Small Talk: Air Music blames broker for share price setbacks

Indeed, coming after a debacle last week over a profit warning from another of Mr French's companies, Croma, it is possible that the relationship between him and Seymour Pierce may already be beyond repair.

Sources at other brokers say they are already hoping to pinch Mr French's three AIM-listed businesses from Seymour Pierce, one of the biggest players in broking for microcap companies.

Air Music & Media has suffered from the downward pressure on prices of CDs and DVDs, and the decline in physical music sales more generally. Its record labels offer collections of oldies, in the main, rather than chart music, while its Hollywood DVD business, which was put into administration, used to sell bundles of DVDs that retailers gave away with DVD players - a practice that has died out now players are so cheap. Mr French reshuffled the management in July and said last month that underlying trading remained positive, with the prospects for growth looking strong.

The City is awaiting a new set of forecasts from Seymour Pierce, and Air Music shares have halved in two months amid fears that last year's profit of £800,000 will not be repeated.

Mr French blamed poor communication with the City for Air Music's share price fall. His mood will not have been lightened by last week's shenanigans over at Croma, which makes surveillance equipment for the military.

A company statement on Thursday said that a delayed order meant it would miss forecasts for the year, but Seymour Pierce vetoed the inclusion of some positive forecasts for the coming year. After furious words between the two sides, a second, more positive-sounding update was released to the market on prompting a modest rebound in the shares. The second announcement promised a new set of forecasts from Seymour Pierce this week. It is hard see to the relationship between Mr French and his broker lasting much beyond that, unless tempers cool.

Scott Tod row hots up

The management battle at Scott Tod, the stricken cash machines business, looks set to turn nastier. David Massie, the chairman, has ordered lawyers to investigate whether the company's founders made misleading statements as to the financial health of the company when it joined AIM in 2003 through a reverse takeover.

Nicholas Tod sold the business to Mr Massie's shell company Darwen Capital, but was ousted as chief executive in August after the business collapsed into losses. Although it has 2,200 standalone cash machines, where customers must pay a fee to take out money, many are in locations where they are barely used. The company has decided to move them to better spots before installing any more, a strategy Mr Tod says he will reverse if shareholders vote to re-install him and oust Mr Massie at an extraordinary general meeting.

Mr Massie says Scott Tod's lawyers, DMH Stallard, are making inquiries into whether some of the guarantees given at the time of the acquisition "were 100 per cent accurate".

Small Talk understands the inquiries are related to a dispute with Brinks, the cash-in-transit company which used to fill up its machines. Scott Tod's previous management had been demanding £0.5m and £1m from Brinks, which it says it owes after the company terminated the contract and set up its own in-house cash-in-transit business.

Last week's Small Talk reported claims by Mr Todto have support from 50 per cent of the shareholders. Mr Massie said: "We have been around to see many of our institutional shareholders and not one expressed any sympathy for Mr Tod's plans. We have not asked them formally to pledge that they will vote against the proposals, but we asked if there was anything we were doing wrong with the business and they said no."

The company's largest institutional shareholder, Baronsmead venture capital trusts, has publicly backed Mr Massie, while the Tod family has a 27 per cent block that will vote to put Mr Tod back into the chief executive role, under Jon Pither, a serial company director, as chairman.

Mr Tod said he hoped to change Baronsmead's mind during a round of meetings with institutional shareholders this week. He was confident that all the financial information presented to Darwen at the time of the acquisition was accurate.

Antibodies maker heads for AIM

It is catalogue shopping with a bit of a difference. The catalogue contains lab-grown fragments of the human immune system, and its customers are some of the most sophisticated biologists around the globe. The company with the catalogue is Abcam, formed out of Cambridge University seven years ago and making its AIM debut this week.

The "cam" bit of the name comes from its city of origin, the "ab" refers to antibodies, the proteins produced by the human immune system to fight disease and now often grown in the lab for scientists to use in medical research. Abcam had sales of £12.1m last year, distributing antibodies to universities and pharmaceuticals companies in 60 countries, and that figure is expected to rise more than 50 per cent this year. The company was set up by Jonathan Milner, pictured, who was then a post-doctorate researcher working on breast cancer but becoming frustrated about the scarcity, the quality and the information surrounding the antibodies he was requiring. Abcam has raised £10m - and a further £5.25m for the founders - to plough into internet marketing and also into acqusitions. As well as distributing antibodies, it wants to buy some manufacturers. The shares begin trading on Thursday at 167p apiece.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?