20.05.2022 // Ebony and Ivory
Ebony and Ivory, the Paul McCartney song featuring Stevie Wonder, is powerful and evocative. On a simple level, it’s describing the relationship of the keys that are side by side on a piano. On a deeper level, the song is about harmony amongst different people.
16.05.2022 // One Year Olds
A first anniversary is always the most special one. Whether it’s marking a child’s first birthday, a couple’s first year or 12 months into a new job, home, or country.
13.05.2022 // The Wonder Years
Our teenage years are full of memories of growing independence. As we mature from children into young adults we have desires and hopes and are increasingly wilful and determined to make decisions for ourselves. Whether it’s Kevin Arnold in TV sitcom “The Wonder Years” or Sue Townsend’s 13- & 3/4-year-old Adrian Mole, it’s themes of adolescence and teenage growth that are consistent. In teenage years we also taste new freedoms (for better or worse) as TV dramas like Skins show only too well.
09.05.2022 // The Early Years
Following on from the “Joy of a new born” blog in which I likened the acquisition of a new company to becoming a new parent, I was reflecting on how these parallels seem to continue as a new born becomes a young child.
15.04.2022 // Heal the world
This year, we have the festivals of Easter, Passover and Vaisakhi coinciding with Ramadan. At a time when Europe is watching a war unfold on its eastern border, this presents the perfect opportunity to share a universal message:
13.04.2022 // Love is in the air
The theme of love is one of the most prevalent in literature, music, theatre and film. From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to The Beatles‘ Love Me Do and from West Side Story to Breakfast At Tiffany’s, love is a central theme that drives the action.
08.04.2022 // The joy of a newborn
For parents, there is no experience quite like the birth of a child and bringing that newborn home to start out life together. The early days are tiring as everyone adjusts to a new routine. There are sleepless nights and tears but also smiles and laughter. A new name is given and an array of new belongings are acquired to assist with meeting new responsibilities. Friends and family offer practical and emotional support. Gradually the enormity of the experience begins to diminish and life settles down and growth brings its own reward.
15.03.2022 // Aftershock
In the aftermath of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, there are aftershocks which can cause huge destruction. Whether it’s a landslide, flooding, a tsunami or tidal wave, there is often sadly a huge impact on those that are affected.
10.03.2022 // What goes up must come down
The media loves a good news story and what better in business news than an initial public offering (an IPO). There’s typically the character arc of an entrepreneur that spotted an opportunity, scaled up, secured financial backing and achieved the dream of listing the shares in their company. Accompanying this is a photo of the directors and their advisers smiling as they ring the opening bell at The London Stock Exchange. The valuation of the listed company is typically referenced in the news alongside the monies that have been raised but the basis of valuation is often not reported. Fund managers have been courted over many weeks of investor roadshows and this has underpinned the IPO’s pricing.
07.03.2022 // Stand up and be counted
One of the only positive news stories in recent days has been the widespread response to the crisis in Ukraine. Whilst we are well used to charitable organisations launching funding appeals, religious leaders offering prayers for peace and neighbouring countries providing support and sanctuary to the vulnerable, what has been remarkable is the coordinated action governments and businesses have actively taken.
03.03.2022 // Stick and Carrot
Few can watch events unfolding in Ukraine without feeling compassion. There’s already a humanitarian crisis, a tide of migration and a devastating destruction of human life, society and property. The political, economic and social impact of this war will take many years to right.
22.02.2022 // Shuttle Diplomacy
Periodically, we are sadly confronted with an international incident that poses a real threat to global stability and requires intense diplomacy to avoid escalation. Conflict should always be the last resort, with the cost of war invariably being felt by every life that crosses its path. Yet war is a mechanism as old as time for powerful people to “create a desert and call it peace”.
15.02.2022 // It’s as easy as riding a bike
Debate is currently raging between those who are for and those who are against the UK Government removing the final Covid-19 restrictions.
03.02.2022 // Fasten Your Seatbelts
The new year has brought a renewed drive to return to past practices of which travel is a high priority. As a pan-European investor, being largely grounded in the UK for the past two years has been frustrating. The re-opening of national borders and return of face-to-face meetings is long overdue and I came to reflect on this on a recent journey.
13.01.2022 // Add-ons add up
It is the dream of many people to get onto the property ladder. Once they have secured their “des res”, plans turn to DIY and projects involving a new kitchen, bathroom, windows or doors. As budgets and ambitions grow, plans are stepped up to bigger projects such as building extensions and loft conversions.
20.12.2021 // House Of Cards
Michael Dobson’s 1980s political novel House of Cards took on a new lease of life with its transfer from Westminster to Washington by Netflix. Whilst names, places and accents were changed, the fundamentals of the plot remained. Francis, the lead character, was a Machiavellian power-seeking politician who operated in a world of leaks, blackmail, briefings against colleagues, secret recordings and even murder.
14.12.2021 // A Christmas Carol
The famous Charles Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol” has been immortalised for each generation by numerous films with Ebenezer Scrooge depicted by greats including Albert Finney, Bill Murray and Michael Caine. It is the perfect film to watch each Christmas as the audience are invited to see the transformation of its protagonist from a hard-nosed businessman into a convivial philanthropist! Despite the many years that have passed since its publication in 1843, there are important lessons that the Private Equity industry can draw on from the three spirits that seek to convince Scrooge to reform:
09.12.2021 // Greek Tragedy
A Greek tragedy has a clear structure with a prologue, parados, three sections with a series of chorus interludes followed by the finale (the “exodus”) and was conveyed to us by Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles
19.11.2021 // First Mover Advantage
In the aftermath of Cop26, all media channels seem to have been awash with companies advertising their sustainability credentials. Full page ads in our newspapers, campaigns across the TV multiplex, billboards nationwide and digital channels all evidence of the “greenwashing” we are being exposed to. Whilst this may just be virtue signalling by ‘Corporate Britain’, it evidences a battle for the hearts and minds of the ‘Ethical Consumer’.
16.11.2021 // Up or out
During my history studies at university, I was encouraged to look for patterns in past events and to doubt that there were coincidences. Now 25 years on, and as a private equity investor, I was fascinated by last week’s news from corporates in Asia, the USA and the UK of a hat-trick of corporate carve-outs and another of corporate break-ups: