The Bank of England ensured a cheery start to the week by dumping another £50bn into the money markets (since cash is apparently making a comeback in the credit crunch, perhaps this was all in used fivers?). But it won’t be enough to revive RBS – the bank is tapping shareholders for a hefty £12bn to prop up its balance sheet. (Rumours that this was a levy to pay Allen & Overy’s latest legal bills are apparently wide of the mark)
Other corporate strugglers this week included Persimmon, which has been forced to stop building houses because sales are so bad (probably at the cost of thousands of jobs and halving the tea industry’s profits); Starbucks, which is rapidly discovering that cinnamon dolce lattes are starting to look like an unnecessary luxury as belts tighten; and Samsung, which could be broken up after the resignation of its chairman amid tax-dodging allegations. And then of course there’s perennial basket case BAA, which the Competition Commission thinks should also be dismembered (a sentiment T5 passengers might share).
Meanwhile Office of Fair Trading has been back in the headlines; this time it’s having a pop at the cigarette business, apparently unabashed by its humiliating climb-down over allegations about Morrisons. And speaking of spotlight-lovers, Dragon Peter Jones has become the new face of BT (personally we were always Maureen Lipman fans, but she’s not got much of a track record as an entrepreneur), while Everyone’s Favourite Bearded Entrepreneur Richard Branson has lured Stan Lee into his spider’s web. But it’s been a bad week for two other stars: Wesley Snipes got three years for tax evasion (reminds us of his finest hour: ‘White Men Can’t Jump Bail’), while celebrity CEO Stuart Rose is in trouble with the corporate governance lobby again.
Meanwhile McDonald’s is continuing its move upmarket, with news that Bruce Oldfield is designing its new staff uniforms. Clearly the fast food giant has recognised the need to keep its workers happy in gloomy economic times – research out this week found that 30% of UK workers are suffering a lack of motivation. What’s more-... actually forget it. We can’t be bothered.