Business Diary: Barclays playing with big boys

It's good to know the art of macho banking hasn't entirely disappeared in these chastened times for the industry. Take this interview with Barclays Bank's head of investment banking Hugh E McGee III – even the name is rather wonderful – in which he attempts to explain how its takeover of much of Lehman Brothers following thecollapse a couple of years back has worked so well. "We've long had a big-boy M&A business," McGee tells Dealbook. "And now we've got a big-boy cheque book."

WH Smith sends Portas into a rage

It seems fair to say that Mary Portas, right, the self-styled Queen of Shops and protector of the high street, is not the biggest fan of one of our most well-known retailers. "I truly hate WH Smith," she tweeted early yesterday morning. "Used to be a loved British biz & now a dump. Rush hour, 7.45am at Euston. One person on till. Queues. And shitty promos." Portas tells it like she sees it.

Sorry, James – we're out

Now look, this has got to stop. We like Dragon's Den as much as the next viewer wondering when the new series of The Only Way is Essex is due to start, but it is a piece of entertainment and nothing more. So James Caan's public relations gurus really do need to stop touting their man (pictured) as an expert commentator on "whether the UK is facing adouble dip-recession" like he's some sort of economic sage for our times. Otherwise, we're out.

Football's battle of the borrowers

At next month's draw for Euro 2012 look out for, ahem, a Group of Debt featuring Spain, Italy, Greece or Portugal (the latter pair are in the same seeding pool) and Ireland (captained by Robbie Keane, left). Still, with only four teams in each group and Portugal and Greece in the same pool, UEFA has averted the prospect of a group of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain and Ireland. No battle of the PIIGS then.

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