth on August 23. Some members will become richer or poorer within days of publication. To compile its rankings, Forbes started with a list of more than six hundred individuals considered to be strong candidates, then met with them in person when possible and also interviewed their employees, handlers, rivals, peers, and attorneys.
The first thing to know about the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is that you should get there a little early. Security is tight—the entrance to the parking lot alone employs a series of three gates, plus guards. To enter the building you have to get a visitor’s badge, which allows you and your bag to go through the metal detectors into the lobby, where you can exchange your first badge for another one. This badge allows you to proceed beyond the lobby, although you’re not exactly free to roam.
The Barnett and Eagle Ford shales may be known as oil and gas hot spots, but fracking has also brought some real money to Cisco, a heretofore anonymous dot between Fort Worth and Abilene. It was here, in 2002, that brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, the sons of a bricklayer, branched out from the family business to found Frac Tech, which designs, builds, and deploys the pumper rigs drillers use to blast open shale formations.
Massive contingency fees, like the estimated $345 million he collected in Pennzoil v. Texaco back in the eighties, have made Joe Jamail America’s richest practicing lawyer. He’s one of the most generous too, having given away some $230 million, and the Jamail name can now be found on everything from the football field and the swim center at the University of Texas at Austin to the plaza in front of Rice University’s public policy school to a Houston skate park.
Though he grew up with a famous father, Ross Perot Jr. quickly established his own identity. When he was 23, he became the first person to circumnavigate the earth in a helicopter. He spent his twenties flying F-4 Phantom jets in the Air Force. In his thirties he created the real estate firm Hillwood, whose massive AllianceTexas project helped transform the I-35 corridor north of Fort Worth.