PRESS DIGEST – Financial Times – June 19

Saturday 19 June 2010

Financial Times

M&S UNLIKELY TO NAME NEXT CHAIRMAN BEFORE JULY AGM

Marks and Spencer (MKS.L: ) is unlikely to name its
replacement for Sir Stuart Rose as chairman by its target date
of July’s general meeting. People familiar with the situation
said it was “doubtful” whether the board will be in a position
to agree upon the final choice within the next month. However, a
shortlist has already been drawn up. The retailer, which this
year welcomed Marc Bolland as its new chief executive, is now
understood to be aiming to have its choice of chairman finalised
by September.

LUMINAR CLOSE TO APPOINTING DELOITTE TO RESTRUCTURE DEBT

Nightclub operator Luminar (LMR.L: ) is considering strategic
options for a restructuring of its debts. People close to the
situation said the group, which owns Liquid and Oceana clubs, is
close to appointing Deloitte to look at measures that include a
potential resetting of covenants. Luminar could also sell
property assets in a portfolio that holds 88 late-night venues.
To date, the company has not breached any covenants and
maintains a good relationship with its bank lenders. Another
person close to Luminar said its debt problems were “benign”.

QATARIS TO TARGET OLYMPIC PROPERTY

The managing director of Qatari Diar, which controls many of
Qatari’s real estate investments, has unveiled an unexpected
focus to take part in the development behind the 2012 Olympic
Games in London. Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad said: “There will be a
lot of investment needed in real estate for the Olympics.” The
oil rich emirate has been increasing its involvement in London
property. However, the move marks a change in strategy, which
has so far targeted mainly prestigious landmark buildings in the
West End and City of London.

BALDERTON CAPITAL PLUGS INTO TEENAGERS’ ATTENTION SPANS

London’s Balderton Capital has hired a group of teenagers to
advise the venture capital firm – one of the largest in Europe –
to advise it on the latest technology trends. The group, which
manages 1.3 billion pounds ($1.93 billion) in committed funds,
has invested in Bebo, Betfair and Codemasters. It invited 11
15-year-olds to an hour-long private trip on the London Eye last
month for an inaugural meeting. They plan to meet every two or
three months and will continue to chat and swap ideas. The
venture capital firm is aiming to understand how modern
teenagers will spend their time and money as future adults.

C&W DISCLOSES PAY REWARDS

Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CW.L: ) has disclosed that chief
executive Jim Marsh received seven million pounds from a
long-term incentive plan in 2009, and then picked up a further
two million pounds from the same scheme this year. Details of
Marsh’s controversial pay plan emerged in the telecoms group’s
first annual report since being demerged from the former Cable &
Wireless in March. The document also shows chairman John
Pluthero received 1.9 million pounds from the incentive plan in
2010. This is down from the previously announced 8.3 million
pounds that he received in 2009.

INNOVISION FOLLOWS RIVALS TO US AS IT IS SWALLOWED UP

Innovision Research & Technology (INN.L: ), the Aim-listed
radio frequency identification specialist, is being acquired by
US semiconductor group Broadcom (BRCM.OQ: ) for 32 million pounds
cash. The deal signals the latest technology minnow to get
through the risk phase to succumb to an offer from a US
predator. It comes just two days after Teledyne, the US
electronic components group, announced a 28 million pound cash
offer for Intelek (ITK.L: ), the satellite and microwave
communications group.

WINTON OPENS NEW HEDGE FUND TO RETAIL INVESTORS

Winton Capital, one of the largest hedge fund managers in
London, is to launch a fund on June 30 that will be open to
retail investors. Unlike a traditional hedge fund, the so-called
UCITS fund can be invested in by non-professionals. It is the
latest in a series of similar moves from several of London’s
best-known hedge funds, which are keen to diversify their
investor bases. The UCITS fund will be open to subscriptions on
Monday.

NEW GOOGLE TOOLS RIDE TO ESTATE AGENTS’ RESCUE

Google’s (GOOG.O: ) entry into the UK property market is being
welcomed by estate agents, which are keen to see a fall in the
prices charged by internet property search portals, such as
Rightmove (RMV.L: ) and Primelocation. Grenville Turner, chief
executive of Countrywide (CWD.L: ), the largest estate group in
the UK, believes the move will force portals to “innovate” and
keep the market competitive. Countrywide is one of several
estate agents joining Google to offer house-hunting tools on its
internet map service. Thousands of homes for sale or rent are
now detailed on Google maps.

CUTS STUDY FINDS 2.3 MILLION OUTSOURCED JOBS AT RISK

An independent survey by Oxford Economics, the accountancy
firm, has revealed at least 2.3 million private sector jobs are
at risk from looming public spending cuts. The study warns of
job risks in sectors ranging from construction to health, where
outsourced providers supply government services but whose
employees do not count on the government’s payroll. It shows the
public sector purchased 80 billion pounds of services from the
private and voluntary sectors in 2007-08. This is in addition to
the 140 billion pounds it spends on the purchase of goods, from
paperclips to tanks.

BBC AND BT CAN EXPECT A BUMPY RIDE

Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, has indicated that
broadcaster BBC and BT (BT.L: ), the fixed-line phone group, face
a stricter competitive and regulatory climate under a Con-Lib
government, compared to the former Labour administration. Both
groups faced strong criticism from Hunt while he was in
opposition. Attacks centred on the BBC’s pay and perks for top
managers, and on what he described as BT’s inadequate plans for
a superfast broadband network.

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PRESS DIGEST – Financial Times – June 19