Seriously, no, corporate law doesn’t work that way

While the split in SoftBank’s contribution between equity and debt is still being negotiated, its investment could make it the majority owner of WeWork. Were this to translate to formal voting control for SoftBank, it could force it to consolidate the loss-making company on its balance sheet, the sources said.

This in turn could result in SoftBank assuming WeWork’s liabilities, which include long-term leases for office space that it refurbishes and rents out under short-term contracts, according to the sources.

No, just because you’ve got to consolidate the subsidiary doesn’t mean you’re now responsible for the subsidiaries debts.

You still have limited liability at that level of the subsidiary.

You might have to show them on your balance sheet, sure, that’s what consolidation means. But still not responsible for them.

How many consumers are snowflakes?

One Friday last month, climate activists walked out of workplaces and schools around the world demanding immediate action from global leaders to address what they describe as a climate “emergency”.

Among those taking to the streets were employees from Ben & Jerry’s, a brand best known for making tubs of ice cream in flavours including Phish Food and Chunky Monkey.

Ben & Jerry’s has campaigned on causes ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to supporting the resettlement of refugees since it was set up by founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978.

And now its owner Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, wants its entire stable of brands from Marmite to Magnum to follow…

Sure, why not? The glory of the market, that people can try things, do as others don’t. Even, consumers can spend their money as they wish, in fact should. You £ is indeed your vote as to how production should be done.

There is the possibility that a consumer goods company might not be best placed to appeal to anti-consumerists but what the heck.

The interesting bit of this is going to be finding out – this is the only way we can do it, revealed preferences and all that – just how many of the consumers out there actually are snowflakes?

Well, that’s one idiocy less

I was astonished to find that T Cook planes couldn’t be used to bring T Cook peeps back. Because planes owned by a bankrupt company can’t be used. I even asked the CAA about this and they muttered summat about not us Guv.

Planes owned by failed airlines would be used to repatriate passengers under plans announced by the government.

Proposed legislation would enable collapsed carriers to be placed in special administration, meaning their aircraft and crew can continue flying to bring customers back to the UK.

Under the existing system, when an airline folds its planes are grounded, leaving passengers at risk of being stranded.

There does seem a certain sense being deployed here.

Oh no they don’t!

Two brothers from Blackburn whose parents came to Britain “with nothing” stand to gain a £5bn fortune by floating their petrol station empire.

The company currently exists and they own half of it. Therefore they currently have a fortune.

True, it might become a little larger, as significant stakes in listed companies tend to be worth more than similar stakes in privately held ones.

But the “gain a fortune” part is simply wrong. They have a fortune. The listing isn’t what creates it at all.

This is likely, yes

Almost a tenth of the Thomas Cook stores snapped up by Hays Travel this week are within 100 metres of the independent travel agent’s existing shops, raising the prospect of mass closures.

Hays Travel, which already had 190 outlets, purchased Thomas Cook’s 555 UK stores from liquidators in an ambitous deal which stunned the City. It has pledged to reopen all of them under the Hays brand.

But as many as 49 of the 555 former Thomas Cook stores are within 100 metres of existing Hays Travel sites, analysis by the Local Data Company shows. Of these, 33 are within 50 metres.

And a total of 76 the acquired stores are within a kilometre of a Hays store – suggesting major overlaps between the pair’s businesses…

We would indeed expect a number of them to close. The deal guarantees rents ’till the end of November. After that renegotiations with landlords. And all T Cook redundancy payments are the problem of the administrator, not Hays.

The deal, signed late on Tuesday night, was funded without debt and was for less than £50m, according to one person close to the negotiation.

Not that anyone would actually do this, heaven forfend. But take over the entire estate, at pretty much zero cost (£100k max per site is that) then sort through it at leisure. And, of course, entirely kill off the idea of anyone else taking over the competing network of travel agents shops. Those you don’t want can be sat upon for a few months just to kill off any idea of that competing offer too.

Nice move. The major competition has gone, for a pittance you’ve ensured the non-appearance of a new rival and also expanded the estate of your now much closer to major player with market power.

Who will really lose from this? Well, obviously, too soon to tell but I’d not want to be a small scale packager of holidays selling into the UK retail network now. There’s going to be substantial pressure on margins from that dominant retailer……..

Why not use a sexual analogy?

A billionaire investor is facing a furious backlash after telling an industry conference that success in business is like “trying to get into a girl’s pants”.

Ken Fisher’s comments at the San Francisco gathering sparked outrage from other attendees, who branded them “horrifying”.

Mr Fisher is understood to have spoken about genitalia and likened winning new clients to “trying to get into a girl’s pants” at the meeting hosted by Tiburon Strategic Advisors earlier this week.

The point of an analogy is to present a case, and argument, in a form that people grasp. Humans are interested in sex. Therefore sexual analogies work because they employ the situations and language humans are interested in to shape a case, an argument, in a form that humans understand.

We all do understand that it’s difficult to seduce a girl/woman for the first time. Women understand this too. Also that it’s rather easier to seduce for the second time than it is the first.

It’s a great deal easier to get your second order from a customer than it is your first. It’s a good analogy, it works.

Unless, of course, it’s a simile.

This is fun

SoftBank is under fire, with a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist querying the way the $97bn (£79bn) mega-fund behind the WeWork debacle proposed to pay investors returns.

The charge was levelled by Chamath Palihapitiya after part of a SoftBank investor presentation was put online.

The post showed SoftBank offered to pay a fixed return to preferred investors, but this might come from their cash, not from growth in the value of companies in its Vision fund. In effect, investors would be paying themselves. Palihapitiya tweeted: “SoftBank Vision Fund is essentially running a Ponzi scheme if this is true.”

A source close to SoftBank said the fund was structured to cater to the different risk appetites of its investors, and payouts would only come from shareholder funds if its portfolio didn’t deliver sufficient returns.

Preferred stock isn’t exactly unknown and it’s not conclusive evidence of a Ponzi either. It rather depends upon exactly what the terms were/are.

If it’s a return regardless of what the fund’s performance is doing then, well, that’s edging toward it, no? Or at least that’s more like debt than equity…..


A Labour Party spokesman yesterday said: “The Labour Party pays all tax that is due.”

Sure, sure.

New figures at Companies House reveal that ‘Labour Party Properties Limited’ – a venture that owns 19 buildings across the UK – declared zero tax in 2018 despite profits of nearly £630,000.

And it last paid money to the Treasury in 2003.

More than half of the property is rented on the open market while other buildings are leased to local Labour parties.

Rental income in 2018 was £2.6 million but this was offset by deferred losses, property expenses totalling £1.7 million and admin costs of £265,000.

Sure, sure.

Labour’s planning an FTT

As the IMF says about FTTs:

How much overall investment would fall as a result of the STT would depend on the relative
elasticities of capital supply and demand. In a small, open economy, the after-tax return on
capital is determined on the world market. In response to imposition of the STT, capital
would flow out until its after-tax return was restored to the world market level. In the long
run, capital owners would therefore not bear the burden of the STT; it would fall on workers,
who as a result of the smaller capital stock would be less productive and receive lower
wages. If, however, the capital supply is less than perfectly elastic, the STT will lower the
return on capital, and capital owners will share the burden of the tax with workers.26

That is, the FTT is paid by the workers. And that initial part? That’s an awful lot of pensioners you’ve just made poorer too.

It’s going to make a hell of a bang…..

Wework has 527,000 members in 528 locations across 27 countries, having expanded rapidly since it was founded in New York nine years ago. It is the largest corporate occupier of office space in London and New York.

…..when it hits the floor.

And it’s probably going to, isn’t it?

Yes, from the comments:

New business model: rent office space with free booze on tap to journos. What could possibly go wrong?

Why the hell would anyone do this?

