From Merry Widows to the Internet frenzy...

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TEST YOUR memory of the year's winners and losers with the Christmas business quiz for 1999


1. Which embattled Welsh utility boss said: "I like gardening but I don't intend to take it up full time"?

2. "I'm 56, so I'm not going to go on forever. But I'm intent on seeing this great company come through and start moving ahead." Which beleaguered retailer made this pledge?

3. Who said of his takeover target: "[It] has tons and tons of shitty pubs in great sites and it is crap at management"?

4. Which top electrical retailer said of his background: "My father was modestly ambitious. My mum was a bit more aggressive. Together they created this little monster."?

5. Whose venerable Aunt, Lady Delfont, accused him of "asset stripping" the leisure company which was founded by his 72-year-old uncle?

6. Who said: "It's just not NICE."?

7. Who said: "Historically, they've always been losers, but for a short amount of time they became winners."?

8. Who described Scotland as a "dark land overrun by homosexuals"?

9. Who said: "The Internet means the flame of Athenian democracy can be rekindled and ignited here in the UK."?

10. "The evolution of Rupert Murdoch's mind, of my mind, of the European Commission's mind, will make the merging of Sky and Canal Plus become obvious. We will wait for that day."?


1. How often is a new millionaire created in the US? (a) every 10 minutes (b) every 10 hours or (c) every 10 days?

2. Which former presenter of TV's Under the Moon became an unlikely Internet millionaire with his online sports company, 365 Corporation?

3. Who emerged as the successor to Britain's highest-paid executive and at what company?

4. Which British advertising boss saw his personal fortune, including share-incentive scheme and investment-plan performance shares, hit pounds 130m as of Christmas eve?

5. Name the chief executive of a British technology group specialising in handheld devices whose 17 per cent stake is worth pounds 325m.

6. Who is Britain's richest software executive, with a stake worth pounds 675m, and whose company is definitely not falling down?

7. Who is the journalist whose online auction company was floated in September and whose personal fortune on paper has now surpassed pounds 300m?

8. Whose tea ladies hit a goldmine in May?


1. By the first quarter of 2000, the US economic expansion will be the longest ever. How long is that?

2. Which industrialised economy grew fastest in 1997, 1998, 1999 and probably will grow fastest in 2000 as well?

3. What were the highest and lowest levels of UK interest rates during 1999?

4. What was average weekly pay in 1999? And median pay?

5. Is national income (a) about pounds 580bn (b) about pounds 850bn or (c) about pounds 1,000bn?

6. The Government introduced a National Minimum Wage in April. How much is it?

7. Just how low did the euro go?

8. What does the number 2.86bn refer to? (a) The highest bonus payments for a Goldman Sachs' managing directors (b) The numbers of tears shed by investors selling Freeserve the day after its float (c) The highest level of shares traded in a day in 1999 on the London market.

9. Why is the taxman after 250,000 mini owners?

10. The quoted US Internet sector is worth over pounds 600bn. How much is the quoted Europe Internet sector worth? (a) pounds 30bn (b) pounds 50bn (c) pounds 80bn


1. It was a difficult year for this top retailer; his merger with Asda was trumped by Wal-Mart, then he lost a string of top executives to rivals. Who is he?

2) Which two FTSE 250 companies saw two bids from rivals collapse during the year?

3. Which multi-utility went west and finally bagged its target?

4. What venture capital group teamed up with Allied Leisure to buy First Leisure's family entertainment unit for pounds 111.5m in cash?

5. Name the Scottish whisky company which was taken private earlier this year by The Edrington Group and William Grant & Sons?

6. Which fitness club operator, which is headed by a dynamic Dutchman, acquired Pinnacle Leisure Group for pounds 84m in May?

7. Which two UK water companies waded into the US market and what did they buy?

8. What is the name of the former bathroom company in which Luke Johnson, the founder of Pizza Express, recently took a major stake?

9. Which Merry Widows were laughing all the way to the bank?

10. Who found the right formula after seeing his flotation plans stuck on the starting grid?


1. Who replaced whom on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee?

2 Who has been named as the successor to Sir Michael Angus, chairman of Whitbread?

3. Which football-playing, Morris dancing enthusiast was named head of Wal-Mart's European operations earlier this year following the pounds 6.7bn Asda takeover?

4. Name the former BSkyB non-executive director and Granada executive who became chief executive of Cable & Wireless in February?

5. Who went from Lloyds to NatWest and nearly went to Barclays?


1. Which top businessman quit jobs with the Conservative Party and Asda to join a tiny textile company and a shell company called Knutsford.

2. What was the name of the Seattle police chief who resigned after violent protests disrupted the World Trade Organisation meeting held there at the start of December?

3. Who did National Power pull the plug on?

4. Which digital television executive quit his post in mid-July to join eVentures, Rupert Murdoch's Internet investment arm, only to change course days later and sign up with a leading venture capital group?

5. Who was a heart beat away from taking up the Barclays top job in April?

6. Who moved from BSkyB to head eVentures last spring after reputedly being offered a $25m hello to work on Internet ventures for Microsoft?


1. How was Marconi brought back to life and which great British name disappeared from the scene?

2. Who changed its name to Kelda and what does it mean?

3. What persuaded Seton Scholl to change its name to SSL?


1. Which two bastions of the UK high street bowed to consumer pressure and agreed to accept third-party credit cards?

2. What does ADSL stand for?

3. Which utility took action to make sure its profits were not eclipsed?

4. Digital television, spurred on by free set-top box offers from BSkyB and ONdigital, will have attracted around 2.5 million subscribers in 1999. Is that more or less than the number of consumers purchasing PCs?

OOPS ...

