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Dallas-based Invitation Homes forms new venture to buy up to $1 billion in rental homes

Dallas-based Invitation Homes, the country’s largest rental home owner, is forming a joint venture with a private equity firm to buy up to $1 billion in single-family homes in Dallas, Seattle, South Florida and a dozen other U.S. markets.

Invitation Homes, which owns 80,000 homes, announced the venture with Rockpoint Group LLC on Wednesday. The companies will initially invest $375 million, with Rockpoint putting $300 million into the buying spree.

“We believe both the fundamentals in our sector and the need for high-quality rental housing in the U.S. are as strong as they have been in our company’s history,” said a statement from Invitation Homes CEO Dallas Tanner.

Single-family home rental companies grew out of the 2008 financial crisis, with Wall Street titans like Blackstone Group Inc. investing heavily in buying up distressed properties. Blackstone launched Invitation Homes but cashed out last year, netting billions in profit.

This year, Invitation Homes narrowed its focus to suburbs close to the city center in 16 markets. It bids on homes as they hit the market, competing with first-time homebuyers and other single-family landlords.

The joint venture expects to deploy as much as $1 billion, including debt, to buy and renovate homes.

Invitation Homes will handle asset and property management for the venture, and will collect management fees in the process, according to the companies.

Invitation Homes executives rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on Feb. 1, 2017, to mark the company's IPO. (The Associated Press)

Real estate investors have poured billions into the rental home industry in recent months, betting that more Americans will flee dense city living for the suburbs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s Boston-based Rockpoint’s first move into rental homes.

Rockpoint co-founder Keith Gelb said the firm is “thrilled to be investing alongside Invitation Homes and to be part of the housing solution in America by expanding quality of choice for those seeking homes for lease in

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Supreme Court Hears Google’s Appeal of Oracle’s $8 Billion Copyright Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday as it considered whether to protect Alphabet Inc.’s Google from a long-running lawsuit by Oracle Corp. accusing it of infringing Oracle copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world’s smartphones.

The shorthanded court, down one justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, heard oral arguments in Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages.

Some of the eight justices expressed concern that Google simply copied Oracle’s software code instead of innovating and creating its own for mobile devices. Others emphasized that siding with Oracle could give software developers too much power with potentially harmful effects on the technology industry.

A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google’s inclusion of Oracle’s software code in Android was not permissible under U.S. copyright law.

Oracle accused Google of copying thousands of lines of computer code from its popular Java programming language without a license in order to make Android, a competing platform that has harmed Oracle’s business.

Google lawyer Thomas Goldstein told the court that the disputed Java code should not receive copyright protection because it was the “the only way” to create new programs using the programming language.

“The language only permits us to use those,” Goldstein said.

But Chief Justice John Roberts suggested Google still should have paid Oracle for a license to Java.

“Cracking the safe may be the only way to get the money that you want, but that doesn’t mean you can do it,” Roberts said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch questioned Goldstein on whether Google had simply piggybacked on Oracle’s innovation.

Gorsuch asked, “What

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