The Business On... Crispin Odey, Founder, Odey Asset Management
Wednesday 07 July 2010
Not another smug financier?
Mr Odey is certainly a leading City figure – though he works out of a Georgian townhouse in Mayfair – but don't put him in the same bracket as the bankers. Not least because his hedge funds made so much betting against them during the credit crisis.
So what's he up to now?
His business is the lead investor in a new upmarket grocery chain, Union Market, which aims to bring the farmers' market to the high street.
It sounds expensive?
Probably, though the well-heeled citizens of Fulham, where the first shop is sited, are better equipped than most to shop there. And perhaps Mr Odey plans to persuade his friends and family to pledge their allegiance to this new venture.
Are they well-off too?
Well, not too many people are in Mr Odey's league – he's been earning tens of millions of pounds a year thanks to the investment returns generated by his hedge fund. But he and his wife, Nichola Pease, a big cheese at JO Hambro, are at the centre of some exclusive City circles. Barclays Bank boss John Varley is Ms Pease's brother-in-law, for example.
A power couple then?
Not for nothing have Mr Odey and Ms Pease been dubbed the Posh and Becks of the City, though the smartly-dressed financiers are a little more, how shall we put it, conservative than old Goldenballs and his missus.
Any other useful connections?
Naturally. Mr Odey was once married to Prudence Murdoch, the eldest daughter of the media mogul, though old friendships haven't stopped his company urging BSkyB to hold out for a higher offer from Murdoch senior's News Corp, which is keen to take full ownership of the company.
A real establishment figure?
Well, Mr Odey has close links to the Tory party and was educated at Harrow and Oxford. But he's not afraid to make a fuss, threatening to quit the UK last year for tax reasons. Fulham's fruit and veg sellers may wish he had carried out his threat.
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