CITY DIARY

The early news of PowerGen's bid for Midlands Electricity in last Friday's papers "didn't come out as a leak. It came out in my view as a professional deep-throated briefing," Ed Wallis, the PowerGen boss, said yesterday.

Unruffled by the fact that the bid is now agreed and they are all on the same side, Mr Wallis blamed the briefing on Midlands' public relations advisers, Cardew & Co.

Mr Wallis professed himself extremely annoyed on the grounds that some people had assumed his side was responsible. But not to worry - by the weekend it looked as if it was to PowerGen's advantage.

Mr Wallis said that rather than the original intention of getting a better price by early disclosure, the leak forced the Midlands board to make up its mind about the offer.

While we're on the subject, Midlands Electricity was due to replace Eastern Electricity in the FT-SE 100 index yesterday following the latter's acquisition by Hanson. The move is likely to be brief, however, as PowerGen has clinched an agreed bid for Midland. Is this a record?

Nobody likes walking naked into the conference chamber, as Britain's postwar foreign minister, Ernest Bevin, so eloquently put it. WorldCover Direct, a company that provides annual travel insurance policies, had a claim which illustrates the point.

A businessman was travelling around the Middle East and wound up in Dubai, just 12 hours away from an important business conference.

Disaster loomed, how- ever, when he discovered that his luggage had ended up in Amsterdam. With nothing to wear but the sweat-soaked clothes he was in, our man then rang WorldCover Direct's "Concierge Hotline", which produced one tailor and one shoemaker to kit him out. The result - a suit, shirt socks, tie, shoes and cufflinks were all supplied, and our hero proudly strode into the meeting to make his pitch. History does not record whether he was successful.

The Economist magazine had a burglary recently in which at least two computers were stolen; they contained work for a forth- coming piece on The World in 1996. Is this symbolic?

Midland Bank is leading the appeal for pounds 4m to send our athletes off to the next Olympics in Atlanta next year. The UK is the only country apart from the US which does not provide any government money for the Olympic team.

The HSBC-owned bank has set up 166 groups around the country to raise the money, each one headed by a senior Midland man- ager, along with other members of the local community. With just eight months to go, the fund-raising drive will be launched on Wednesday by world-record-breaking runner Seb Coe. He will unveil a six-foot-high clock overlooking the Thames from HSBC's head office on Lower Thames Street. And all 350 athletes will release a balloon each. Luminaries like Adrian Moorhouse and Tessa Sanderson will be there, as well as rowers Geoff and Jonny Searle.

Ronnie Frost, the former chicken salesman who is now chief executive of Hays business services, was looking very dapper yesterday as he announced another thumping set of results in his distribution and personnel business.

Matching his fetching red braces was a bright red tie featuring small teddy bears holding hands.

Why the sartorial whimsy, one pondered?

"My daugther gave it to me to wear on Saturday when I married her off," he said positively beaming with pride.

He then opened his jacket wider to give those present an even better view.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea