Dearie me – what an atrocious headline.
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Post-debut, at pixel time Manchester United shares were clinging to the $14 listing price like the Glazers to Old Trafford. (The stock was $14.06 as we went to pub.) Read more
It’s an understatement to say that the last couple of years haven’t been great for Greco-Germanic relations.
On Friday night, however, the eurozone’s strongest and weakest nation get to fight it out – on the football pitch. They are through to the quarter-finals of the Euro2012 championships. With everything that’s happened, it’s hard to ignore the political overtones to the match. Read more
The tension in Europe is unbearable. Everyone is afraid of the outcome amid scandal, upset and intrigue. This week, after months of summits, meetings and planning — it’s finally going down. We are, of course, talking about the 2012 European Championship.
With so much at stake, it’s only natural that bank analysts have a thing or two to say (because they’re the true football experts, obviously). Read more
Jed Rakoff is quite the hero. A New York District judge, he has done what the rest of us would love to do, and busted a cosy deal between bankers and their regulators. In early 2007, just when everything was starting to slide, the caring, sharing boys at Citigroup assembled a $1bn fund of, ahem, less-than-prime mortgage-backed securities. As Judge Rakoff explained.
That allowed [the bank] to dump some dubious assets on misinformed investors. This was accomplished by Citigroup’s misrepresenting that the fund’s assets were attractive investments rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser, whereas in fact Citigroup had arranged to include in the portfolio a substantial percentage of negative projected assets and had then taken a short position in those very assets it had helped select. Read more
Can someone please stop the world? We want to get off.
Things are seemingly moving quickly from the ridiculous to the absurd, in sovereign debt crises. Read more
The Bank of England governor is a rule-breaker, just like Argentinian football star Diego Maradona.
So says Malcolm Barr over at JPMorgan: Read more
LeBron James, the Miami Heat basketball star who is one of the world’s most bankable athletes, has become an unlikely part-owner of Liverpool football club, after striking a deal with Fenway Sports Group, the company that owns the team, reports the FT. James’s LRMR Marketing & Branding group will take a “minority interest” in the club as part of a sponsorship deal agreed with Fenway Sports Management, a subsidiary of FSG. Financial terms were not disclosed. English football has received a wave of investment from the US, ranging from the Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, to Randy Lerner, who owns Aston Villa. But the deal between James and FSG, which acquired Liverpool last year for £300m ($490m), marks the first time that a top-tier athlete has joined the soccer fray. Read more
Five nations fought a pitched battle on Wednesday, the FT reports. Another six will wage war today. The battlefield is in Zurich, where the 22-member executive committee of Fifa, football’s world governing body, is weighing up which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. The 2022 race pits the mighty US against minnow Qatar, with Australia, South Korea and Japan completing the field. Each put their final arguments to the committee in half-hour presentations – mainly taken up with Hollywood-esque film productions – at the governing body’s headquarters. England, Russia, and the joint bids of Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium will present their cases to be 2018 host on Thursday, before voting. Read more
The legal battle over Liverpool football club intensified on Thursday when a High Court judge in London granted Royal Bank of Scotland an injunction to restrain the US co-owners from pursuing their counter-claims in a Texas court, the FT reports. Then the 160th District Court in Dallas called a hearing late on Thursday evening, which it later adjourned until Friday, meaning the battle of jurisdictions dragged on for another day. The bank had won a ruling on Wednesday that owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were trying to block the club’s sale to New England Sports Ventures. But it was forced to return to court after the owners’ dramatic legal intervention in the US, when they won a temporary restraining order against the bank, the club’s directors and NESV. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that state court Judge Jim Jordan in Dallas said, “This smacks of forum-shopping,” during yesterday’s hearing. He is set to hear arguments concerning his injunction this morning. Read more
A High Court judge dealt a potentially fatal blow to attempts by Liverpool FC’s US owners to halt the club’s £300m sale to New England Sports Ventures, the FT reports. Justice Floyd granted an injunction to Royal Bank of Scotland, the biggest lender to Liverpool, which Martin Broughton, chairman, believes will pave the way for the club to be sold to NESV. The judge on Wednesday ruled that moves by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Liverpool’s US co-owners, to oust two independent directors and replace them with their own candidates in a bid to frustrate a sale had breached a corporate governance sideletter put in place by RBS. The board of Liverpool FC, which the judge ordered to be reconstituted, was due to convene on Wednesday night to discuss the sale. Justice Floyd said Hicks and Gillett “would be entitled to be present” at the meeting. Read more
Two of the world’s largest sports franchises will come under joint ownership if the Boston Red Sox wins a legal battle to buy Liverpool soccer club for £300m, the FT says. New England Sports Ventures, which owns the baseball team, and the Liverpool board exchanged contracts on Wednesday but must overcome opposition from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the US owners of the indebted English club. The BBC reports that Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton is “confident” the sale can be done. Read more
Some August fun below.
