Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Ford to reverse away from Dixon again?

What news of Breaking Views, the City commentary website that's being snapped up by Thomson Reuters?
You'll recall the move is causing a bit of a kerfuffle because the key players have a history: BV co-founder, Jonathan Ford, left the company in 2007 after a spectacular falling out with his business partner Hugo Dixon. He then re-emerged at Thomson Reuters to launch a rival commentary service - only to see his new baby effectively strangled at birth by this deal. So what's the next instalment?
"My best guess is that the old hands in London will be redeployed, the Ford will be driven off into the sunset, and that the others will remain," says one Reuters insider, before adding: "It's not so neat in New York, though..."

Friday, 25 September 2009

Notts the way to do it

Russell King and Nathan Willett - the powerbrokers behind the QADBAK investment fund that's been bankrolling Sven Goran Eriksson's Notts County - seem to have realised rather too late that they were about to be fingered by the Fourth Estate.
Exposé after exposé has appeared in the papers this week about these mysterious moneymen and now one County insider reflects: "I thought there was something up. At last week's game, both Russell and Nathan said they didn't want to sit in the front row of the directors' box". D'oh!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Bloom with a view

I see that UKIP MEP and former City fund manager, Godfrey Bloom, has caused a bit of a fuss by heckling Financial Services Authority chairman, Lord Turner, at Mansion House.
This is not the first time that Bloom has managed to attract controversy. Five years ago he mused : "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age" - a controversial view expressed with impeccable timing.
The former Mercury Asset Management fund manager made the comments on his first day in the Strasbourg parliament - where he'd just been given a seat on the, er, European Parliament's women's rights committee.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fancy that...

"[Tennis star, Roger Federer] let an imposing Juan Martin Del Potro back into the match and then could not take back up his game as so often in the past. I have seen businesses do the same." - Thomson Reuters boss, Tom Glocer, September 18, 2009.

"I see this year’s US Open final as less of a passing of an era ... and more of a cautionary tale for all of us on the court or in business." - Thomson Reuters boss, Tom Glocer, September 18, 2009.

"The parallels between sport and business are overused to the point of being hackneyed." - Thomson Reuters boss, Tom Glocer, September 18, 2009.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Insider goes outside

What is going on at the Sunday Express's Insider column, the weekly city diary penned by some slick hack (no doubt) on the orders of boss Richard Desmond?
Yesterday's six story page contained not one - but two - yarns lifted directly from this humble website - tales that were copied out in such haste that the speedy typist had no time to add the usual credit.
No wonder they call it the Express.

Friday, 18 September 2009


City "superwoman" turned Madoff victim Nicola Horlick at the checkout of the Cromwell Road Sainsbury's this morning.
Nicola, sporting a pair of trainers, drove away with her bag of groceries in a silver VW Beetle.
Didn't she used to employ staff for this type of stuff?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Oh FT - no comment

What has the Financial Times' Lex column done to upset blogger Trevor E Brown so?
TEB has started a new feature called Lex Watch which seems to be designed solely to slate the Pink 'Un's back page comment section.
He writes: "The Financial Times Lex column was once thought provoking, informative, and occasionally witty. Now it is lazy warmed-over, regurgitant, boring, with a narcissistic emphasis on style wrapped around flabby content – or am I just having a bad day?"
It seems not - as he's followed it up with a couple more scathing Lex postings, making my obsession with the Telegraph's Jeremy Warner seem positively healthy.

Monday, 14 September 2009

No hedgie u-turn on Porsche

The market rally may now mean that hedge fund managers are more likely to start buying Porsches again to reward themselves for their undoubted genius, but that doesn't mean they'll be punting on the shares.
You'll recall how, last year, funds short-selling Volkswagen took a savage goosing from the sports car group (which is also VW's biggest shareholder) after it took advantage of a controversial German legal loophole allowing it to secretly take its VW stake to almost 75%.
In fact, those wounds remain fresh and many hedgies have been told by bosses to stay away from Porsche shares - news that might just amuse Porsche execs even more. Schadenfreude, they might call it.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Davis's new award fails to hit the Marx

I see that Evan Davis - the piercing BBC business presenter who fronts Dragon's Den - has emulated one of the main heroes of the credit crisis and the collapse of Northern Rock.
Davis has accepted one of those dreadful honorary degrees from Coventry University (Lanchester Poly, as was) - the same mob who thought it a bright idea to similarly honour Sir Derek Wanless, the former head of the Rock's risk committee, just months after his customers queued down Britain's highstreets to get their money out.
Davis also joins the likes of television's Richard Keys and disc jockey Simon Mayo, who both felt insecure enough to collect one of these silly baubles from the former polytechnic and thereby ignored the sage teachings of Marx. Solid work.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Todd presses the wrong Cadbury button

Despite presiding over a flat shareprice graph during his six years as head of Cadbury, I read that Todd Stitzer is still set to trouser £6m if the company gets gobbled up by Kraft at the 745p.
Yet, in March, Stitzer sold off £2m worth of shares at £5 a throw. Believe in yourself, boy!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Another nice mess, Stanley

Shares in Cadbury surged almost 40% today to 783p after a £10bn bid from Toblerone maker, Kraft. That news will have gone down well with those sage analysts at Morgan Stanley who, just two weeks ago, seem to have arrived back from their summer holidays and promptly downgraded the British chocolate maker.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Jones fails to keep up with the meerkat

I notice that price comparison website, moneysupermarket.com, is reviewing its pisspoor television ad campaign fronted by Dragons' Den "star" Peter Jones.
This is down to the success of rival comparethemarket.com's brilliant commercials, featuring their speaking meerkat character, Aleksandr Orlov, pictured below, the boss of comparethemeerkat.com.
This is a nice coup for Aleksandr (and an equally satisfying development for viewers who can't stand the self-regarding Jones), but might the entrepreneur's Dragons' Den colleague, Evan Davis, now be a touch concerned?
It's been pointed out before that Evan and Aleksandr bear a striking resemblance to each other. Could Jones now take out his meerkat frustrations on the wrong man?

Pavis bracing for a Brady bunch of fives

Karren Brady, the Birmingham City MD who is replacing Margaret Mountford as Sir Alan Sugar's sidekick on The Apprentice, is making another high profile public appearance tomorrow.
She will be in the boardroom at Meadow Lane to watch Sven Goran Eriksson's Notts County take on Burton Albion, the Football League newcomers who are managed by Mr Brady, aka Paul Peschisolido.
This invitation should rank as an even greater coup for Ms Brady than scooping her new reality telly role, after she famously fell out with County's former chairman, Derek Pavis, when he suggested that women should not be allowed inside football club boardrooms.
Pavis is likely to be in attendance tomorrow too. Developing...

Update: my story seems to have prompted bookmaker Paddy Power to start a betting market.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Treffers Guardian angle

Whoops! The Grauniad's once-great but now pisspoor Diary reports today that George "Treffers" Tregarne is still working for BP - as it desperately searches for an angle in some dull piece on UK trade deals with Libya.
Sadly for the Graun, Treffers - the former speech writer to former BP boss Lord Browne -moved beyond petroleum months ago. Another one for the corrections and clarifications column, then.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

How football transactions work...

"ASTON VILLA are expected to lead an Andrey Arshavin backlash at a Premier League meeting today. Several clubs, including Villa, want to know why the Eur16.9m deal for the Russian playmaker was allowed to go through - a full 24 hours after the transfer window closed." The Sun, February 5, 2009.

"ASTON VILLA were given dispensation to complete a £5million deal for Richard Dunne last night as negotiations over his departure from Manchester City rumbled on past the 5pm deadline." Daily Mail, September 2, 2009.