MT's week in 60 seconds

This week: Darling wobbles, credit crunches, and media giants put up their dukes.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The fall-out from the credit crunch continues to rain down. First up was beleaguered French bank SocGen, scrambling to offset extra losses in the aftermath of the sub-prime crisis.

Meanwhile, the Government weighed in to the saga of sub-prime victim Northern Rock. Gordon Brown announced that he was prepared to take the hit of nationalising the stricken outfit. The message to lead bidder Virgin: stump up more cash. Elsewhere the Lib Dems dug in, attacking how Virgin boss Richard Branson handles his assets (and giving us a good excuse to run a picture of him naked).

All of which will have provided an amusing diversion for those in the City. While they laugh into their Laurent Perrier rosé, toasting bonuses that have shot up once again, it seems the rest of us are wearing a rather more sour expression as we nurse our own half-empty glasses. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales reported a dramatic drop in business confidence.

Still, at least we can trust the Treasury to sort it all out. Well, perhaps not. Chancellor Alistair Darling started the week with his hand on the Budget handbreak, with everyone waiting to see if he’d pull another one of his u-turns. After the reversal over Capital Gains Tax, he shocked many by repeating the manoeuvre on his non-dom tax policy.

Elsewhere, a clash of the media titans began brewing, as news emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is considering a deal with Yahoo. We’ll have to wait for the reaction of Bill Gates – Microsoft had previously put in a $40bn bid for the ageing online company. Whatever happens, it makes scintillating viewing for the rest of us.

Less titilating, London's stock exchange is to provide the first public listing for a publisher of pornographic magazines, a stable that includes Richard Desmond’s former titles Asian Babes, Forty Plus and New Talent.

And finally, dirt of a different kind. The chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, owner of such brands as Cillit Bang and Vanish, called many of its innovations ‘stupid’. Hardly a statement of genius itself.

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