Home News HSBC Holdings plc blamed for Jessops collapse
HSBC Holdings plc blamed for Jessops collapse
Friday, 11 January 2013 09:17

News round up: HSBC, Jessops, Google, Marks & Spencer, Royal Bank of Scotland, Financial Ombudsman Service, Channel 4, Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

David Adams, the former chairman of Jessops, has blamed HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA) for the collapse of the electrical retailer saying a deal was on the table last summer that could have saved the company. Mr Adams claimed the administration on Wednesday could have been avoided if the chain’s largest shareholder HSBC had not dismissed a private equity led bid "out of hand".

Speaking to Retail Week Mr Adams said: "After I left, I put together an approach to buy the business, that would have left the banks at par, backed by private equity. They were not interested in any discussions as they felt there was equity value to be realised in the future. Now six months on the business is in administration."

As chairman of Jessops Mr Adams led the debt for equity swap that led to HSBC becoming the chain’s biggest shareholder. After stepping down in February last year he fronted a bid for the company that he claims would have seen the banks repaid their debt. HSBC has said that the bank has not received any "creditable approach" to purchase its debt and/or equity positions in Jessops. [Telegraph]


Google will be forced to change the way it presents search results in Europe or face sanctions from Brussels for unfairly manipulating its position as the world’s biggest internet search engine. The European Union’s competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, told a newspaper that it is his "conviction" that Google is unfairly promoting links to its own services above those of third party companies, and that he fears it is abusing its dominant position. [The Telegraph]

Marks & Spencer

Meanwhile, High Street giant Marks & Spencer was heading lower after reporting worse-than-expected sales figu res for the key Christmas period in a trading update that was partially leaked the night before. Like-for-like sales in the UK dropped by 1.8%, worse than the 1.4% decline expected by Nomura. [ShareCast]

Royal Bank of Scotland

Senior Royal Bank of Scotland bankers may step down in the coming weeks as part of the bailed-out bank's multimillion-pound settlement with regulators over the Libor-rigging scandal. John Hourican, head of the RBS investment bank, and Peter Nielsen, head of markets, may leave even though neither of them had personal knowledge of the attempts to manipulate interest rates that have already led to four staff being fired and others being suspended.

The chief executive of RBS, Stephen Hester, has been preparing the ground for a substantial Libor fine since the summer when Barclays was hit with a £290m penalty that forced out chief executive Bob Diamond. Hester was parachuted in to turn around RBS after £45bn taxpayer bailout, and while the manipulation of the benchmark rate carried on while he was at the helm, he is not thought to be under pressure. [The Guardian]

Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service plans to take on 1,000 staff this year to deal with a surge of complaints relating to mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI). The expansion comes on top of the 1,000 it hired last year, when it increased its number of case workers to 2,500.

Deputy chief ombudsman Tony Boorman said: "While we see some businesses using complaints positively, many continue to frustrate their customers with delays and inconvenience. This has a marked impact on our workload." [The Scotsman]

Channel 4

Channel 4 has ended a dispute with its biggest advertiser, WPP, that was costing the state-owned broadcaster up to £5m a week. The sides agreed a new deal today, meaning that WPP's clients will start advertising again on C4's portfolio of channels. WPP's media-buying arm, Group M, which spends upwards of £250m a year with C4, pulled all its ads from 1 January, after a previous two-year deal ran out. [The Independent]

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards

One of the most senior bankers in London should be kicked out of the City, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards suggested yesterday. Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, who heads Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, was one of four former UBS chiefs accused by the commission of being "ignorant and grossly incompetent" over the Libor interest rate rigging scandal.

Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the commission, lamented the fact that some of the four were still holding senior jobs in the City and had not been struck off the Financial Services Authority’s approved persons register. [The Times]

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