Friday 1 February 2013

Abchat Weekly Wrap Up: Beckham, a PR gift from above

The hashtag #Legend was trending yesterday afternoon on Twitter. It trended rapidly on one of the two days a year when every Tom Dick and Harry takes to Twitter, i.e. the Transfer Window Deadline.

Whilst the event sparked a variety of hashtags, #Legend was in particular reference to David Beckham’s short term move to big spending Paris Saint Germain and subsequent surrender of his reported £3 million salary to a local children’s charity. Was this a move of kindness or a great bit of PR by 'brand Beckham'? We are clearly meant to believe that Beckham ‘the legend’ did this out of pure altruism, as it’s not like he needs the money at all! He is by far the most famous football player (and probably sportsman) in the world and his brand power is huge. His fame rivals that of even the Queen or Pope. There is also his highly successful popstar turned fashion designer wife, Victoria aka, Posh. The two certainly strike up a quite fierce commercial and monetary union and their PR advisers will be getting a packet too.

David Beckham is a unique PR and promotional find. This charitable gesture, even if not completely selfless, further entrenches him in people’s hearts therefore boosting his ability to endorse and sell a product. His brand appeal not only transcends the realm of football fans (of which there are over a billion) but also defeats that of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – both of whom are far superior footballers.

Goldenballs' earning power and amassed personal fortune are huge, so this this gesture won't impact the Beckhams' life at all. Regardless of whether Beckham did this out of generosity, or as an investment in himself for future endorsements, at least there is a children’s charity in Paris that will be £3million better off!

Antony Jenkins, Chief Executive Barclays Bank has decided to waive his large bonus for last year, as the bank experienced what he called a “difficult” year.

The highly anticipated Government ‘Green Deal’ finally launched on Monday; an energy efficiency programme which has been promised since 2010. The scheme aims to encourage Britons to make energy-saving home improvements through the provision of various financing schemes, loans and cashback offerings, in a major bid to accomplish the 2020 carbon reduction commitments.

AstraZeneca revealed the effects of patent cliffs as the Company reported large losses to its sales figures. The loss of exclusivity on some of its big-name drugs helped drive a 15% decrease in sales, totaling £18bn worth. However, despite fears, Pascal Soirot remains keen to drive organic growth rather than delve heavily into the acquisitions market.

Dragons Den entrepreneur Peter Jones bought the collapsed camera retailer Jesspos. The investor has decided not to take on any of its 187 stores in a bid to shift the brand purely online.

Heightened investor confidence was confirmed as data illustrated the FTSE 100 had played witness to its best January performance since 1989. The benchmark index rose 6.4%, adding a total of £96bn to the value of blue chip companies.

Rumours are rife and chattery has been churning regarding the future of the 130 year old broking house Seymour Pierce. The small-cap brokers, who have struggled to maintain profitability in an oversupplied, saturated environment, are thought to be approaching rivals regarding an investment or a takeover.

Similarly, the Manchester-based law firm Cobbetts, who suffered a series of financial setbacks since the buoyant mid 2000 economy collapsed, confirmed that they are to be bought by rival firm DWF.

Stockwatch: William Hill announced its third consecutive year of strong online growth which helped the betting group generate a £330 million operating profit as well as a 12% rise in total revenues. This much better-than-expected profit figure helped add £2.7 billion to the Company’s value as shares soared 4.1% in early trading.

Abchaps were guests at three different tables at the Grant Thornton Quoted Company Awards dinner, hosted by Shore Capital, Vitesse Media and Growth Company Investor. Rory Bremner entertained the crowds with his brilliant impressions, with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown going down particularly well!

We also attended Octupus Investments VCT seminar, at which Octopus highlighted (among other things) the significant tax relief available to investors who invest in AIM stocks and unquoted smaller companies through VCTs.

Cenkos and Shares Magazine: co-hosted a fantastic Innovators and Investors Forum, with a very strong turnout from the investment community. A number of well known fund managers followed the corporate presentations and met with the companies exhibiting. Katie Potts of Herald Investment Management gave an excellent Keynote speech with a blow by blow account of the decline of the quoted UK technology sector over the past decade. Surprisingly though the FTSE IT index outperforms both the US Russell 1000 index and also Asia Tech (excluding Japan). Abchurch client Acta SpA exhibited at the show with the event coinciding with its RNS about increased production capability. The market was impressed and the shares closed up on the day.

Abchaps also held two market lunch discussions this week, one focused on the increased use of social media use in the City and the other on trends in the resources sector.

Baker Tilly has brought in Laura Howes and Amy Lewis to join the Leeds corporate finance team, and has promoted Martin Athey to Associate Director and James McDonnel to Manager. Also in the professional services space, BDO has appointed Kevin Cummings as a tax partner.

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'Bourse' – A stock exchange

The View From The Shard opened today! The viewing platform is at the top of the Shard, nearly twice the height of any other viewing platform in London, at 800ft. at a cost of £25 per person.

This weekend sees The Mussel Men’s Pop-up in Morning Lane cafĂ© in Hackney, where you will get some of the best mussels, fries and prosecco in town.

Electronic music pioneers, Kraftwerk are performing for eight nights at the Tate Modern, Turbine Hall from 6 February – 14 February 2013.

The Hayward Gallery’s Light Show opened on Thursday, and runs until 28th April. The stunning show features impressive free standing light sculptures by 22 artists, exploring the mysterious properties of light.

Next Thursday 7th Feb, Funthyme are holding an historical “Food Through The Ages” supper club at The Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road, featuring traditional dishes from the 17th – 19th century, and BYOB!

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