Connect with us


Best-paid gig in town rains down £12m a head – but are the non-exes still independent? | Nils Pratley



Some 166 millionaires were created in the City on Wednesday. Well, strictly speaking, the fortunes of the investment professionals at the private equity firm Bridgepoint were not “created” in a single stroke. Rather, the act of listing the firm on the stock exchange crystallised the value of shares they already owned and allowed them to flog a few.

But, however you view the numbers in this £2.88bn flotation, or IPO, they illustrate how private equity is challenging investment banking for the status of best-paid gig in the financial game.

With €27bn (£23bn) under management, Bridgepoint is big – but not big like KKR, CVC or Blackstone. Yet the combined 78% pre-IPO stake of the fortunate 166 was worth £2bn on listing, or £12m a head on average.

The spoils are not distributed equally among the Bridgepoint brethren, obviously. One can see from the prospectus that the executive chairman, William Jackson, sold shares worth almost £8m in the IPO and was left with a stake worth £33m, or £42m after the shares rose by a quarter on the first day of dealings.

Frédéric Pescatori, head of operations in France and southern Europe, is sitting even prettier: he still has shares worth £85m after selling a bundle for £16m. Even at the bottom of the ladder, though, the juniors among the 166 are probably still looking at a million or two.

Still, one could take the view that Bridgepoint has been very successful and its stock-market value is the fruit of a couple of decades of effort since a management buyout by NatWest.

The same, though, cannot be said of the highly unusual – and very large – signing-on fees, billed as “initial fees”, that Bridgepoint has paid to its incoming non-executive directors.

Archie Norman, the senior independent director, got £1.75m, or £962,000 after tax, on top of his more-standard £200,000 fee for fulfilling the part-time role. Three other non-execs, including Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, were handed £500,000 just for climbing on board.

They had to use the money to buy shares in Bridgepoint, and, yes, they’re all lauded individuals in UK corporate life. But, come on, upfront signing-on bonuses of this size for non-execs is pushing the limit of how far they can be viewed as independent directors, which is their status.

They are the people who are meant to be providing scrutiny through an outsider’s eyes. Maybe the arrangement looks normal from within the millionaire factory, but in commonly understood governance terms, it really isn’t.

Inclusion pays

“The Bank of England recognises that to pursue its mission it must reflect the diversity of the people it serves. That has not always been the case.”

No, that wasn’t Andrew Bailey, the BOE governor, promising on Wednesday that Threadneedle Street would do more to tackle racial systemic inequality. It was his predecessor, Mark Carney, in a speech in February 2017. Indeed, Carney, in the same address, said the central bank had three years previously “made diverse and talented a central pillar” of the first strategic plan.

You get the picture: the latest critical report by the Bank’s governing body, which found “material disparities between the collective lived experiences, career opportunities and outcomes of minority ethnic and white colleagues”, comes after years of promises of self-improvement by bank management.

One of the report’s suggestions is to make senior managers accountable through their pay packets for meeting inclusion targets. It’s a better idea than another round of Carney-style speeches.

Next up, again

Another results statement, another upgraded profit forecast for Next, the high-street retailer that makes the job look simple. That’s now six upgrades since the big downgrade at the start of lockdown in March 2020.

A lot of skill, tight cost control and strategic planning lies behind the outperformance, but the wonder is that the City is taken by surprise every time. The shares rose 7.5%.

At least three of the four factors cited by the chief executive, Simon Wolfson, to explain the “unexpectedly strong sales performance” in recent weeks could be detected by looking out of the window or following the news. There was hot weather at the end of May and start of June; fewer foreign holidays provided a boost to domestic spending; and consumers’ savings increased.

Wolfson expects things to slow down in the second half of Next’s financial year as some of those factors unwind. He’ll be right on the direction – but do not be shocked if things turn out better again.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


LeVar Burton: ‘Jeopardy!’ host gig began ‘scary,’ ended fun – New York Daily News




Continue Reading


Labor-For-Hire Company Struggling to Find Gig Workers Despite Hiking Wages




  • Laborjack said it can’t find enough gig workers to meet soaring demand for its services.
  • The Colorado-based company boosted staff wages but said there’s huge competition for labor.
  • Clients are so desperate for labor that they’re no longer price-sensitive, its founders added.

