Column Eight: News to depress Beattie

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OH DEAR, the fourth estate has been at it again. BT, National Westminster and Barclays and British Gas have all been attracting some of most negative press comment among Britain's leading companies, according to Presswatch, a new quarterly survey of press opinion.

But the biscuit for the worst press coverage goes to Tiny Rowland's Lonhro. It all sounds like manna for the currently underemployed public relations chaps.

NEVER mind Bill Clinton's two-to-one lead in the opinion polls, the bookies at Ladbroke are still convinced that President George Bush will remain in the Oval Office after November's US election. Having just trousered pounds 5,000 in bets on the ill-fated Perot candidacy, Ladbroke is offering odds of 8-11 on Bush and evens on Clinton. By a strange coincidence, it was offering identical odds this week four years ago, when Michael Dukakis was an eager hopeful.

TIME marches ineluctably on. So do the junk mailers. With utter contempt for the season, the Save the Children Fund Christmas 1992 catalogue is now crashing through half-a-million letter boxes.

WORD that Laurence Tisch, chairman of CBS, might be interested in a piece of Canary Wharf is being greeted with considerable scepticism in New York. Mr Tisch is famous for almost investing in all sorts of troubled ventures. But Thomas Wyman, the man he succeeded as head of the US television network, is attracting serious attention.

Despite having no hands-on experience in investment banking, Mr Wyman has been appointed chairman of SG Warburg's US arm to drum up more business.

He replaces Nicholas Verey, who is returning to London to take charge of equity, debt and derivatives securities business.

IT IS time to leave the bicycle clips at home. Seen yesterday at the Exchange building, behind the City's Broadgate development: a bicycle with a large printed notice stuck over the crossbar. 'Estate Security: do not move, your bicycle has been chained.' it said. No doubt they will soon be clapping leg irons on strollers.