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It’s incredibly busy again today, especially for mid-July. First, shares in MF Global, the US brokerage, have been priced well below the indicative range set by its owner Man Group in the latest sign of nervousness surrounding companies with exposure to the credit markets. It looks like Man will raise about $1bn less than it had hoped – even with 18 banks working on the IPO. Man shares are actually up a bit today, so presumably some people thought it might not get away at all.
Also, we’ve just heard how Third Point, Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund, got on with the IPO of its London fund. It has raised $525m, which is way below the bottom of its target range of €500m, or, at today’s rate, $690m.
It may be the most interesting thing he has done since taking up the post seven years ago, but Lord Blyth is stepping down as chairman of Diageo. He has made such a small impression there I had forgotten about him altogether. The chairman and chief executive of Roche, Franz Humer, is going to take over. He is a serious man and probably just the sort of energetic internationalist Diageo needs.
Today’s FSA annual meeting, at which John Tiner hands over the chief executiveship to Hector Sants, doesn’t sound like it was a triumph. First, the umbrella body representing the UK financial services industry attacked the “deluge of policy reviews” in retail financial services (even if Roy Leighton hardly rammed the point home). Second, our reporters came away divided on how Sants, who has always seemed very pleasant to me, performed. One thought he did fine; another was deeply unimpressed at how he answered questions.
Barclays has confirmed it might revise the terms of its €64bn ($88bn) all-share offer for Dutch rival ABN Amro, to include cash.
And the weather being blamed again, this time by Wm Morrison, for a slowdown in sales. Blacks Leisure, on the other hand, says the wet was jolly helpful, thank you. We also have a pretty solid-looking trading update from Vodafone.