Friday, 31 August 2007

More on Virgin flotation

The planned flotation of Virgin Radio was thrown into doubt today after its chief executive unexpectedly quit to join GCap Media. Paul Jackson will join GCap as managing director and will manage its struggling London radio station, Capital Radio. His worked at Capital previously, and this defection comes just months after Virgin Radio announced plans to float the £105 million station.

Mr Jackson’s move looks certain to delay the float process and could boost the chances of a trade buyer stepping in for the business. The group has already had interest from potential buyers. Mr Jackson’s move will reunite him with Fru Hazlitt, his former Virgin colleague and GCap Media’s managing director. Mr Jackson joined Virgin from Capital in 2001 and has been head of Virgin Radio for the last 8 months.

In June SMG delivered its second profits warning in a year with SMG’s shares down 14%. Rob Woodward, a former commercial director at Channel 4, took over as chief executive at the group in March and announced radical plans aimed at changing its fortunes. Rajar figures showed that Capital’s share of the market is now 4.1% down from 4.6% in the first quarter. Capital's Johnny Vaughan also lost the top slot in the lucrative commercial breakfast show battle to Heart's Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott. SMG said in a statement that Mr Woodward and Richard Huntingford, chairman of Virgin Radio, would continue to lead the float process.

Virgin Flotation

SMG (owners of big screen advertiser’s Pearl & Dean and Primesight) is trying to float Virgin Radio, aiming for a valuation of about £80 million, although the challenge is to make a relatively small radio player attractive to investors. UTV who was in negotiations with SMG since last year to make a joint venture but never succeed, is hoping that the listing, handled by ABN Amro, will run into difficulties.

UTV is valued at £228 million. SMG - battered by poor trading last year - is worth £145 million. With such a price disparity, SMG is unlikely to be willing to sell, particularly as Rob Woodward, its recently installed chief executive, is backed by an investor club led by Hanover Investments. Mr Woodward from SMG said “I can confirm no communication of potential interest by UTV has been received by the SMG board,” he said. Virgin Radio’s brand is licensed from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, but, under the present terms, is not allowed to be owned by a company that competes with Virgin Group. Virgin Group’s stake in the cable operator Virgin Media means that potentially every broadcaster is a rival.

UTV posted static figures, in which a strong performance from Talksport offset a weak television market. Turnover was marginally ahead at £57.2 million, while pretax profit was 5.6 per cent up at £8.98 million. Talksport, marginally up in the first half, is reporting advertising bookings 15 per cent ahead in the third quarter, reflecting the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

End of month Bannatyne - September Businessman

So August 2007 is over and we are entering September. The business person for September is Mr David Gold (pictured), chairman of The Gold Group that includes: Gold Air International, Ann Summers, Birmingham City Football and many more.

To read all relevant articles on Mr Bannatyne (our businessman for August) please look at the following entries:


McDonalds has launched its McCafe in Tokyo yesterday to rival Starbucks in the lucrative coffee shop market. So keep on whatching this space for updates in the future on their progress.

Two bosses at EMI, chief executive Eric Nicoli and finance boss Martin Stewart said they will step down in the wake of a £2.4 billion takeover by private equity group Terra Firma.

Britian’s FTSE 100 closed 0.5% ahead yesterday at 6,132.2 while Germany’s Dax was 0.1% up after trailing for most of the day. The Dow Jones index gained 1.3% as investors looked at a potential to pick up bargains.

PartyGaming yesterday announced losses after the changes to US law on unlawful internet gambling. The company made a net loss of £25.3 million to June 30, compared with profits of £149 million in the same period last year.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Barclays set for ABN Amro takeover

BMW & Daimler Chrysler are threatening legal action against a Chinese car maker they claim is producing copies of their models, it emerged. The German companies are considering the legal challenge against Shuanghuan Automobile. BMW is said to consider Shuanghuan’s CEO model to be too similar to its own X5, while Daimler says Shuanghuan’s Noble is too close to its Smart Fortwo. (source: The Londonpaper)

Barclays is set to continue its move for Dutch bank ABN Amro despite a slump in the firm's share price wiping billions off its bid. Fears over its exposure to bad debt have sent Barclays' shares down about 16% since it made its offer. That was then worth £45.4billion ($91 billion) but as its bid is made up chiefly of hares, the falls could hit its chance of sealing the takeover. Sources close to the bank say that they do not plan to abandon the bid. Barclays' offer is now worth about £40 billion ($80 billion), while a rival RBS-led group has made a£48 billion ($96 billion) mostly cash bid. (source: BBC News)

Tragus preparing for Flotation

Blackstone, the company behind CafĂ© Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada chains is preparing for a possible £500 million-plus flotation in early 2008. Tragus Group, which is controlled by Blackstone, a private equity firm, is understood to be in discussions with investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and UBS, with a view to pursuing an initial public offering (IPO) early next year. The company looked at an IPO last year and ended up accepting a £267 million takeover by Blackstone. Since then, it has forked out £140 million on the acquisition of Strada and narrowly lost to Robert Tchenguiz in the bid for La Tasca, the tapas chain. Tragus is run by chief executive, Graham Turner. (source: The Londonpaper & Times Online)

