Business Diary: 20/06/2009

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The Independent Online

Chocolate is easier to deliver than gold

The marketing folk at Jon Moulton's Alchemy private equity business have a sense of humour. Investment folk are always making wild claims, of course, but at least Alchemy has stopped short of insisting it can actually do what its name implies. Moulton often hands out company-branded choccies to visitors, embossed with the rather witty slogan, "base metals to chocolate – an interim stage".

Caught out by a fast-moving story

Good timing by the Financial Times, editions of which yesterday came with a free glossy magazine, sponsored by the Spanish banking group Santander, all about this weekend's British Grand Prix. Sadly, the title went to press far too early to include any mention at all of the threatened collapse of Formula One, which is now being rocked by the threat of eight teams to start their own rival competition.

Not every exclusive is Robert's

It would just be churlish to suggest that the BBC's business editor/style icon Robert Peston hasn't broken a story or two over the past couple of years, but his outstanding track record doesn't mean he is entitled to automatically claim credit for every new piece of information that emerges on his patch (or for his colleagues to do it for him). On Thursday's News at Ten, presenter Huw Edwards made much of the revelation that Sir Fred Goodwin was to give up some of his controversial pension enhancement, adding that Peston had broken the news. Not true – Peston's rivals on Sky had the story hours earlier.

Sports Direct and its 40 new companies

What's going on at Sports Direct? The retailer run by Mike Ashley (above) has set up 40 new companies, named Project J Newco No. 1 through to Project J Newco No. 40. Chief executive Dave Forsey and finance director Bob Mellors are cited as directors of some, as is the assistant company secretary Rebecca Tylee-Birdsall, and all have the same registered address as Sports Direct itself, in Shirebrook, Mansfield. Sports Direct won't tell us what it's up to, but if you know, or care to speculate, email us.

Waitrose's bangers panned

Poor old Waitrose. It struck on the bright idea of creating strawberry and cream sausages, with the launch timed to coincide with the start of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Naturally, the supermarket wanted to promote the bangers, so it sent a whole load out to foodie journalists – sadly, most of them have been less than complimentary.

Number of the day: 73%

The increase in Taylor Wimpey's order book, an uplift the builder says could mean the housing market is recovering.

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