Guinness still nurses a pounds 9m hangover from that bid battle

People & Business

Thomas Ward, the American lawyer who advised Ernest Saunders during Guinness's controversial bid for Distillers, owes Guinness pounds 9m.

Let me explain. Some readers may recall that in the dim and distant 1980s Mr Ward was paid the sum of pounds 5.2m by Guinness for "valuable assistance" in the Distillers bid. Some pounds 3m of this found its way into Mr Saunders' numbered account with Union Bank of Switzerland.

Because the payment was kept secret, the civil courts deemed it illegal and ordered Mr Ward to pay the pounds 5.2m back to Guinness. He repaid some of it, but the rest of the sum outstanding, plus accumulated interest, now comes to pounds 9m.

Guinness has given up hope of getting the money, I hear, since Mr Ward resides in the US, and there are no signs of him returning.

Corporate hospitality can go horribly wrong so easily - one thinks of sponsored cricket washed out by the rain - so it's nice to record an unexpected success.

Reuters is sponsoring 13 sporting luncheons this autumn to celebrate the recent British Lions tour of South Africa.

Now, when this beanfeast for a total of 7,500 people was planned earlier in the year, the accepted wisdom in this country as well as in South Africa was that the Lions would be lucky to escape alive against the mighty Springboks, let alone win any matches. The rugby world champions confidently predicted a whitewash against the spindly-legged northern hemisphere weeds.

Now that the Lions have won the Test series in such a spectacular fashion, Reuters has found itself sitting on an PR goldmine. A number of the luncheons, which start in September, are already sold out, with the rest going like hot cakes, I hear.

The idea is for punters to rub shoulders with past Lions such as Gavin Hastings, Willie John McBride and Phil Bennett, not to mention this year's captain Martin Johnson, at a series of bashes in Cardiff, London and other cities.

Diners will also get a chance to select their own Lions team, with their votes going to form a final Reuters Dream Lions team.

Reuters may find some willing ticket buyers at the City Law firm Linklaters & Paines, where the senior partners all seem to have cauliflower ears and a whiff of liniment.

James Wyness, who retired as senior partner last April, is currently the president of Saracens, the north London club, and a former player for another leading club. Linklaters' current managing partner, a tall Ulsterman called Terence Kyle, used to turn out for London Irish, while head of international finance Stephen Edlmann once played for Will Carling's club, Harlequins.

So be warned. If you decide to litigate against Linklaters, remember your gum shield.

As the Private Finance Panel Executive winds down and transfers its workload to the new Treasury-based PFI taskforce, panel member Robin Hutchings has joined accountants Arthur Andersen as their chief PFI expert.

Mr Hutchings, 35, trained originally as a chartered engineer rather than as an accountant, but he says civil engineering skills come in handy as most PFI projects involve physical assets. His career includes spells at Yorkshire Water and BP. It was during his MBA at Cranfield that he was approached to join the panel.

So will PFI overcome its teething problems? "As long as people have the right expectations. I think PFI is doing all it could at the moment." Very diplomatic.

Fancy winning a Jeroboam of champagne? Denton Hall is looking for the best name for the proposed new "Super-SIB" regulator.

Lest any disgruntled financial executives come up with anything rude, Denton Hall warns that it shall "be entitled to publish entries, the name and the firm of the winner," subject to their prior permission, of course. Entries should be sent to Rosali Pretorious in Denton Hall's Financial Markets Group, to arrive no later than 4 August.

You have to be careful with new names. When the PIA was launched it drew a lot of jokes about "Pakistan International Airways". Also "pia" means "teardrop" in some parts of Scandinavia, I'm told.

Colleagues are beginning to worry about Keith Gilchrist, chief executive of the packaging company Field Group, I hear. Over the last couple of weeks Mr Gilchrist has collected the award for Best Smaller Company Investor Relations at the Investor Relations Society dinner, and Best PLC at the Packaging Industry Awards.

Apparently Mr Gilchrist is getting a little bit too used to the celebrity routine of leaping on stage and thanking everyone for this wonderful award etc. After all, "he isn't George Clooney", remarks one co-worker.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX, Finance, Networks)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

C#.NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform