Business Diary: Lawrie crosses his fingers

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The Independent Online

It's the final countdown for Misys boss Mike Lawrie's £2m payday. Unless the software group's shares tumble 30 per cent by the end of tomorrow, the controversial windfall is in the bag. Mr Lawrie bought £500,000 of shares five years ago and the company awarded him four times that in matching stock that pays out if the shares, which closed at 293.5p on Friday, are above 208p on vesting day. He may well have been praying for a quiet start to the week on the markets.

Ex-Olympus boss saluted

Michael Woodford, the former boss of Olympus, has taken the plaudits from many quarters after raising "serious governance concerns"over the Japanese camera specialist's takeover deals. His latest fan is Reprieve's founder Clive Stafford Smith, the human rights lawyer who has represented prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. In a letter to the Financial Times, he said Mr Woodford "should inspire others to corporate responsibility".

Cadbury's scary forecast

As today is Hallowe'en, Cadbury's PR firm has kindly told Diary it is growing its share of the UK market for the seasonal event. However, we are not convinced by its claim that it expects Hallowe'en to "strongly rival Christmas sales over the coming years". Has US parent Kraft not heard of the British tradition of watching TV and eating chocolate for a week?

Death for housing sales

Brock Taylor, the Sussex-based estate agents, has provided a rather gloomy view of why people are putting their houses on the market in the downturn. Its director, Peter Maskell, said: "Many will be motivated by the 'Three Ds': death, divorce or debt in the family. Their desire for a quick sale will often force them to set prices low." Diary is sure most folk would prefer a slow sale to the 'Three Ds'.