“Well, Sir Brian Stewart, John Dunsmore, shareholders of Scottish & Newcastle, we, the chief executives of Carlsberg and Heineken, appreciate the opportunity you are giving us to speak today.
“We are not here to indulge in fantasy, but in economic reality. The new law of evolution in corporate Britain seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in our book, you either do it right, or get eliminated.
“In the days of the free market, when Britain was an industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Rothschilds, the Sainsburys, the Westons, the men who built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company!
“All together, the management of S&N own less than 2 per cent of the company. You own S&N. That’s right – you, the stockholders.
“We know this private equity boom and the consequences of so much leverage have made you wary of takeovers. We know you are suspicious of buy-out barons with their steak luncheons, their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and their monstrous bonuses.
“But we, ladies and gentlemen, are not private equity. We are two public companies, with accountability to shareholders, that are paying cash. There are no Piks here; no toggles, no cov-lites.
“We are not destroyers of companies like private equity. We are liberators of them! When we take over a company, all shareholders benefit, not just a few.
“S&N has more than a dozen members on its various boards and layers of directors, each earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. We have spent the last two months analysing what all these guys do, and we still can’t figure it out. One thing we know is that S&N’s UK operating profits fell 14 per cent in the first half of the year and it is losing market share in those areas it controls such as France and Finland.
“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, greed, for lack of a better word – is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
Greed, in all its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed – you mark my words – will not only save S&N’s balance sheet, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the UK.”
Apologies to Oliver Stone
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