Business Diary: Falcone faces a pork chopping

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The Independent Online

Poor old Phil Falcone. The multi-zillionaire hedge fund manager labelled a "greedy pig" by the Daily Mirror for betting big on the collapse of banking group, HBoS (he has a room for his pet porker in his £24m home) is in trouble again. This time the fuss is over a controversial share swap deal that will see the hedge fund magnate left with more than 90 per cent of his investment firm Harbinger Group after it buys another company he owns. Trouble is other investors think he's vastly overpaying and have filed a lawsuit. And now the US tabloids are after his bacon.

Two Phil Clarkes to sign the Czech?

Congratulations to Philip Clarke, the chief executive of Tesco in the Czech Republic who is getting more than 100 new stores to add to his empire after the grocer snapped up two chains from a private equity company yesterday. But isn't Philip Clarke about to succeed Sir Terry Leahy as boss of the entire group? No that's a very different Philip Clarke, as Tesco stressed in its press release yesterday: "Philip J Clarke is chief executive Tesco in the Czech Republic. He is not the same person as Philip Clarke, Tesco CEO designate." Two for the price of one!

Bet on red faces at Bluewater mall

Bad news for forgetful men, panic- buying last-minute gifts for their loved ones on Christmas Eve: there's a significant chance of bumping into their significant others this year. Bluewater, the Kent shopping centre, says there have been an unusually large number of women among its shoppers over the last few days as the festive shopping rush draws to a close. They're putting it down to the snow, but Diary's willing to bet that it won't be the cold that will be causing red faces if this results in some unexpected encounters.

Shoot, what a gift from Cerebrus!

Talking of last-minute gifts, finding them is going to be a little easier for employees of US consultancy AlixPartners. The New York Times reports that

thanks to some holiday generosity from a client, Cerberus Capital Management's Remington Arms, staff members have been told that they can choose from a winning selection of rifles and shotguns, and at a 33 per cent discount too. Ought to come in useful for handling difficult clients who aren't as satisfied with the service as Cerebrus.