Business diary: Back to school for ITV's finance director

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If ITV wants to put its financial troubles behind it, a bit more attention to basic maths might be in order. The broadcaster said yesterday that 54 per cent of its lenders had taken up a refinancing proposal it is pitching, prompting finance director Ian Griffiths to say: "We are delighted that around two-thirds of eligible bondholders have chosen to accept". 54 per cent, Ian, two-thirds?

SocGen's grisly bear finds a new home

Looks like US hedge fund GMO isn't feeling too optimistic about the upside potential for global markets. It's hired James Montier, the highly rated – and uber-bearish – analyst from Société Générale. Montier is on the money with his analysis but is also renowned for a cute turn of phrase, recently describing efficient markets theory as a "dead parrot".

An impossible fence to sit upon

We like KBC Peel Hunt's take on Mervyn King's Treasury Select Committee testimony. "King was trying to achieve the difficult feat of simultaneously assuring his audience that the Bank of England and the Treasury were playing from the same set list and reaffirming his reservations about the expansion of the deficit over which the Treasury is presiding. The resulting headlines suggest the mix may require a little tweaking." That's about right.

Standard Chartered boss can still win

Good news for Richard Holmes, Standard Chartered's European boss, who organises the bank's annual City 5k race for charity. He has persuaded former sprinter Colin Jackson to fire the starting gun. The even better news for the phenomenally competitive Holmes is that Jackson doesn't plan to race himself.

Another difficult day for Berlusconi

We're beginning to feel a little sorry for Silvio Berlusconi. Bad enough that the Italian premier is mired in a rather seedy scandal. Yesterday he also had to entertain a delegation of trade union leaders, including TUC boss Brendan Barber. He was planning to tell Silvio to put workers first, which is, of course, what the PM has been trying to do all along.

Number of the day: -5.5%

The annualised economic growth rate for the United States during the first quarter of the year.