A labor-for-hire company in Fort Collins, Colorado, says it’s missing out on huge chunks of revenue because it can’t find enough workers to take more jobs on.

Blake Craig and Josh Moser, founders of Laborjack, told Insider that more people had been applying to work at the company during 2021, but that it still wasn’t enough to meet the massive growth in demand for its services.

“Good help is hard to find,” Craig said. “And it’s even harder right now.”

Read more: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor crunch with tools that help franchisees hire or automate the restaurant workforce

Laborjack staff doing landscaping work

Laborjack’s staff are mainly college students who do gig jobs in landscaping, moving, and general staffing.


Laborjack hires out labor to help with moving, landscaping, and general staffing — often to individuals who need extra help with projects.

“But right now, the bulk of our business is focused on helping other businesses that can’t get the staffing that they need,” Craig said. This includes delivery, brewing, and construction companies.

Around 80% of its workers are college students or recent graduates. But some of them have full-time jobs and use their gig work at Laborjack to supplement their income. During the pandemic, they’ve been working more hours at their main jobs and don’t need the side income anymore, Craig said.

In June, just over 200 workers completed a shift on Laborjack’s platform – but nearly a fifth of these only did one job.

This US is currently in the midst of a huge labor shortage that’s causing some businesses to cut operating hours, slash production, and raise prices. Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington told Insider that it’s primarily driven by people in entry-level, hourly-paid, and customer-facing jobs.

“Hiring had never been an issue for us until about February of this year,” Laborjack’s Craig said. “There’s a lot of other people going after the same talent that we are – not only new workers but also our existing workforce.”

“There are a lot of people fishing in a small pond,” he added.

The demand for Laborjack’s services roughly tripled over the past year, while the number of job applicants has increased by just a quarter, Craig said.

“We’re still struggling to keep up with the demand that’s coming in for the service we offer,” Moser said. 

This is despite Laborjack rolling out its biggest set of worker perks yet. This includes increasingly average payouts, made up of wages and on-job bonuses, to just over $26 an hour. The company is dishing out $75 hiring and referral bonuses if a new hire completes five jobs, too.

Businesses are ‘on the verge of desperation’

Laborjack has made its services more expensive to cover the higher wages. Moser said its clients had changed their pricing tolerance “drastically” over the past three months and were no longer price-sensitive.

“They just need to get people in the doors because otherwise their business will collapse,” Moser said. “They’re on the verge of desperation.”

Moser said that, for example, the event and trade show industry had rebounded massively with the reopening of the US economy. “They’re chomping at the bit for any amount of workers we can get them.”

Laborjack founders Blake Craig, Josh Moser

Laborjack’s founders say the tight labor market is holding them back.


Laborjack’s June revenue is up around 90% year-over-year, but “we could be growing more if there was more labor on the market,” Moser said. Laborjack is turning down jobs worth up to $2,500 each day and is struggling to balance its B2B and consumer sides, which are “both in full swing,” Moser said.

“Our margin has decreased despite the fact that we’re increasing prices, just because we’re trying to pay out all these bonuses,” Craig added.

Source link

Continue Reading


Van Oord wins Baltic Eagle foundations and array cable gig – reNews




Iberdrola has awarded Van Oord a contract for the transportation and installation of monopile foundations and array cables at the 476MW Baltic Eagle offshore wind farm off Germany.

The deals were first revealed in the subscriber-only newsletter reNEWS.

Van Oord will deploy its 8000-tonne heavy lift installation vessel Svanen to install the 50 foundations.

Offshore works for the Baltic Eagle project will start in 2023.

Van Oord’s cable laying vessel Nexus and trencher Dig-It will be deployed for the array cable laying.

Iberdrola country manager for Germany Iris Stempfle said: “Iberdrola is one of the leading developers contributing to the energy transition by investing in offshore wind projects around the globe – in Germany, our Baltic Hub will have an installed capacity of 826MW by the end of 2024.

“Tapping into the expertise of Van Oord yet again makes us confident that Baltic Eagle offshore wind farm will be delivered as planned.”

Van Oord Offshore Wind managing director Arnoud Kuis said: “We are very pleased to be working with Iberdrola again, this time on the Baltic Eagle project in the German Baltic Sea.

“Combining the installation of foundations and the supply and laying of cables will ensure efficient project execution.”

Baltic Eagle is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2024.

Source link

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2019