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How many banks does it take to float a broker? 17 is the answer, or 18 if you consider that one of those floating Man Group’s MF Global, ABN Amro Rothschild, is a joint venture. FT Alphaville has the full list. Man Group said today it had set an indicative price range for the flotation of MF Global, which would value the US brokerage business at $4.6bn-$5bn.
The other very good story today is Jessops, which is to close 81 stores and cut 550 jobs. The shares, floated at 155p in October 2004, are up 7½ per cent at 19.35p. The company has put in place what looks a lot like rescue finance from HSBC – the new facility is costing a thumping 5.5 per cent above Libor, Neil Hume tells me. The company seems also to have lost the ability to spell: “interim” is repeatedly spelt “intermin” on its website.
And we’re keeping very close tabs on the LSE’s attempt to buy Borsa Italiana of course. One interesting question is whether the deal would need approval from the LSE’s shareholders and whether they would grant it. Existing shareholders such as Nasdaq and hedge funds could expect to be diluted, which may be the point. LSE shares are down 1½ per cent.
As you can imagine, we’re all fighting over the office copy of the FSA’s annual report, out today. Apparently the regulator underspent its budget by nearly £5m, an elementary mistake, and increased chief executive John Tiner’s pay by 14 per cent to a still rather mean £6533,000.
Just in case you think it’s all fun in the newsroom today, there is a debate raging here over whether it is correct or not to abbreviate the London Underground to The Tube. Our transport correspondent, Robert Wright, says absolutely not. Tube lines are deep-level lines such as the Northern Line, but not the Circle Line, which is sub-surface. But my colleague Mick “Mikipedia” Kavanagh points out that while Hampstead is very keep indeed, Golders Green, the next stop, is not. Apparently it’s all to with the size of the trains. (This comes up today because Metronet is seeking an extraordinary review of their spending on deep-level lines.) Anyway, how come the London Underground is so-called if two thirds of it is above ground?
Finally, a bunch of ex-Enterprise boys are bringing an energy company, Stratic Energy, to market under the chairmanship of Sir Graham Hearne. You can be sure they have a good time.