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Today's News

WAL-MART looks set to do battle on its home turf with Tesco, the UK supermarket giant. The retail goliath said it was hiring middle management level executives to help evaluate the type of stores it operates. Tesco is preparing to launch in the US later this year with smaller convenience stores of around 1000 square feet, against the colossal Wal-Mart stores that measures on average 107 000 square feet with Supercentres at 187 000 square feet. (source: Daily Mail)

Singapore Airlines is set to buy a stake in one of China’s largest airlines in a move that will fuel fresh speculation over the future with Virgin Atlantic. The Singaporean carrier is tipped to team up with Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned investment company, and take a 25% shareholding in China Eastern Airlines worth a possible $930 million (£465 million). The long-awaited deal would give it access to one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for air travel. It is forecast to grow fivefold by 2025. Details of the agreement are expected to be revealed on September 2.

The Chinese were initially demanding a $930 million (£465 million) price and that this may have since come down to as low as $500 million (£250 million). The Chinese airline ran up losses of $438 million (£219 million) last year. Analysts added that Singapore Airlines had also been concerned about whether it will be able to exert as much influence over China Eastern’s management as it would like. This seems to be one of the issues that is forcing a rethink over Singpore Airlines’ 49% investment in Virgin Atlantic, which was bought for £600 million in late 1999. (source: Times Online)

GAP Profits

GAP yesterday announced a 19% rise in profits for the second quarter. The company has more than 100 outlets in Britain and the profits for April to June had risen to £76 million from £63 million for the same time a year ago. Online sales were up 26% with revenues 1% down from £1.85 billion. GAP, the San-Francisco based company has 3000 outlets worldwide with job cuts of about 1600 this year in a process of trying to improve profits. The company is currently chaired by Glenn Murphy who became chairman & chief executive 2 months ago.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Acer & Tata in today's news

Acer, the world's fourth-largest PC supplier, said today it will pay $710 million (£352 million) to acquire US computer retailer Gateway which is now in talks to buy Dutch-based rival Packard Bell. Both deals would be a double blow to Chinese computer group Lenovo, currently the world's third largest computer provider.

Acer and Citigroup, which advised on the deal, said Gateway had first rights to acquire Packard Bell, and that the two had begun talks that could eventually see them both folded into Acer. Adding Packard would give the Chinese company increased presence in the European consumer market, where Acer is especially strong.

Taipei-based Acer will pay $1.90 a share for Californian-based Gateway. Acer's offer represents a 57 per cent premium over Gateway's closing price on Friday of $1.21. Gateway surged 59 cents, or 49%, to $1.80 when Wall Street opened. Acer said the takeover would create a company with more than $15 billion in sales and 20 million computers shipped each year. Acer will keep the Gateway brand in the US. (source: Times Online)

Tata has emerged as the front-runner to buy Jaguar and Land Rover, as the turmoil in world debt markets makes it more difficult for private equity firms to secure funding. Ratan Tata(pictured), the chairman, has formally confirmed his company’s interest in buying the marques, which have been put up for sale by Ford, the struggling American carmaker.

Tata is understood to be one of only two likely trade buyers for Jaguar and Land Rover. The other – Mahindra & Mahindra, a maker of 4x4s – also hails from India. The sale, on which Ford says it does not expect to make an announcement until the end of this year or early in 2008, is thought to have drawn preliminary interest from at least five private equity firms. Corporate financiers however believe that their chances of prevailing in the $1.5 billion (£745 million) auction have been hit by the near-shutdown of the credit markets since late July.

Pre-tax losses at Jaguar in the UK halved last year from £535 million to £258 million, while Land Rover made a profit of £99 million. (source: Times Online)

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Facebook to follow Google on ads

Facebook is preparing an advertising model that would allow advertisers to target its users based on information that they reveal about themselves on the social networking website. Facebook had a record of 30.6 million visitors last month, and it is expected to make profits of only $30 million (£15 million) this year on revenues of $150 million. The new advertising system proposed by Facebook is central to the group’s efforts to monetise the social phenomenon that it has created.

The advertisements are expected to appear from banner ads and boxes that show up on the borders of Facebook pages at present and they would be mixed up with the news feed, which provides updates on the activities of each user’s friends. Facebook’s attempt to boost advertising revenues by extending information about its members to advertiser’s echoes moves by Google to target ads based on the browsing activity of its users.

Google tried this kind of targeted approach and there were some complaints, and the group seems to have become more subtle about it. With Facebook, the new ad system may lead to some drop-off in users, but it’s a popular site so it shouldn’t hurt too much. Facebook does not have a wealthy parent company to prop it up so it is essential that the group record strong revenue growth, and an effective advertising system is by far the best way to do this, analysts say.

Friday, 24 August 2007

What makes an entrepreneur - By: Stefan Enslin

John Caudwell set up the mobile phones group that includes the Phones 4U retail chain in 1987. He sold it for £1.4bn, making £1.2bn personally. “The one bit of advice that I would always give to people before they start a business is: to examine whether they have the six skills that you need to be really successful. They are ambition, drive, resilience, passion, commercial intellect and leadership.

Could you be an entrepreneur? 14 Important entrepreneurial characteristics of successful enterprise owners were identified by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Jeffrey Timmons and colleagues which still frequently crop up in entrepreneurship research. Timmons admitted that few entrepreneurs would possess all traits but felt that strengths in one might compensate for weaknesses in others. Many of these characteristics are self-explanatory (such as high personal drive and energy, self-confidence and setting clear goals) and some appear to be linked. They are:

• drive and energy
• self-confidence
• high initiative and personal responsibility
• internal locus of control
• tolerance of ambiguity
• low fear of failure
• moderate risk taking
• long-term involvement
• money as a measure not merely an end
• use of feedback
• continuous pragmatic problem solving
• use of resources
• self-imposed standards
• clear goal setting

These characteristics appear consistently in other entrepreneurial research studies. For example, more than 20 years ago a study of Irish entrepreneurs identified achievement, persistence and self-confidence as general successful business characteristics as well as internal focus of control and commitment to the business, as the characteristics peculiar to entrepreneurs. Some of the qualities that people often find a bit obscure include tolerance of ambiguity and low fear of failure. Tolerance of ambiguity is the ability to accept contradictory or unexpected evidence of something while keeping an open mind. Low fear of failure can lead to pushy, goal-dominated behaviour but, in fact, is the opposite of need for achievement. The anxiety caused by the fear can sometimes be strong enough to cause the individual to deliberately bring about the failure that is feared.

So what does low fear of failure means? The way I see it is that the entrepreneur is prepared to risk things going wrong and can handle setbacks without being deterred. There are so many books out there that discuss the topic on how to be a successful entrepreneur or what makes an entrepreneur. I feel that it is very important to read these books and learn from the masters themselves. They have made a success as entrepreneurs and most of them made it not on their first or second attempt but on their third one. I have read an article on a businessman who has made millions on his sixth attempt. By then he had the knowledge and ability to avoid the unnecessary and to apply only what is good for the business.

Some people think that an entrepreneur is in business (or going into business) to do his own thing and to provide work for the unemployed. They don’t care on whether they make loads of money as long as they stay afloat. Whilst, in itself that might not be a problem, the way I see it: “you are in business for three reasons and that is to make money, to have fun & to make money” It is therefore important that you cannot forget the fact that the reason why you go into business is to make money. That I think is rule number one.

Entrepreneurs therefore have drive, passion, resilience and the attitude of “never say die”. I think it is important that you motivate yourself by trying to approach highly successful and reputable businessmen/woman and try and arrange interviews with them. Get to meet them and see how they think and what advise they can give you. I wrote a small autobiography, updated my CV and made up a letter template that I can use to send to these people that I would like to approach. I did my research on these people to make sure I know them better then they know themselves. People love it when you show interest. This has given me the drive and has helped me to refine business ideas to a point where I have chiselled away everything that might not work until I had only the final product.

Try and apply these trade marks and if you want to see whether you have the characteristics of an entrepreneur, I can highly recommend taking the entrepreneurial profile test from Rachel Elnaugh. Please visit her website at She will respond within 24 hours personally with your results.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Google to run YouTube ads

Online search engine Google has decided in a desperate attempt to make money out of YouTube, to attach adverts to video clips. Google bought YouTube last year November for $1.65 billion (£832 million) and has generated revenues of just $15 million last year. Google has so far avoided advertising on YouTube for fear its users would reject attempts to commercialise the site. YouTube has more than 130 million monthly users. This is a massive audience for advertisers and a potentially huge money-spinner for Google. The two founders of Google said that users will be able to close the adverts before the 10 second (the length of a transparent advert on a video clip) are up it they find them too intrusive. (source: London Lite)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


The founder of Chrysalis, Mr Chris Wright, considers to sell-off his 26% stake in the firm. He has hired Longacre Partners to review his stake in the company or to try and take the company private. Chrysalis has focused on music publishing since the £170 million sale of its Heart radio business in June. It is considered that the business could attract interest from Warner Music, Universal and other private equity companies (source: Metro Business)

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Leap in LSE shares

London Stock exchange shares jumped from 31p to 1301p yesterday after the New York stock exchange Nasdaq said it wanted to divest itself of the £800 million (31% stake) it built up in the company during a failed takeover attempt. The US exchange cannot make another approach until next February. (source: Metro Business)

Monday, 20 August 2007

Mr Bannatyne

To read all relevant articles on Mr Bannatyne (our businessman for August) please look at the following entries:

Selling QCH & starting Bannatyne's Fitness
Duncan's Super Ices
The Little Entrepreneur
Mr Bannatyne - Anyone Can Do It
The month of Mr Bannatyne
The Businessman

Virgin to go Public

Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group have put aside years of hostility towards public markets to adopt a new investment strategy that embraces the world’s stock markets. The group, which had revenues of £10 billion last year, plans to operate like a private equity firm and sell the businesses it owns via the stock market. In an exclusive interview with The Times, Stephen Murphy, Virgin’s chief executive and head of the group’s powerful investment committee, said: "We think of our peer group now being people like Apax and Blackstone.” While planning to float its businesses, Virgin will retain a stake in them and keep directors on their boards in order to protect the brand.