1. Which company's share price soared because hapless punters confused it with a rival with a similar name?

2. Which media mogul, after a series of press briefings to explain his group's proposed merger with another leading UK media player, escaped through a rear window of The City Presentation centre to avoid being photographed?

3. In an amazing blunder, the Stock Exchange in 1999 mistakenly substituted the name of one company involved in takeover talks with the name of another in an entirely different sector. What were the names of the two companies?

4. Who was the glamorous woman whose wedding photographs were plastered all over the City pages of the national papers in July?

5. Which company was caught up in the Internet frenzy even though it had nothing to do with the Internet, because its name sounded vaguely like "dot com"? (a) Osprey Comms (b) PNC Tele.Com (c) Dicom

6. What was the name of the finance director who bought shares in his company one day before the announcement of a takeover offer and was subsequently cleared by the Stock Exchange?

7. Which company was forced to call the cops after protestors stormed its offices, resulting in an arrest for a breach of the peace?



1. Graham Hawker, chief executive of Hyder.

2. Dino Adriano, chief executive of J Sainsbury.

3. Hugh Osmond, the flamboyant head of Punch Taverns on Allied Domecq's pubs chain.

4. Sir Stanley Kalms, chairman of Dixons.

5. Michael Grade (The company was First Leisure).

6. Glaxo Wellcome's spokesman on the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's (NICE) decision that Relenza, its flu treatment, should not be recommended for general prescription.

7. Alan Goodenough, chief executive of London Clubs International, after a pair of high rollers enjoyed a winning streak at its flagship St James casino.

8. Pat Robertson, the American evangelist whose controversial views upset some Bank of Scotland customers and led to the collapse of their US banking joint venture in June.

9. Michael Hardern, founder of, where windfall hunters gather to discuss how to force demutualisation votes at building societies.

10. Jean-Marie Messier, chairman of Vivendi, whose firm has acquired a 25 per cent interest in BSkyB.


1. (a) - at least as long as share prices keep rising.

2. Danny Kelly.

3. Jean-Pierre Garnier is to replace Jan Leschly, whose total package including options is worth some pounds 93m, at SmithKline Beecham in April.

4. Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group.

5. David Potter, chairman of Psion.

6. Gordon Crawford, chairman and managing director, London Bridge Software.

7. Tim Jackson, founder,

8. Goldman Sachs, dubbed Goldmine Sachs by the tabloids, which distributed shares worth an average $360,000 each to its 13,000 employees when it went public in May. The senior partners insisted on every permanent member of staff getting shares, including the tea ladies. The shares have soared more than 50 per cent in value since.


1. Eight years.

2. Ireland.

3. 6.25 per cent (January) and 5 per cent (June-September).

4. pounds 400 and pounds 334 respectively - a few very high incomes pull the average higher than the median.

5. (b).

6. pounds 3.60 an hour.

7. Below parity with the dollar - to $0.990.

8. (c).

9. Because they also have maxis - maxi-ISAs, which are incompatible with mini-ISAs under the complex system for the new tax-free individual savings accounts.

10. (c).


1. Sir Geoff Mulcahy, chief executive of Kingfisher.

2. Fire group Williams ( from Tyco) and holiday group First Choice ( from Kuoni and Airtours).

3. ScottishPower, which succeeded in buying PacifiCorp for pounds 4bn after 12 months of regulatory hearings.

4. Duke Street Capital.

5. Highland Distillers, maker of The Famous Grouse.

6. Cannons.

7. Thames Water bought E'town and Kelda bought Aquarion.

8. Lionheart.

9. Scottish Widows, the life insurance mutual which surrendered its independence in a pounds 6.7bn agreed takeover deal with Lloyds TSB in June.

10. Motor-racing promoter Bernie Ecclestone, who sold half of Formula One to Deutsche Bank for $1.3bn in October.


1. Dove Sushil Wadhwani took over from hawk Sir Alan Budd.

2. Sir John Banham.

3. Allan Leighton, chief executive of Asda.

4. Graham Wallace.

5. Ron Sandler, the former Lloyds of London chief executive who was passed over for the job of chief executive at Barclays and then went to NatWest as chief operating officer.


1. Archie Norman, the former Asda chairman, who became chairman of French and an investor in Knutsford.

2. Norm Stamper.

3. Keith Henry, chief executive.

4. Stephen Grabiner, at Apax Partners.

5. Mike O'Neill, the former BankAmerica chief financial officer who resigned his pounds 3m a year plus post as chief executive of Barclays Banks on his first day at the job after he had been diagnosed as having heart arrythmia.

6. Mark Booth.


1. GEC renamed itself Marconi and British Aerospace became BAe Systems.

2. Yorkshire Water and it means Norse river.

3. The acquisition of London International Group, maker of Durex condoms.


1. John Lewis department stores and Marks & Spencer.

2. Asymmetric digital subscriber line

3. South West Water, which spent pounds 1m preparing for the Total Eclipse in August.

4. Less. Dataquest, the research group, says British consumers will have bought over 5 million PCs during 1999.

OOPS ...

1. Reflex soared, after being mistaken for Reflec

2. Michael Green, chief executive of Carlton Communications

3. Financial group DBS Management and engineer Delta.

4. Anne-Marie Sten, the estranged former wife of Matt Barrett, the flamboyant Irish Canadian who became Barclays chief executive in September. Rather more revealing photographs of her naked figure were posted on the Internet by Canada's Frank magazine the same week that Mr Barrett's appointment was announced in July.

5. (a)

6. Chris Bunker of Tarmac

7. AstraZeneca, the agrochemicals company, which suffered an invasion of campaigners protesting against genetically modified crops.