The Business On... Paul Taylor, founder, Three Delta

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Do I know him?

You used to. Publicity shy he may be – there's no photo in the public domain – but Mr Taylor made an awful lot of headlines four years ago when Three Delta, the fund management business he had launched with the help of a Qatari sovereign wealth fund, tried to buy Sainsbury's. The deal nearly came off.

So what's he been up to since?

That's the problem. The structured finance techniques in which Mr Taylor specialises have rather fallen from favour in recent times and deals have been few and far between. He has therefore just announced the closure of Three Delta.

And those techniques involved what, exactly?

Mr Taylor was one of the pioneers of the "opco-propco" model, in which you hive off a company's portfolio of properties from its day-to-day operations. In its most notable deal, Three Delta helped the Qatar Investment Authority to build a £1.4bn care home business that is now one of Southern Cross's landlords.

One of those whizz-kids, then?

Southern Cross's problems are not of the landlords' making. Anyway, he's far from being a pointy-headed numbers man.

What's his story?

He grew up in south London and Three Delta was named after the class he was in at school. "The head said that nothing good would come of Three Delta," he has explained to interviewers. On leaving school, he worked as a brickie, but then became a NatWest cashier. He worked his way up through the ranks and then became a close ally of the Tchenguiz brothers, working closely on a number of their deals.

So what's next?

Mr Taylor has told Estates Gazette, the specialist magazine, that he thinks there are better opportunities around than property investment.

Any other claims to fame?

He did spend £21,000 buying a Barings trader's jacket (see above) from the liquidator to the failed bank. It had belonged to Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who did for Barings.