The company is already pursuing a New York listing for Virgin Mobile USA. Virgin Active, its health club chain, is likely to be the next to float. Sir Richard’s first flirtation with the stock market was in 1986, when he listed the Virgin Group but he took the business private again two years later after becoming frustrated by what he saw as short-termist institutions. However, Sir Richard has now handed executive control of the Virgin Group to a committee of his closest advisers and they are adopting a new plan for expanding the famous brand. Mr Murphy said: “Once we have built a company to a point where it has reached a level of stability and maturity we will seek a public exit. We are much more comfortable with that idea now but there are no firm targets of how many businesses we want to float.” Mr Murphy will use the brand to help to launch new ventures and expand existing businesses, in a strategy of “branded venture capitalism”.

Gordon McCallum, Virgin’s strategy director, said: “A lot has been said about Richard not liking public markets but it is quite a good way of getting the right sort of governance over a company if you only have a minority shareholding.” Virgin is also courting private equity buyers and the group has been approached with offers for a number of its key businesses. Mr Murphy said: “Private equity buyers have now become a viable alternative and many listings are being pre-empted by these buyers.” Virgin Atlantic, the airline, could make its way to the stock market or into private equity hands. Singapore Airlines, which owns 49 per cent of the carrier, is considering selling its stake.

News By TimesOnline

Google has taken a stake in, the Chinese social networking site in trying to broaden its presence in the world’s second-largest online market. A spokesman for the search company confirmed that Google has invested in Reports in China suggested the holding could be as much as 60%. Google has struggled to break into the Chinese market, despite changing its name in the territory to “Gu Ge” and controversially agreeing to toe Beijing’s line on online censorship. In the search market, the domestic leader with about 60% of the market, has nearly three times Google's number of users (source: Timesonline)

The board of Nasdaq, the US electronic stock exchange, said today that it had hired JP Morgan and UBS to explore the best ways to sell its 31 per cent stake in the London Stock Exchange. Nasdaq said it believed that its own current share price did not "adequately reflect the value of its stake in the LSE". It said it would use approximately $1 billion (£503 million) of proceeds from any sale to retire senior term debt and intends to use the remainder to repurchase shares. It said it estimated that selling the stake would increase its standalone earnings per share for 2008 by approximately 30c to 35c. Shares in LSE instantly jumped, gaining 32p in early trading to £13.02, as traders bet that Nasdaq would sell the stake at above the current share price and that if it was sold in one block to a rival exchange it would trigger a takeover bid for the LSE. At current prices Nasdaq's 61.3 million LSE shares are worth £798 million. Nasdaq chief executive Bob Greifeld had made his own takeover offer for the LSE but had been rebuffed by LSE chief executive Clara Furse and her board. Nasdaq's separate attempt to takeover the pan-Scandinavian bourse OMX has also been trumped by the state of Dubai. The LSE is in the process of buying the Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock exchange, in a transaction which would have diluted Nasdaq's holding (By: Robert Lindsay – Timesonline)

Today's News

HSBC, the UK's largest bank, is in talks to buy a possible 51% stake in Korean Exchange Bank (KEB) in trying to expand into fast-growing markets. The purchase would cost HSBC about $4.5bn (£2.3bn), and give it control of South Korea's fifth-largest lender. The stake is being sold by investment group Lone Star, which has been caught up in a survey over allegations that it bought the KEB holding too cheaply. Analysts project that HSBC is expected to complete the deal later this month (source: BBC News)

Dell, the compute company has said it will restate four year's worth of accounts because figures were tweaked so that the firm could meet earnings targets. Dell said that the changes would cut about $150m (£75m) from its net profit, less than many analysts had predicted. An audit found that "certain adjustments appear to have been motivated by the objective of attaining financial targets", Dell explained. The company is in the process of cutting 7,000 jobs, or about 10% of its global workforce, as it looks to offset falling sales and rising costs. (source: BBC News)

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Selling QCH & starting Bannatyne's Fitness

Mr Bannatyne was doing so well with his ice-cream business that at times he actually had too much cash. He thought instead of putting it in a bank where it will only earn what the banks will pay you, to buy little terrace houses to rent out. The government under Margaret Thatcher brought in the Registered Homes Act in 1984, which meant they would pay a flat rate – almost exactly £140 a week – for every elderly person who needed looking after. He did his sums in his head, and thought, if he had fifty residents then that would be £7000 a week and a guaranteed turnover of £364 000 a year, the equivalent of almost £700 000 in today’s money. He did another quick sum and estimates his costs and reckoned that if his home was 90 per cent full, he could make a 33 per cent profit on his investment every year. His business was growing, but he still had to make debts at the bank to buy more places in order for his business to grow. To put the money together for some places he had to sell his valuable, like his Mercedes 190E, went back to driving round in an ice-cream van, sold his colour TV and stereo. He got three credit cards to borough money from, and it proves to be all worth it, because he never estimated that this care homes business will be worth £30 million one day.

By the end of 1991, Quality Care Homes Ltd (name of his care homes business) had built and was operating nine nursing homes with a total of 428 registered beds and in doing so had racked up debts in the region of £6 million. His total salary in 1991 was £35 704 which was relatively low when you consider the company’s turnover was £3 317 980 in that year. He was trying to expand and get some more money and the only option was to take the company to the stock market. A fight with the first PR company lead him to go for another PR company who helped him to make 27% of the company available to the market. His holding after flotation would be 72.8 per cent, meaning he would still firmly be in charge. The company was listed in 1992 with the price of the shares between £1.30 and £1.50. This valued the company at around £17-20 million.

