View from City Road: Gunn back in the public arena

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The return to the publicly quoted stage of John Gunn, former pounds 1m-a-year chief executive of British & Commonwealth, which collapsed three years ago with debts of pounds 1.3bn, might suggest the good old days are back.

His chosen vehicle is Glenchewton - the reincarnation of the toys distributor Cowan, de Groot. Glenchewton is 69.9 per cent owned by Wilton Group, a property and restoration stonemasonry group that has been steadily shrinking since Michael Buckley and Malcolm Horsman, both Slater Walker hands from the golden era of deal-making, brought it to the defunct Third Market in 1988.

Wilton, which yesterday reported a net loss of pounds 6m after pulling out of property, is selling 35.6 per cent of the loss-making Glenchewton to a group of investors including Mr Gunn and ex-Bricom colleagues Matt McBride and Allan Jonnes.

Mr Gunn is putting up about pounds 350,000 for a modest 6.5 to 7 per cent stake and will assume a non-executive role, leaving management to Messrs McBride and Jonnes.

An option to buy more shares at 27p over the next two years could give the group 49.5 per cent of Glenchewton. Mr Gunn is promising expansion by acquisition from the Glenchewton shell but investor scepticism would be understandable.

Wilton, meanwhile, is undergoing another metamorphosis with the arrival of the media businessman Clive Ng. Expansion into media businesses will be the order of the day, so Mr Buckley's time at SelecTV, from where he was ousted as chairman in March, will no doubt come in handy.