THE LONDON TIMES: “It emerges that Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Shell, was paid a bonus of €1.35 million (£927,000) last year, almost doubling his total earnings to €2.6 million. It comes after a year in which the oil giant lost billions of barrels of oil.” (ShellNews.net) 2 April 05
That was the week
April 02, 2005
The value of mergers and acquisitions in Britain surged by more than a third to $54.2 billion (£29 billion) in the first three months of this year as private equity firms continued to spend heavily, new research shows. Amicus, the trade union, ballots the staff of the banking group HSBC on strike action in a dispute over pay. Meanwhile, Lazard, the investment banking partnership, comes under pressure from members of its pension schemes to make up a deficit before the bank lists on the New York stock market. Partnerships in Care, Britain’s biggest chain of mental health hospitals, is sold to Cinven, the buyout firm, for about £560 million, while across the Atlantic, some of the world’s biggest private equity firms join forces to buy SunGard Data Systems, a financial data firm, for $11 billion.
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, seeks to distance himself from a $500 million (£266 million) transaction between General Re, a company that he controls, and AIG, a rival insurer. This development comes a day after Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, once one of Wall Street’s most powerful men, is forced to step down as chairman of AIG, following the widening of inquiries into allegations of improper dealings. Carlyle Group becomes the world’s biggest buyout firm after raising more than $10 billion of new investment funds. The Office of Fair Trading refers two rival potential bids for the London Stock Exchange to the Competition Commission, which raises the prospect of the auction of the LSE dragging on to the end of the year.
Shares on Wall Street charge upwards as a surge in a key gauge of US profits and a slide in oil prices raise investors’ hopes. A management crisis at Morgan Stanley prompts the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to lower its outlook on the bank’s future performance, adding to the pressure on chief executive, Phil Purcell. This comes a day after Mr Purcell forced the resignation of two senior executives to thwart an attempt at a boardroom coup. Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the Hollywood impresarios, are close to raising as much as $1 billion (£529 million) to hatch a new media group that will by advised by the actors Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Record orders for the next instalment of the Harry Potter series give Bloomsbury, the publisher, the confidence to forecast record profits for the year.
Elan, formerly one of the Irish Republic’s biggest listed companies, lurches towards another crisis as City analysts dash hopes that the drug maker might be able to revive Tysabri, the “miracle” multiple sclerosis treatment on which its long haul back to profitability depended. US investigators subpoena Smith & Nephew, the maker of hip and knee replacements, for details of payments made to American surgeons in return for “consulting services”. It emerges that Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Shell, was paid a bonus of €1.35 million (£927,000) last year, almost doubling his total earnings to €2.6 million. It comes after a year in which the oil giant lost billions of barrels of oil. Somerfield puts itself on the auction block after agreeing to hold further talks with three potential bidders.
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