A new paper from the University of Toronto’s Feng Chi and Nathan Yang seeks to determine whether there’s a link between social status and wealth. In particular, it tries to examine a possible connection via the perceived social status of 2010 World Cup football players and their country’s GDP per capita. Read more
Hong Kong sports entrepreneur Kenneth Huang wants to take control of the Liverpool Football Club by the end of this month and is in talks directly with the club’s creditor Royal Bank of Scotland, the Wall Street Journal reports. Other prospective bidders also include the Kuwait-based al-Kharafi family. According to the FT, the Kuwaiti family has been in contact with the club’s chairman Martin Broughton as well as Barclays Capital, the investment bank advising the club’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett on a sale. Mr Huang, meanwhile, is interested in gaining control by buying the £234m of debt the club owes to RBS and Wachovia — significantly below the £800m being sought by the owners. Read more
Just weeks after signing a deal to have its name emblazoned on the shirts of Tottenham Hotspur, shares in FTSE 100 software company Autonomy have dropped following the publication of half year results, reports FT Alphaville. And there’s plenty for the bears to chew over: earnings are lower than expected in spite of a lower tax rate, costs are rising, cash conversion was just OK, and that’s before R&D capitalisation is considered. Read more
Spain won 2010′s soccer World Cup — and Paul the Octopus was right, beating more than a few bank quants’ predictions. But while FT Alphaville, for one, welcomes our new cephalopod overlords, Paul’s predictive methods were pretty simple. Read more
Sunday’s World Cup final will be an all-European encounter – just as it was four years ago – after Holland overcame Uruguay 3-2 in Cape Town in the first semi-final, the FT says. They will contest the final in Soweto against either Germany or Spain who meet in Wednesday’s second semi-final in Durban. Separately, the FT reports that Barcelona, whose players will make up the bulk of Spain’s team in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final against Germany, are seeking a €150m loan to help pay player and staff wages. FT Alphaville has the stock market implications of a Holland-Germany final. Read more
Marketing departments will have to weigh the benefits of being associated with the England football team now that Nationwide is set to end its sponsorship deal after 11 years, according to the FT. The country’s largest building society is unlikely to renew its £20m, four-year contract with the Football Association after the two parties were unable to agree a price. Read more
France’s World Cup campaign, crippled by dire performances on the pitch, internal strife and a players’ strike, went from bad to worse when Crédit Agricole pulled an advertising campaign and sponsors demanded action by the country’s football authorities, says the FT. The French bank said on Monday it had stopped early the advertising campaign, due to run until June 25, “in view of the current controversy surrounding the French national team”. Read more
Standard Chartered says markets have drifted higher over the last fortnight because of the World Cup effect, reports FT Alphaville. Which suggests Europe should perhaps forget the European Financial Stability Fund, and focus on organising the European Football Soccer Federation, to hold a tournament forthwith. Read more
England’s Premier League has maintained its ranking as the leading European football moneyspinner by turnover but its profitability remains threatened by the wage demands of players and their agents, says the FT. Buoyant gate receipts and TV revenues helped England’s top flight to generate nearly £2bn ($3bn) last year, a report by business adviser Deloitte said. Read more
Continuing our recent theme of financial analysts-turned-soccer-experts, we bring you a Friday edition of 2010 World Cup predictions, FT Alphaville writes. Brazil looks like a winner — thanks to some rather… odd quant criteria. Read more
Not really (probably).
However, England-squad sponsor Nationwide are offering four-year ‘football bonds’ with a bonus, should the team win the 2010 World Cup: Read more
With the 2010 World Cup a mere three weeks away, the trickle of investment bank World Cup research continues apace. Yes, suddenly all the analysts have become football experts going on bookies, reports FT Alphaville. According to the quants, Brazil is seen as the strongest team taking part in the tournament but the world cup winners will be England. Read more
The analysts at UBS have taken a break from the sovereign debt crisis to make some World Cup “just for kicks” stock picks, and predict which team will win. See FT Alphaville for their picks. Read more
The number of foreign visitors to the football World Cup in South Africa will be about 110,000 fewer than originally forecast, the FT said, citing a report by consultancy group Grant Thornton. The recession, slow ticket sales in Africa and high prices will combine to depress the number of arrivals for the event in June, the report said. Read more
The prospect of a fresh takeover battle for Arsenal edged closer on Monday night after the Premier League football club’s fourth-biggest shareholder decided to put her stake up for sale, the FT says. Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who was ousted from the Arsenal board in 2008, is understood to have hired bankers at Blackstone, the private equity group, to find a buyer for her 15.9 per cent stake in the club. Read more