Assume, for a moment, that this side of the story is actually telling the truth:

There are no longer any unionized mines in Kentucky, but Harlan’s miners are currently continuing the region’s legacy of labor struggles against wealthy and powerful coal corporations: they are blocking the coal trains from leaving a mine that laid them off.

A collection of tents next to some rail tracks may not look like much compared to that rich legacy of labor struggle. A small group of families have occupied the site since 29 July, sitting on camp chairs, occasionally hosting live music and attracting sympathetic supporters from all over the US.

The small protest has endured for more than six weeks now, garnering nationwide attention – including a video of support from the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – and preventing trains carrying more than $1m worth of coal from being moved out of Harlan county until workers are compensated for the unpaid wages they’re owed since mining firm Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy.

The specific being that near 2,000 miners are owed up to $6,000 each. Sure, that’s $12 million, that’s real money.

Blackjewel referred comment to a page with bankruptcy hearing updates.

The first phase of the project is expected to cost $30m and open in mid to late 2020, while Blackjewel is liable for at least $500m in debt owed to creditors, unpaid taxes and unpaid wages, nearly $10m in payments owed to federal black lung benefits fund, and mine clean up costs that will be passed on to taxpayers if the mine properties aren’t resold.

It’s also not all that much in context.

OK, so this is assumptions but still. A bankruptcy judge is going to look pretty kindly on a carve out for paychecks already issued. So too should creditors – paying will almost certainly cost less than the legal arguing about it let alone whatever the costs of the protest.

But what sort of twat tries to bounce those paychecks already issued? I think, in English law, that would be breaching the going concern bit and would be a criminal (? maybe civil?) offence anyway.

Yes, I know, sure, capitalism red in tooth and claw. But why set yourself up to be an ogre in this manner?

Well, yes, but

Tricky one here:

The world’s biggest float – the $2 trillion listing of state-owned oil titan Saudi Aramco – is under threat in the wake of attacks on the desert kingdom that triggered the biggest spike in oil prices for almost three decades.

The weekend drone strikes on Aramco’s vast Abqaiq refinery and the Khurais oil field – Saudi Arabia’s second-largest – sent shockwaves through markets.

Brent crude soared as much as 20pc on Monday, hitting a high of almost $72 a barrel in the biggest one-day rise since the first Gulf War in 1991, before retreating to just under $69.

A higher oil price increases the value of someone that owns oil reserves. But the value is decreased by people trying to blow up the processing plant. And so which is the more important influence here?

Not that I think the float will get away at anything like the asking price. The company’s just never going to be independent enough from the local government for it to be transparent.

The actual problem with WeWork

This isn’t the way to do investment at all. But it is my immediate reaction to WeWork.

Adam Neumann is handsome. Therefore the business is shite.

That is, good looking will get you a long way in raising money, creating PR, establishing a company. It gets you nowhere in producing a profit. I(t’s possible to suggest that the handsomeness has got him that far but it won’t get him that bit further.

So, the investment’s a crock.

Yes, I know, weird way of looking at it but… does accord with human psychology at least.

Is Longrider about? How does this work then?

To call on this blog’s rail signalling expert. How in buggery is this happening?

Newly-refurbished trains have been pulled from service over fears they are accidentally turning signals red or yellow.

South Western Railway (SWR) reintroduced the 30-year-old Class 442 trains in June after giving them a £45m upgrade.

But they have now been taken out of service as a precautionary measure amid concerns they are adversely affecting line-side signals.

We can handle technical details if they’re known…..

Really not sure it works this way

Normal savers now have the chance to bank like the super rich, as a cash tool used by the elite opens its doors to the less well-off.

Unlike most people, who take their money direct to banks, the mega-wealthy have access to savings platforms that not only make it easier to move their cash but offer them better rates.

The largest, Flagstone, has dropped its minimum deposit level by 80pc from £250,000 to £50,000 due to increased demand from those with smaller pots.

These hubs let customers save directly with any lender that has signed up, cutting out the hassle of opening individual accounts with each one.

I would suspect that the reason to drop the limit is that they’re not getting enough of the superrich – who can go direct without needing an intermediary – so therefore they’ll chase the would be.