In 1993 he saw a new venture (whilst still have Quality Care Homes Ltd) in the way of Just Learning Ltd. This was nursing schools where the government also made grants available for nursing homes. He later sold this business for £12 million, well later in this sentence means actually five years. Not bad for a business that young I reckon. He also sold Quality Care Homes Ltd in 1997 for £26 million and celebrated that by waterskiing for the rest of the day till it became dark, went to the pub and got very drunk.

He had to reinvest his profits of £26 million in another company or face up to pay 40 per cent tax on that money. So he started to look at new ventures to avoid paying tax on this money. He bought shares in a lady’s only gym, became pissed off at the rest of the directors, bought their shares up and called the business Lady in Leisure. And this was where Bannatyne Fitness was later born. A company that he still owns and is today the largest independent fitness club owner in the UK. He bought his own radio station, stated Hotel Bannatyne in 1996, started his own development company, got involved in charity projects and was one of the Dragons on the highly successful business program in the UK, called Dragon’s Den.

He is today a very reputable business man with his 70 health clubs all around the UK and his other ventures and is estimated at £200 million on the Sunday Times Rich List. He is certainly one of my favourite business men and his Autobiography was absolutely brilliant. I love reading biographies and it sometimes takes a couple of days to read a biography. However, the same did not happen with Mr Bannatyne’s biography. Once I’ve started I could not stop and read his book in only two-days. Likely for me it was over Christmas so was at home. I can highly recommend his book as it has all the elements of a great book. I absolutely love what happened in the flotation years and his fights with the PR Company and the solicitor’s fees, as well as his fights with rival ice-cream sellers. BRILLIANT. I am willing to give away my copy to someone who is really interested in reading his full autobiography. Please let me know whether you are interested and I will put the names of all interested parties in a hat and draw a winner and post the book to you free of charge.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Virgin & BMI to join Forces

Virgin Atlantic and bmi (formerly British Midlands), the British airlines, are seeking permission to form partnership with American carriers on transatlantic flights as part of a strategy to take on British Airways. Bmi, yesterday submitted an application to the US Department of Transport requesting permission to code-share with United Airlines. (source: City AM)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn operator, InterContinental Hotels said that underlying profits rose 17% to £111 million in the first half the year. The Windsor-based group said that the outlook for the rest of the year was "positive".

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

News Highlights for today


WH Smith forecast strong results after good performance at airports, railway stations and motorway services and is predicting profits from £59 million to £64 million for the year to 31 August. This is compared with £51 million in the previous year.

ABN Amro takeover

The RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), Spain's Santander and Belgian-Dutch group Fortis have increased their stake in ABN Amro by 3.25%, buying 40.76 million shares at an average of £22.89 each.

(source: The Londonpaper)

Monday, 13 August 2007

Virgin Comics

Sir Richard Branson's Bangalore start-up, Virgin Comics, has signed up with India's UTV Motion Picture to create India's first set of modern superheroes for the big screen, a move that pitches it against Walt Disney and Time Warner. Vikas Bhal, creative and business head of Spotboy, the UTV unit working with Virgin Comics, declined to give details of the proposed character as they are still under development. However, the first should be ready for release in the first quater of 2008, he said.

DaVinci Entrepreneur

See whether you think like all the big business names out there by taking the DaVinci Method challenge. Scroll down to the recommended links on the right hand of this page and simply click on the link to start your challenge.

Airlines to display true cost

Following a crackdown on misleading prices by the Office of Fair Trading, budget airlines have been forced to display the true cost of flights on their websites and advertisements. A total of 13 carriers including easyJet, bmibaby and Thomsonfly have begun displaying the full cost of flights, including taxes and non-optional extra costs, after the OFT took action following a warning to the travel industry in February.

Ryanair has not done so as it claimed that technical issues have prevented it from changing its entire booking process immediately. They have made changes to its homepage to indicate how much taxes and charges will add to the final price. The OFT has warned Ryanair and Aer Lingus, which has claimed a similar problem, that it will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure changes were made.

Sean Williams, OFT executive director, said, 'The OFT is committed to ensure that consumers are not misled by advertised prices that bear little relation to actual prices. Misleading pricing not only undermines consumer confidence but also distorts competition and we will enforce the law enthusiastically where we find that consumers have been misled.' In conjunction with the OFT, travel association ABTA has taken action against members failing to comply with its code of conduct in relation to similar misleading prices. The action by the OFT meant that as of 31 July, easyJet, bmibaby, Flybe, Thomsonfly, flythomascook, Monarch, Jet2, Globespan, Wizz Air, Sky Europe and German Wings changed their websites to include all costs in prices. (source: metro)

Duncan's Super Ices

Mr Bannatyne’s sister Helen died in 1972. His sister and husband had plans for selling up and moving to Canada. Her death changed everything and his parent’s relationship were never the same again. After Helen’s memorial Mr Bannatyne had to take care of his parents and he ended up in a few scrapes and lost his licence for drink driving.

