The City Diary: Extrabet - worth a punt?
Slackbelly exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Square Mile
Sunday 15 August 2010
IG Group – the granddaddy of the spread betting world – has appointed accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers to sell its sports betting arm, Extrabet.
This will come as no surprise to readers of this column – which has repeatedly said that the FTSE-250 company has been hawking its sports business around – although it may come as a shock to Extrabet boss Arman Tahmassebi, who insisted earlier this year that there was "no talk of a sale". News of the appointment follows a rationalisation of the division plus a decent World Cup. But the price tag remains a thorny issue and betting industry sources question whether the business, which saw revenues drop by almost 31 per cent last year, is worth much. IG Group and PwC both decline to comment.
Call the Bailiff
Jamie Waller – "undoubtedly Britain's most famous bailiff" according to his own publicity – makes his living collecting from those who've not paid their debts. Somebody's got to, I suppose, but I wonder if the star of the BBC's Beat the Bailiff sees any irony regarding his chosen vocation and his own debt – owed to his company, JBW Group? According to the company's latest accounts, Waller has borrowed £185,197 from the firm, while two companies of which he is a director – JBW Investments and JBW High Court Enforcement – owe £22,025 and £24,605 respectively. He also trousered a £120,000 dividend last year. "Er, er, what's that based on?" asks Waller's spokesman before returning to say that the debt is being paid back on time. "It's a shame you're planning to run a negative story," he adds, "he's a really lovely chap." Yes, bailiffs usually are.
BCG tries to make a Mint
Interdealer broker BGC is in talks to buy smaller rival Mint Partners, which requires further investment after its rapid expansion. Mint – founded six years ago by Richard Barnett and one-time white-collar boxer Tim "Raging" Bullman – has opened offices in New York, Paris and Dubai, as well as moving to a new London HQ and sponsoring Polo in the Park. All of which has been pretty expensive. BGC is one option while, I learn, the company has also been exploring tapping the co-founders' family and friends for a cash call. Mint parries: "It is inappropriate to talk about individual discussions".
Panmure's Rok-y road
Sometimes you have to be brave enough to back one view. Stockbrokers Panmure Gordon became sellers of shares in property group Rok in November 2008, according to share-monitoring site Digital Look, and watched as the price almost doubled over the next eight months. Despite the shares then edging down slightly, the broker suddenly turned bullish – only for the price to maintain its downward trend before slumping last week on news of Rok's accounting failings. Panmure has now reverted to its sell stance. Time to buy?
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...