Credit crisis diary: Merrills helps to redefine banking

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The Independent Online

Merrill Lynch has been a little short of successes in recent months, so who can blame it for patting itself on the back after successfully advising on a major M&A transaction? "This revolutionary transaction redefined banking in Europe and the art of mergers and acquisitions worldwide," Merrill's annual report,published online, says. What a pity the deal in question was Royal Bank of Scotland's purchase of ABN Amro, though there is no disputing thatthe takeover did indeed redefine banking.

Calling 'West Wing' fans

The banking analyst Sandy Chen is clearly a fan of the US politics sitcom West Wing. In a lengthy note on UK banks, Chen recommends the Government follows the lead of King Canute, and then refers to Schumpeter's "creative destruction". The last time the two ideas were invoked in the space of a few minutes? Episode two of the second series of West Wing.

Check your sources before you rage

David Buik, splenetic spokesman for the City broker BGC Partners, was in formidable form yesterday, spewing outrage over an email he had received with statistics on how many MPs are bankrupts, wife-beaters, criminals and so on. Mr Buik would be right to be angry, were the email not a hoax, which has been widely and repeatedly exposed in the media. Reminds one of the satirist Chris Morris conning hapless MPs into warning of the dangers of the fictional drug "cake".

Poor old posties made to look daft

A cunning marketing wheeze from the folks at LoveFilm, who persuaded Royal Mail to dress up some posties to celebrate the company signing up its millionth customer. Good news for LoveFilm, which rents out games, CDs and DVDs; not so good for the poor posties, who look like demonstrators for Fathers for Justice.

Faiman heads East

Jonathan Faiman, co-founder of the online grocer Ocado, is moving on to pastures new, with plans for an agricultural business in Russia. Mr Faiman, who is understood to be well-connected among wealthy Russians, reckons there's an opportunity for industrial-scale production in the country. Check your Ocado groceries for Made in Russia tags from now on.