Pembroke: Spectrum's surprise

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The Independent Online
SILICON VALLEY was shocked last year when John Sculley, the retired chief executive of Apple Computer, announced he was to become chairman of an unknown telecommunications firm, Spectrum Information Technologies.

The surprise dissipated when it emerged that Spectrum owned valuable communications patents and, more importantly, was rewarding Mr Sculley with a package not unadjacent to dollars 3m.

Now it is Mr Sculley's turn to be surprised. Spectrum's legal counsel confirmed yesterday that it has been under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission since May for allegedly misleading public statements by company officials.

It seems that Mr Sculley, who joined after the investigation started, was the last to know. As late as Tuesday he was saying that the rumours were 'bizarre' and telling reporters they had been given a 'bum steer'.

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THE WORLD of gay magazine publishing has suddenly exploded into life. No sooner had Blase Publishing announced plans to launch Phase on 10 February than a rival has threatened to stamp on its patch. Northern & Shell, whose titles include Penthouse and Mountain Biker, says it will launch Attitude on 31 March. In what could become a battle for the 'pink pound', both monthlies, which will be on sale next to mainstream titles such as GQ and Esquire rather than on the top shelf, are claiming to aim at slightly different parts of the market. Phase bills itself as 'an independent gay and lesbian voice' and a magazine that is produced by gay people for gay people. Attitude is aimed only at men, primarily gays.

'We can't afford to throw money at it but we are not worried,' says Phase's editor, Peter Ian Cummings. 'We think the activity will help expand the market.'

Both publishers have taken unusual steps to plug their titles. For Phase, Ivan Massow, a well-known financial consultant in the gay community, dressed up in a tutu under the headline 'It's just a Phase he's going through.' Attitude beefed up its media pack with quotes aimed at advertisers saying how lucrative the gay market could be. Unfortunately one of the quotes was from its rival, Mr Massow.

JON DAVEY, head of the cable and satellite television division of the Independent Television Commission, might have expected rather better treatment from his local cable company. Speaking at a cable conference yesterday, he complained that after waiting years for his area of Surrey to be cabled up, he excitedly sent off his cheque, took delivery of his little black box and settled down to zap through all his new-found channels.

A few days later he received a letter threatening to cut him off because he hadn't paid his bill. No way to treat your regulator, surely.

SIR SIMON HORNBY, chairman of WH Smith, was up to his usual sartorial tricks at yesterday's results meeting, the last before he glides into retirement. As is his custom, he selected his tie according to his mood. Yesterday, he chose green. 'Green for go,' he explained.

SOME MIGHT say that accountants are always full of themselves but Ernst & Young has surely developed ideas above its station by placing itself on a par with Picasso. The firm's sponsorship of an exhibition featuring the great dauber is laudable but its bragging might cause a few giggles outside the E&Y offices.

It is sponsoring the show, it boasts, because 'the international position of the artist matches that of Ernst & Young' and because 'at every stage of his life Picasso was at the leading edge of the art world; he pushed barriers back; he thought and saw in an original way. That's very much the Ernst & Young philosophy.' One for Pseuds Corner.