He moved to Jersey as some told him his driving licence would still be valid there. He tried to get a work as a bartender, but thought if he can’t then at least he can drive a taxi with his licence. He founded a bar (job) and made some friends in this bar. Working in the bar meant he had the mornings free, so he’d often start the day on the beach. Whilst in Jersey he also did other occasional jobs, like deck-chair attendant, hospital porter, lorry driver or ice-cream vendor. He survived on a tiny amount of money, but never felt poor. It was virtually impossible for non-residents to start a business in Jersey, unless they’re incredibly wealthy, so there was no incentive to do anything other than part-time jobs. This was here where he worked out schemes on how to make extra money, like renting an ice-cream van for the day and buying some stock and then sold it on the beach. It was here that he learned quite a lot on how to run a small business. He earned about £200 per month on the little jobs he did in Jersey.

He then met Gail in Jersey who was a petite blond girl. She worked as a waitress at a golf course. It was one Sunday morning on the beach with Gail when a turning point came for Mr Bannatyne. He had picked up a newspaper to read when he read the story about a man who’d started a business on a shoe string and gone on to become a millionaire (sure it was Sir Alan Sugar).

Mr Bannatyne thought to himself, “if this Alan Sugar guy can do it, then so can I” He bought his first Vauxhall ice-cream van, called Catweasel, and it cost him £450. It broke down quite a few times. He started this ice-cream business as he did not need any staff, don’t need much capital and easy to start without business knowledge. The only problem was, he was too tall to stand up in it properly. The only way to stand up properly was without shoes, so he drove round in his socks. Most ice-cream business in the country served soft ice-cream as it was easier to serve. Mr Bannatyne decided to serve hard ice-cream in scoops. Although most people said it would not work as he cannot sell them as quickly as hard ice-cream he imported a special scoop from America that is strong and can quickly serve hard ice-cream. An important thing was, this scoop left a little smile on top, like a smile. He then later on filled this smile with strawberry sauce and added some aniseed balls for eyes. Suddenly he realised he could charge 10% instead of the usual 8% for an ice-cream with a face. These face ice-cream became very popular with kids and Duncan’s Super Ices got off to a good start. He then gave names to all his ice-creams. A competitor started to make life difficult for him, but managed to drive him away and buy his ice-cream van. He now had two vans and staff.

He decided to take these two vans to a local park in the hot summer days and sell his ice-creams there. He thought that it would cost around £2000 for the summer holidays to park his vans there and sell ice-cream. He needed a licence for that and phoned the Council. That first summer he made £18 000 in the park. The amazing things were, no other ice-cream business phoned the Council for a licence. He was new to this whole business. If he could see this opportunity, why did no one ever think of this? The reason: whilst everyone in the country, selling ice-cream, was happy with selling enough ice-cream to run a profitable business and the status quo, Mr Bannatyne was not! He carried on building his business and towards the end of the business he had a turnover of around £300 000 a year of which about £60 000 was profit that he took as a salary. This is the equivalent of about £120 000 today. But, it all changed for good in 1984 when he started building the “foundations” of his fortune.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Virgin US delayed

The launch of Virgin America was delayed in the US yesterday after horrendous weather hit New York's JFK Airport. The ceremonial inaugural flight was delayd for nearly an hour by torrential rain. (source: The Londonpaper)

Virgin Lost 40 000 customers

Virgin Media reported on Wednesday, 8th August 2007 that the row with BSkyB over the cost of cable channels such as Sky News and Sky One from Virgin’s service on March 1, 2007 has cost them 40 000 customers. Virgin said that 70 000 customers left between April and the end of June with only 40 000 because of the dispute. As a result, customer revenue fell from £637.3 million in the first quarter of 2007 to £619.3 million. Overall, the group posted operating profits of £3 million, against operating losses of £15.3 million a year ago. Its total customer base now stands at 4.7million. (source: Metro)

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Build a Reputation

I’ve been building the Trump brand for several decades. But from time to time, landmarks do come along. Two months ago, when Eric joined us, my three eldest children are now with the Trump Organization, helping to expand our brand. Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric are all here now. They are my real Apprentices, and they’re doing a great job. They know that I’m demanding, but they are disciplined and very hard workers, so they are a good fit with the Trump Organization.

Having a quality brand is very much like having a good reputation. It’s important to consider that fact, even when you are just starting out. Remember that everything you say and do is important. Actions matter. You are, literally, your own brand whether you have a business yet or not. If you are serious about what you’re doing, taking responsibility for yourself starts now. We were having a discussion about the Trump brand, and all of us agreed that it has to represent the highest quality available, no matter what the enterprise might be. If I build a golf course, it has to the best. If I build a skyscraper, it has to be the best. If I have a line of suits, they’d better be terrific. I am very thorough when it comes to certain things. Namely, everything. You’d better be too if you hope to get somewhere worth going.

I remember when someone mentioned how impressed they were that I would be so interested in trees when I was building a golf course. I remember being surprised that they were impressed--to me it made sense. You have to know the details yourself! Second hand information will always be second hand. Don’t be a second hand person. Go to the source yourself. That’s a start on the road to a great brand, a great reputation, or both.

