CITY WHISPERS: Another stroke of bad luck for Wilko’s bean counter
As Wilko’s saga progresses, attention has focused on the number crunchers who allowed him to get into a desperate situation without raising the alarm.
EY has come under pressure after experts told The Mail on Sunday it was “strange” the auditor had approved the accounts.
But this is not the first liquidity crisis that Wilko’s finance chief has faced.
Saga: The focus has been on the number crunchers who allowed Wilko to get into a desperate situation without raising the alarm.
Dave Murphy, who has been in the role since the beginning of this year, spent more than six years at the troubled Pizza Express, most of it as counter manager at its UK and Ireland subsidiary.
His tenure coincided with a painful restructuring as the Italian-inspired chain tried to avoid being crushed by £1bn of debt racked up by successive private equity owners.
With private equity firm M2 recently kicked out of the Wilko bidding war, Murphy may think his current employer – under fire as it is – dodged a bullet.
Few announce the closure of IPSX
One of London’s stock exchanges announced it was closing permanently last week, although few probably noticed.
The International Real Estate Stock Exchange (IPSX) was launched in 2019 and focused on real estate investment trusts that own a single asset.
But now it is closing with only three publicly traded companies, which, coincidentally, are all managed by a single company, M7 Real Estate.
While many will link the failure to high interest rates, one analyst said it could have been that IPSX was “offering a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.”
Darktrace investors spooked by autonomy link
Cybersecurity firm Darktrace released its full-year results last week as it sought to end a dispute with a short seller that raised questions about its accounting controls.
While he shrugged off the accusations, questions about numbers may be the least of his worries.
One analyst told Whispers that investors were still spooked by his “dirty” ties to Autonomy, a software company whose founder, Mike Lynch, was extradited to the United States to face fraud charges.
Lynch is a key stakeholder at Darktrace, and several former Autonomy staff work there, including boss Poppy Gustafsson. Darktrace said Lynch “does not have any operational, advisory or other role” at the company.
“In security, trust is everything,” said the analyst.
Clive Black takes aim at the BBC
In the posh world of investment research, Shore Capital’s Clive Black stands out for his blunt pugnacity.
The retail guru was at it again last week when he took aim at the BBC and others for “calling out” the UK’s poor economic performance, when the Office for National Statistics was wrong in its numbers all along.
“These politicizing economic data ignore such a gross misrepresentation of the facts to their discredit,” he said.
As pessimists digest mounds of humility cake following the huge improvement in the UK economy, Black even wonders whether the BBC should appoint “a rising living standards correspondent”.
Now there is a thought.
Contributor: Patrick Tooher