Business Diary: High noon for Wild West cheats

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The Independent Online

Cheating is apparently not only the preserve of international cricketers. It also raised its ugly head this week among online players of the superb computer game Red Dead Redemption, in which players take the role of all-round cowboy badass John Marston. Its developer, Rockstar Games (of Grand Theft Auto fame), has had to ban players who hacked the game to boost their scores. In the Wild West, cheats were sorted out with a bit of old-fashioned gunplay. These days it isn't so painful. Players face ejection from the game, with Rockstar saying that "the ban hammer is a-coming".

An iPhone user overdoes it

Apple worshippers would not be seen dead without their iPhones, although they may well be seen in the hospital with them. One mortgage banker was emailing, texting and surfing so much on her phone that she had to have surgery on her hand. After 12 hours a day on it, the tendons in her thumb got so inflamed they had to be removed.

Single women's financial fancies

Last month, the website turned to the improbably named Ivana Takitall to provide a single lady's guide to finding the perfect partner by firm. Ms Takital, who wrote Bankers, Bonuses And Big Divorce Settlements, has subsequently doubled the list to 24 companies. New gems include the BlackRock boys ("more Wal-Mart than Harrods between the sheets but at least it's over fairly quickly"); HSBC ("these guys are usually pretty boring") and Wells Fargo ("these guys can be as wild as the West, but you wouldn't believe it to look at them").

Buyout firms bite into dentistry

The New York Post reveals that buyout firms are bidding for the US dentistry chains Kool Smiles and Aspen. A banker told the paper that dental offices were attractive to private equity as they sold on low valuations and they could borrow heavily against them. Diary surmises that the real reason may be to boost revenues by collecting up the teeth and leaving them under their pillows for the Tooth Fairy. Every little helps.