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June 8: We have three very good stories on the UK companies desk today: Goldman Sachs’s crashing out of the BAA auction, Isoft restating its accounts and the latest chapter in the bloody management revolution at Barclays.
Goldman has conceded defeat to Ferrovial in the battle for BAA. The last 24 hours have been quite fraught and we are in the process of piecing the story together, but it looks like Goldman moved too slowly to prevent the Spanish-led consortium building up a 29 per cent stake in the airports group. Lex says shareholders should be jolly pleased.
Isoft is just a disaster. The shares are down nearly a third after the software group lowered its profit target following a change in accounting policy. It now expects pre-tax profits for last year to have been £3m-£7m, instead of the £17m-£22m previously indicated. The accounts back to 2003 are being restated but will management bonuses reflect this adjustment? Of course not.
John Varley seems so English and nice, yet he is effecting a brutal transformation of Barclays’ senior management. Assisted by two tough Americans, Bob Diamond and Paul Idzik, he is Americanising the culture by importing US bank executives. This is no bad thing at all, although why Dave Roberts has to leave after 23 years remains a bit of a mystery. Barclays has recruited Frits Seegers from Citigroup to take over his responsibilities and some others too.
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