The City Diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online


The name's Hedges – Fishburn Hedges: PRs' summer party is licensed to thrill

'Tis the summer staff awayday season, and Fishburn Hedges, the City and corporate PR outfit, is way out in front for the best corporate jolly award. An insider says that the team were taken to Pinewood Studios, where staff were split into 20 groups and invited to make their own films using top-of-the-range cameras. One adventurous team even decided to make a James Bond rip-off. However, we can inform lady PRs who might now be tempted to make contact with Fishburn Hedges that the film's leading man – who was too publicity shy to be named – does not threaten to challenge the big-screen Bond, Daniel Craig, left. While the bar has been set high for Fishburn Hedges' next media event, journos still laugh at its most famous do, a party at a disused Tube station back in 2001. The theme was "Spirit of the Blitz".

Red Bee off to flying start in race for Olympic gold

The nice people at Red Bee Media, formerly part of the BBC, have sent us this still from a video they have produced for the Beijing Olympics, which starts next month. The film, entitled 'Seats', will be shown on flights into and out of China, as well as on public transport and in stadiums, to promote the Games. Red Bee opened its Beijing office just nine months ago, but has already been awarded a series of high-profile contracts, including a £1m deal to produce the opening sequence for broadcasters covering the Olympics.

And still Trillium workers await their fate

The sale of Trillium, the outsourcing division of FTSE-100 giant Land Securities, has dragged on for months. There are believed to be only two parties left standing, and Trillium staff had hoped to find out if the deal was on or off after a board meeting a couple of weeks ago. They were disappointed, however: the board couldn't accept the offer, as the price tag is £1.5bn, and the consortium is short by a couple of hundred million. Sources tell the Diary a sale is still likely, but a price will have to be agreed in the next three weeks.

Kingston looks to slay dragons with a podcast

The BBC's 'Dragons' Den' is a hit with viewers, but not, it seems, with rival entrepreneur Guy Kingston, left. The former stockbroker, who set up postal firm PXPost – one of the first successful private businesses in post-Communist Russia – has launched his own podcasts as an "antidote" to the show. "The producers treat the audience as idiots," he rants. "Most of the people featured are there for no reason other than to be humiliated." Want to hear Kingston's pearls? Go to www.myobpod.com.

Architects' new president is a woman by design

After the best part of two centuries, the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) has elected a woman president. Ruth Reed, course director at the Birmingham School of Architecture and a partner at Green Planning Solutions, snatched the crown on Friday in a run-off with London chairman Andrew Hanson. Riba celebrates its 175th birthday next year, when Ms Reed will succeed Sunand Prasad.

All aboard for Viking

More rumours of possible bidders for Viking Moorings, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas services business that is up for sale at £180m to £200m. A leading corporate adviser says Montagu Private Equity and its rival HgCapital are rumoured to be taking a long, hard look, and, should they bid, would be strong rivals to current front-runner HitecVision, a Norwegian buyout group.

Bids from the Floors?

In further private equity gossip, the word on the street is that turnaround specialists R Capital and Balmoral Capital are eyeing up Floors-2-Go, which went into administration last Monday. This was a blow for Alchemy Partners, the private equity group founded by buyout legend Jon Moulton, which bought the flooring specialist for £52.4m in 2006.

Alchemy fails to transmute distressed debts

Talking of Mr Moulton, right, Diary's private equity spy tells us Alchemy has spent less than half its £300m distressed debt fund. This is Mr Moulton's much-trumpeted vehicle to snap up debt that has lost value – for example, when buyout deals fall through – and so make money after corporate recovery or restructuring. Despite last year's fanfare, when Mr Moulton looked like something of a genius for getting the fund out of the blocks just days into the credit crunch, debt still hasn't reached low enough levels to tempt him into spending big.

Comments