But then it has occasionally been said that I’m a bit of a cynic.

How to Save Personal Space When Dating

Independence in personal life is very important. But a person in love often blurs the line between themselves and their partner, as a result of which the relationship between a man and a woman ceases to be harmonious. Do many people wonder what can be done to ensure that the relationship is long and happy? Do not forget about the importance of maintaining personal space.

  • Which couples will have no problems with personal space?

Those where both partners do not support the stereotype that beloved hearts should always do everything together and honor their right for personal space. But, more importantly, they respect the partner’s desires and fully trust them. They know that wherever their partner goes without them, they will remain faithful and will never cheat. And trust in relationships is paramount. Indeed, in families with no trust, jealousy arises. Jealousy, in turn, leads to constant conflict and such a marriage cannot be saved.

  • Benefits of saving personal space

Love will get stronger. There are frequent cases when people make a kind of idol out of a loved one, trying to constantly devote all their time and attention only to this person. The partner often becomes uncomfortable in the assigned role and tries to distance from the partner, while those who have feelings for them are tormented by round-the-clock thoughts about these feelings.

To prevent such destructive relationships, it is important to respect the personal space of the lover, as well as to find time separate interests and activities. Those who remember this feel much easier and freer in their relationships.

Self-improvement. If your world does not revolve around one person, then you will always find free time for yourself. These hours can be spent not only on TV shows or films but also to good use. For example, try to study foreign languages, create, or just do your favorite activity. Having your interests will help you not only to diversify communication with a partner but also feel more confident.

Stress resistance. A person for whom the preservation of personal space is a familiar quality is more resistant to stress, which is especially important in a modern rhythm of life. In this case, any problems and obstacles in your personal life will no longer seem intimidating. This will only happen if the partner pays special attention to one aspect of life, for example, the relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, it is important to remember harmony in everything and to direct your attention not only to your loved one.

The pain of loss does not make life senseless. If you treat your loved one as the center of the universe, then breaking the relationship will be especially painful. It is important to always remember your own life, your goals and values, and not “dissolve” in your partner while preserving yourself. In this case, a possible parting with them will not deprive you of plans for the future.

  • Now let’s move on from words to deeds and see what a person needs to do to maintain personal space for their partner:

1. Understand that if you invade your partner’s personal space, and they are silent, this does not always mean that they are happy with everything. An invasion of personal space is a time bomb that will explode at the very moment when you least expect it.

2. Think about what you want too. Maybe you too feel restricted by your partner sometimes and the problem of total control is common for both of you. Then you should discuss possible ways of expanding the limits of what you should and will be doing on your own and not only allow your partner more but receive a kind of freedom yourself. This will make the process only pleasant, and the chances that your partner will agree for such changes will grow.

3. Get your life busy doing something interesting and new. There should be other interests other than love and relationships in your routine; stop thinking about new places to visit or things to do with your loved one. Maybe there are some activities you were refusing because your loved one is not interested in them, and you felt an obligation to do everything together. Now it’s time for all those guilty pleasures, explain to your partner that you now want to go shopping alone, watch the film only you are interested in or even travel to a relative in another city on your own.

4. Stop trying to control. It has become a habit for you to ask your partner how was their day if they are not willing to tell themselves, wonder about their plans, or even read the phone when they are in the shower. Try to step into their shoes, and you will see this is not pleasant. Every time you want to cross their personal space, stop and ensure yourself that you love and trust your person without checking every step.


Alphaville LLC is delighted to announce that its inaugural research report “Ice deal; US chief is interested in purchasing Greenland”, was quoted by prestigious British broadsheet the Guardian on Monday 19 August.

Phillip Inman, economics editor of the Observer and an economics writer for the Guardian, cited research analyst Jamie Powell’s $1.1tn price target for the arctic landmass in a piece this morning titled “Why does Donald Trump want to buy Greenland”.

The amusement being that the LLC is the spoof research organisation of the FT blog. Inman quoted it as being real……