Business Diary: 24/12/2009

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The Independent Online

Proof there is life after Lehman

So congratulations to Masa Serdarevic, a new recruit to the FT Trading Room, a specialist part of the pink paper's website. Serdarevic deserves a break – she is better known as one of the faces of the credit crunch. A picture of her carrying a box of belongings out of the London HQ of her former employer, Lehman Brothers, on the day of its collapse last year appeared in a string of newspapers.

Who wasn't invited to sit at Sky's top table?

Do we detect a Christmas snub at Sky News? Jeff Randall hosted a sit-down Christmas dinner for high-profile business figures including Terry Smith and Sly Bailey, with the party screened on the news channel so that the masses could hear the thoughts of such business titans. But there was no invite for Sky's high-profile city editor, Mark Kleinman. He must have been too busy out getting scoops.

A liquid asset that has really shone

So what's been the top-performing asset of the first decade of the 21st- century? Not stocks, certainly, but forget more likely contenders like gold and oil, too. The Fine Wine Exchange points out that a 12-bottle case of 1982 Lafite Rothschild sold for £2,613 in 2000, with the price rising to £25,000 at auction this year. That's an 857 per cent return.

Champagne sales no longer sparkling

Still on the topic of booze, bad news from the champagne industry, often seen as a bellwether. New figures show that worldwide sales were down by 42 per cent in the first six months of the year as the fizz went out of the global economy.

Cohen's past comes back to haunt him

Steve Cohen was already the talk of the New York hedge fund industry, following accusations from his former wife, Patricia, that he lied about his assets during their divorce in the 1980s. Now a film of Cohen appearing on a US chat show in 1992 has appeared on the internet. It features him and his new partner – Alex, now his wife – discussing how he had continued sleeping with Patricia even after they had got together.

Number of the day: £350m

The value of cheques cashed so far by customers of Aviva, the insurer which is distributing its inherited estate.

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