My buildings sell out before they are built. Why? People recognize the brand name and know what they will be getting--the best for their money. It’s not a risk on their part. That’s the great thing about building a business based on quality and integrity. It will sell itself. It doesn’t happen overnight, you may have to work awhile to establish your reputation and brand, but the consistency will be the standard to beat in your chosen industry. I can tell you, it’s worth it. Whatever your interests are, get started. As Henry Ford said, you can’t build a reputation (or a brand) on what you are going to do. You have to put some action into your plans, ideas and dreams. That’s why you’re in the right place today. Trump University was set up to help you realize your goals. Becoming a professional is an investment in itself.

Most of us need letters of recommendation now and then. I write them as well as receive them, and I always look for the words ‘responsible, professional and loyal.’ If you can build your reputation on three words, those would be three at the top to choose from. I also think of those words when it comes to the Trump brand--to be authentic when it comes to responsibility, professionalism, and loyalty--to my buyers, clients, students, readers, audiences, and so forth. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not always easy. I am responsible for a lot of people. But high standards are high standards, and that’s what I stand for. I will not accept less from myself. To build the reputation you want to have, you will have to be the same way. Being stubborn has its rewards. Getting to the top and staying there is one of them. Start now, start today, start this very minute. There’s a lot of competition out there, and they won’t be waiting around for you. Build your reputation around getting things done! In the 1980’s I watched the Wollman Rink in Central Park getting renovated for 6 years with nothing getting done. I finally offered to help and had it done in a few months. I suddenly had a big reputation for a guy who gets things done--on time and under budget. People couldn’t believe it could be done, but I knew better. You can know better too. Build your reputation on intelligence, responsibility and results. That’s building the right way - By: Donald J Trump

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Other News

Virgin Media, the cable, telephone, mobile & internet company where Sir Richard Branson is the majority shareholder, has called off its £5 billion-plus sale to private equity for now because of the crisis in the debt market. Virgin said “potential strategic and financial counterparties have continued to confirm a strong ongoing interest” (source: The Lite)

Royal Bank of Scotland’s Consortium bidding to buy ABN Amro was boosted yesterday when Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis secured shareholder backing for an £8.8 billion to help finance the deal. The news makes the consortium more likely than rival Barclays to clinch ABN Amro. Mauric Lippens, Fortis chairman said today “EGMs mark a key milestone in the success of the bid. We thank our shareholders for their trust in our growth strategy and for their vote in favour of this bid. This bid leaves Barclay’s CEO John Varley under pressure to improve his £42.3 billion offer, largely made up of Barclay’s shares. (source: City AM)

Facebook is to lose more advertising from its site after a government clampdown on where its campaigns appear. Vodafone also withdrew from Facebook because their advertising had appeared on a profile page for the British National Party. The COI (Central Office of Information) said yesterday it was suspending advertising on all sites where its campaigns could end up on user-generated pages. The list includes Facebook. Facebook’s terms dictate that users cannot post material it deems to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, inflammatory, obscene or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable. (Source The Guardian)

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is currently fighting it out with two rivals in a bidding war for Southampton Football Club. Mr Allen is expected to sell as many as 12 million shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG, the maker of the Shrek films, for $548 million (£269 million). The shares represent half or Allen’s holding (source: The Lite)

Easyjet, the no-frills airline could grow its profits by up to 50% in the year to September, it said today. This is despite carrying fewer passengers per plane and continually falling fares in a cut-throat market. Easyjet carried 9.9 million passengers during April, May and June, 13% more than the same period last year. (Source: The Lite)

News from - Financial Times

Wal-Mart has succeeded in getting its toe in the door of the Indian Market via local partner Bharti Enterprises. The world’s largest retailer stressed it would work with and develop local supplies and create local beneficiaries along the supply chain. The 50/50 joint venture, called Bharti Wal-Mart, is a wholesale cash-and-carry business that will use Wal-Mart’s back-end logistics technology, inventory system, cold chain infrastructure, tuck tracking and fuel management. (Source: Financial Times)

It is expected that the rapid growth of online advertising will see the sector overtake US newspaper advertising in terms of size by 2011. The findings are from a widely-watched annual research report on the media sector Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS). In the 2007 study, VSS forecasts that online advertising will grow more than 21% to reach $62 billion in 2011 making it bigger than newspaper advertising, expected to total at $60 billion. Broadcast television, cable & satellite television combined will continue to take the biggest share to reach $86 billion in 2011 (source: Financial Times)

Monday, 6 August 2007

Endemol Sold

Endemol, which was formed in 1994 and are the creators behind Big Brother has been sold to a consortium for £2.4 billion. The consortium today announced it had acquired 99.54% of shares in the firm. Endemol is one of the biggest independent TV companies in the world. The same consortium bought 75% of Endemol shares from Spanish telecoms group Telefonica for £1.78 billion in July and 6% shares from the Cyrte investment fund, controlled by Endemol co-founder John de Mol.

