Simon English: Is Ladbrokes chief on a loser as he makes a deal to woo internet punters?

Outlook. Plus: Don't let Paulson hedge bets on Puerto Rico; And here is the news as Buik bows out

Last week Ralph Topping raised a few eyebrows among gamblers in the City and elsewhere when he predicted that William Hill could be worth £5bn before too long.

Chief executives are paid to be bullish, or think they are, but from a present market value of less than £3bn that's a sizeable punt forward.

His belief that the rise in mobile phone betting has much further to go was aped yesterday by rival Ladbrokes, which struck a deal with Hill's erstwhile online partner Playtech.

On one hand the deal is a coup for Ladbrokes' Richard Glynn, who joined the company three years ago with a brief to rescue its sputtering internet effort.

Playtech is widely seen as one of the smartest players in the sector, not least due to the reputation of its founder, the Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi.

Mr Glynn has already largely fixed the Ladbrokes shops, but is still well off the pace on the internet.

Its customers spend less money and less time on its websites than do rivals'.

So maybe Mr Glynn, after several false starts, is on the way to cracking it, though the terms aren't all in his favour.

One gambling observer put it like this: If you do a deal with Teddy Sagi, he got the better side of it.

Don't let Paulson hedge bets on Puerto Rico

Banker fails humility test, episode 987.

John Paulson, the US hedge fund king who made $15bn (£10bn) for his fund by cleverly betting that the subprime mortgage market was an absurd bubble, is said to be so annoyed at the taxes he has to pay for the privilege of living in Manhattan that he may move to Puerto Rico.

Now, there's nothing remotely wrong with betting that things will fall rather than rise – it's part of how markets work, and those subprime deals would have failed whether he had bet on them or not.

Still, he profited from other people's lives becoming a disaster, even if he didn't personally increase their misery.

In mortals, that might prompt pause for thought. Some soul-searching. A feeling that it might be good to, you know, give a bit back.

Instead Mr Paulson has been checking out Puerto Rico's real estate so he can eliminate taxes on his hedge fund gains by taking advantage of generous local tax laws, reports Bloomberg.

New York should tell Mr Paulson he's welcome to leave on the proviso that he never returns, just to see how serious he is about this.

There's a reason why Puerto Rico has to offer such tax deals – it is, shall we say, far from the loveliest of Caribbean islands. A place to visit, at best, rather than to live.

In the UK, the equivalent example sees some of our big shots occasionally threatening to take their money and depart to the Isle of Man, which has a top tax rate of 20 per cent.

You only have to go there once to get the feeling that the suicide rate must be about the same.

And here is the news as Buik bows out

For broadcasters looking for a City voice to enliven their coverage of what the stock market did today, or to defend what evil bankers got up to yesterday, David Buik has been the go-to-guy since God was a young boy (so it seems).

For print reporters desperately in need of similar, the same rule applied. If in doubt, or in a tight spot, phone the Buik hotline. He would come up with the goods and right quick.

Yesterday the old-time sage of the City announced that he would be moving on from Cantor Index, not bothering with the usual guff about wanting to spend more time with his family. He was made redundant, and said so.

If at times his commentary was verbose or even (ahem) a little right-leaning, politically speaking, that was part of the fun.

You didn't have to agree with him.

Beyond looking like Mr Pinstripe on the One O'Clock News (and the six and the ten), Buik performed other valuable roles, as lunch companion and confidante to financial hacks who may be in danger of taking themselves too seriously. Told a tale of woe about how awful life was, 50 years of experience at the sharp end of the City would be summoned and the gentlest word offered as the wine glass was refilled : Have a word with yourself, son.

Now he's gone, at least temporarily, a gaping hole in the market opens up. The good news is that the best person to fill it remains available for hire. After a well-deserved break, we trust.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
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

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Execution Trader

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global Rolling Spot FX, Comm...

Citifocus Ltd: ACA - Financial Reporting

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit