So farewell Sir John Sunderland, chairman of Cadbury Schweppes and a company man for 40 years. Chief executive Todd Stitzer has given up trying to sell the US beverages in favour of demerging it on the NYSE. “The value is the same,” he says, apparently forgetting that cash today is not quite the same thing as shares in a US-listed company next May. Investors, who we wrote on Saturday were getting restive, seem relieved to see progress. The shares are up a bit.
A group of hedge fund executives led by Sir Andrew Large has published a slightly more robust set of recommendations for the industry than many expected. The report – meaty but turgid – calls for disclosure of CFD positions and urges hedge funds not to vote on the affairs of companies where they have only borrowed stock. These, and the other recommendations should sit quite lightly on the industry and, remember, the code – if one emerges from this – will be voluntary.
On a related matter, Hans-Joerg Rudloff seems to have told Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper that politicians need to devise rules to thwart “opaque structures”. Is this the same Hans-Joerg Rudloff who chairs Barclays Capital, responsible for several SIV-lites? That, of course, wouldn’t meant he didn’t have a point.
We also have slowing sales growth at J Sainsbury. For the 16 weeks to October 6, like-for-like sales rose 3.1 per cent. Last year, they increased 6.6 per cent during the same period, helped by exceptionally warm weather and the football World Cup. Talks with a Qatari investment group about a £10.6bn takeover approach are continuing. Catch our retail correspondent, Beth Rigby, explaining it all in her video Daily View and hear her analysis of what the Qataris would do if they won.
Finally, if you want a first look at the new Diageo chairman, check out my View from the Top video with Franz Humer. He talks about the future for Guinness, chief executive Paul Walsh and the impact of the credit squeeze.