Reviews Of Corporate Failures

Is Morrisons property portfolio really worth £9bn?

Is Morrisons property portfolio really worth £9bn?

“Fears over Morrisons estate being sold on cheap…The shops, warehouses and factories owned by Wm Morrisons could be worth almost £9 billion – double the value the supermarket chain believes they are worth, raising concerns that a buyout firm could seize the assets on the cheap.” – Times 7 July 2021 So what is the value of Morrisons property portfolio and should this inflate the price that bidders pay for the company? Morrisons balance sheet...

Corporate failures: Education,not more regulation

Corporate failures: Education,not more regulation

How do we improve corporate performance and avoid more corporate failures? The government is clear: We need more regulation. ‘Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance’ is the promise of the current white paper, whose consultation period ends on 8 July. It’s an extensive list of some 90 new regulations; ranging from mandating joint audits, new company disclosures, increased director accountability to stretching regulation to many more...

Sir Ken Morrison – his legacy and private equity

Sir Ken Morrison – his legacy and private equity

There is a lot of discussion at the moment about the legacy of Sir Ken Morrison and whether would have approved of a private equity bid for his company. I got to know Sir Ken during his protracted takeover of Safeway (where I was CFO), so it is worth revisiting his legacy. Sir Ken's career is sometimes viewed as 50 years of success, until at 73 he led the 2004 Safeway acquisition followed by four difficult years until retirement. He built up a...

Carillion – What can we learn?

Carillion – What can we learn?

The collapse of Carillion was a tragedy, especially for its 45,000 employees and 25,000 pensioners. In an earlier article, I looked at its last Annual Report to see if there had been clues that could have tipped readers off to the impending catastrophe. Since then, we have had Select Committee hearings and their January 2018 turnaround Business Plan has been released. This now gives quite a bit more colour to understand better what happened and...

Carillion – a salutary reminder on due diligence

Carillion – a salutary reminder on due diligence

Carillion has entered the pantheon of cursed companies following its recent failure. Politicians and the media have worked themselves in another fit of righteous indignation about greedy management and incompetent boards. The search is out for people to blame, shame and even prosecute. Regulators, sensing the flow of the political wind, are climbing on the bandwagon and looking for blood. Non-executive directors are reasonably enough feeling...

Escape from the Rock

Escape from the Rock

I gave a nervous laugh. The headhunter asked me if I would like my first non-executive director role, joining the board of Northern Rock. It was October 2007, a few weeks since the first run on a UK bank for 150 years. Struck by an uncharacteristic sense of adventure, I did indeed agree to serve on the Northern Rock board for the next year, becoming Chair of the Audit Committee, through the various bids, nationalisation and the rebuilding of...