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January 9: Golden Wonder, whose crisps were as much a part of my childhood as Tizer, has gone into administration. I blame Gary Lineker because Pepsi’s Walkers has done most of the damage. This is too good a story not to have some fun with. This, after all, is the company which once had the world’s largest crisp factory and introduced the world to cheese and onion crisps. We’ll tell you all about the decline of this great crisp and who dominates the market now. We’ll also try and work out who now owns Golden Wonder - it seems to be a bit of a mystery but we’re getting there.
We’re making a bit of progress on the tale of Anshul Rustagi, the London-based trader at Deutsche Bank, who tomorrow faces a disciplinary hearing after the bank discovered he had overstated his trading position by about £30m. The sum itself is not huge by the standards of the market in collateralised debt obligations in which he trades, but it’s still very interesting. We obviously want to find out much more about Rustagi himself but also what does this episode tell us about how CDOs are traded and priced? This is an illiquid market where valuations depend heavily on quite subjective assumptions about the valuation of other instruments and their underlying assets.
The story has ignited an interesting debate in the blogosphere. Some seem to think Rustagi (or Rusty, as one blogger says he was called at business school) is being made a scapegoat by Deutsche; others think the case raises questions about how ethics are taught at business school.
In other news, we have another bid for a construction company - this time for MJ Gleeson from an unnamed “investment firm”. We’ll have more to tell you about it all tomorrow.
We also have a decent trading update from Jessops, thanks to hot demand for digital cameras.
Pilkington shares are off today after weekend reports that the group had given up hope of a bid from Nippon Sheet Glass. However, as we said in the paper this morning and and as sources are telling Reuters, the talks don’t seem to be quite dead yet.
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