James Ashton: Let's see Parker pack his bags and go postal


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The Independent Online

Tim Parker tried to convince me he was staying put when he breezed into my office this week, but I still suspect it won’t be long before the private equity world’s favourite boss has found something new to occupy his mind.

Mr Parker has cut a swathe through the Automobile Association, Kwik-Fit and shoemaker Clarks in a career that pleased backers but angered trade unions. His latest berth, leading luggage maker Samsonite, has proved to be his most lucrative, creating a stake worth £90m on top of the £30m he took out when the business floated in Hong Kong two years ago. There is bags of growth left, as he put it.

Closer to home, business minister Michael Fallon fired the starting gun on the privatisation of the Royal Mail. Politicians would prefer a “Tell Sid” style flotation, but private equity may also have a sniff. Last time around, CVC, the firm to which Mr Parker is closest, was very interested. If it bid again, it might call on an old friend to get the rambunctious postal workers in order.

The laid-back Prince of Darkness goes postal? Now that is something I would pay to see.