Barclay's Bid Formally Launched

Barclays has today formally launched its takeover bid for ABN Amro. The formal bid was at £45.5 billion and it is hoped that this bid will beat a £48 billion bid led by Royal Bank of Scotland. ABN Amro investors will receive £8.89 per share in cash and 2.13 shares in Barclays for each ABN Amro share if the Barclays bid is accepted.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Little Entrepreneur

Mr Duncan Bannatyne was born on Wednesday, 2 February 1949 at Springfield House in Dalmuir to the west of Glasgow. He was named after his father’s uncle. Springfield House was a large six-bedroom house. This house was shard with six other families and each family had just one room. They were seven children, Helen (the oldest sister), younger brother George, Anne, William, Campbell and youngest sister Sandy that was born on his dad’s fifty-first birthday. He joined the Navy after his dad’s birthday. Mr Bannatyne’s mother was born on 26 October 1925, the seventh of seven children. His parent married in May 1946.

His first business venture when he was only 11years old was being a paperboy. To secure this job he lied to the newspaper agent in telling her (Jenny) that he will deliver 100 news papers. He did not have a bicycle and there was no money to buy one. So he was determined to make this work and buy himself a bicycle to be like other kids at school. Jenny obviously did not believe him, and he had to get 100 names to prove to her that he will deliver 100 newspapers. He did just that and had to knock on 150 doors to get 100 signatures for papers.

He left school because he knew his parents would not be able to afford for him to go to college. He left school at his earliest convenience to join the Royal Navy. Because he was under sixteen and wanted to join the Royal Navy, he needed his parent’s permission to join and his mother refused to sign the forms. He then threatened to run away from home to force his mum to sign the forms.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Mr Bannatyne - Anyone Can Do It

Duncan Bannatyne was born in Clydebank and left school without qualifications. He joined the Royal Navy to pursue a career, but left the Royal Navy after four years after being dishonourably discharged after trying to throw his commanding officer overboard. He started his business with an ice cream van and sold his ice cream business for £28 000 in 1987 for a nursing home business. The latter has helped him to make enough money and helped him build out his fortunes to the point where he is today. He has the reputation as a tough operator and once walked out of a meeting with City Brokers that would have netted him millions of pounds on a point of principle over £12 000. In 2004 he received an OBE for his charity work following a sustained commitment to children’s projects in Romania. He is the Chairman of the Bannatyne Group mostly known for Bannatyne Fitness Ltd, Britain’s largest independent health club company. He’s wealth is estimated in the Sunday Times Rich List at £200 million. He has six children and homes in London, North East & Cannes.

Mr Bannatyne on of Britain’s most successful and unconventional entrepreneurs, said himself: “if someone like me can make £100 million, then anyone can do it”

New Business Ideas

Since I am going to start our business personality with Mr Duncan Bannatyne who started his company with an Ice-cream van, I thought that if you are looking for new ventures ideas to start a company then I might have the solution for you. Check out the recommended links section at the bottom of this page. Two companies that might be of interest are the following:

Coolbusiness Ideas:
Based in Singapore, is dedicated to the gathering of brand new promising business ideas and opportunities from around the world and informing newsletter subscribers of emerging trends in the business world so that their worldwide subscribers can gain an edge over the relentless competition. They draw on a large network of business 'informers' as well as on their own research through many channels to present cool business ideas in their newsletter. Very promising new business ideas, opportunities, concepts and systems which are ready for adaptation to local businesses are tracked by them on a consistent basis.

To maintain global and local coverage, the team scans online data and publications regularly as well as keeps in close contact with industry 'insiders' around the world. They rely on an international network of informers as their first-hand sources of new business ideas. Their findings are presented in their biweekly newsletter which you can subscribe for free as well as a regularly-updated blog.

Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation. Ferociously tracking more than 400 global offline and online business resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities, digital cameras at hand. To ensure true ‘glocal’ coverage, the central office is in close contact with more than 8,000 Springspotters in over 70 countries worldwide. The full colour, monthly Springwise (and related newsletters, to which you can subscribe for free, get sent to more than 210,000 business professionals in more than 120 countries. So whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, head of a start-up, management consultant, marketing manager, business development director, trend watcher, or anyone else interested in creating or expanding companies, Springwise will instantly inspire you by getting the world’s most promising young ventures right in front of you. To check out the most recent newsletter, visit the Springwise website. Springwise is the first company to compile and send out a newsletter like this on a global scale, making optimal use of an ever more networked world. Established in Spring of 2002, Springwise is headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Who is it for?
Springwise is required brain food for entrepreneurial minds! Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, head of a start-up, management consultant, marketing manager, consumer insights expert, trend watcher, journalist, private investor, business development director, or venture capitalist, Springwise will instantly inspire you by getting the world’s most promising new business ideas and young ventures right in front of you.

Dow Jones sold to News Corporation

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of the News Corporation that also owns The Sun and the Times has offered £2.76 billion for Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones and this offer has been accepted yesterday. He bought the Wall Street Journal after agreeing a takeover with Dow Jones’s controlling Bancroft family. Fox News, Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios, internet site MySpace will all be part of the News Corporation owned by Mr Rupert Murdoch.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

HMV buys Fopp

Troubled music and books retailer Fopp has been bought by HMV for an undisclosed sum. Fopp recently went into administration, closing 81 stores with 700 job losses. HMV said this deal would save up to 70 jobs. HMV said it would maintain Fopp's unique identity and trading culture.