For most of this morning we were in no doubt about today’s best story. Patrick Imbardelli, chief executive of InterContinental Hotels’ Asia Pacific region, has resigned after the company discovered that his academic qualifications weren’t quite what they seemed. Others have been guilty of it, of course, and we’ll be asking readers on FT.com whether it matters.
But then the chief executive of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Peter Linthwaite, resigned. This follows his and his colleagues’ dreadful performance this week before the Treasury select committee. But you have to feel a bit sorry for the BVCA guys (even if the chairman Wol Kolade barely even tried to stand up for his chief executive yesterday, which wasn’t impressive). They are mostly from fairly minor firms and are ill-equipped in many ways to take on this battle. With the exception of Damon Buffini and a handful of others, the big dogs of the industry have left them to fight the fight on their own. Meanwhile those big dogs bitch and moan about the BVCA – off the record of course – without having the gumption to get out there themselves and make the case for their industry. So far, the industry has had the lobby group it deserves.
We’ll do more on Sir Tom Hunter’s efforts to derail Tesco’s £228m agreed takeover of Dobbies Garden Centres. Last night Sir Tom, who already had 10.6 per cent, bought another 10 per cent at £17.50 – 16.7 per cent premium to Tesco’s bid. Tesco sounded slightly rattled last night, which doesn’t happen often. Dobbies shares are up 16 per cent to £17.75 today, but how odd that the market didn’t see this coming when Tesco bid on Friday. Incidentally, Sir Tom has sold down some of his holding in Bookers.
Other stuff: First Choice said bookings for its specialist and niche holidays were up strongly, although sales of its mainstream short-haul package holidays were weak. Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, said it had made a strong start to the financial year but sounded a note of caution given the “uncertain consumer outlook” as interest rates rise.
We also have a couple of cracking scoops. Nothing quite as good as this morning’s splash with Sir Ronald Cohen saying managers of large private equity funds should be taxed more, but very close.