Outlook: Southern goes north of border
Wednesday 02 September 1998
On the other hand, the two top management jobs are going to the Southern lot. This might seem a reasonable division of spoils to Jim Forbes, the quick-witted Glaswegian who becomes chief executive of the combined group, but his own shareholders might beg to quibble. For Mr Forbes, it's also a bit of a home coming, albeit to the wrong side of Scotland. He gets to take his finance director, too.
None of this will break the deal. Mr Forbes has failed to consummate two mergers so far - with National Power and Southern Water - but the City still loves him for his no-nonsense style and his ability to squeeze costs. More difficult to call is what regulators make of it. Scottish Power management to get away with acquiring ManWeb but that was under the last Government. Peter Mandelson has yet to decide on PowerGen's bid for East Midlands Electricity. But then again, the Scottish card is a powerful one with New Labour, and Mr Forbes has played it perfectly.
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