Investment barons across the City are already looking forward to Jewish charity Norwood’s annual private equity dinner in June, as ex-Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has just been named the headline act.
King, who left his chief exec position at the supermarket in 2014, will be the guest speaker at the dinner, this year sponsored by Investec, and will be offering pearls of wisdom to some 300 private equity gurus.
The former Sainsbury’s chief is no stranger to the struggles of working in private equity. He was given a senior role at buyout boss Guy Hands’ firm Terra Firma last September.
Hands set up the private equity firm in 1994,which is best known for its doomed £2.4bn purchase of record label EMI in 2007.
In fact, Terra Firma has still been struggling with the damage done to the record label years later. Last month the firm received help from Goldman Sachs when it offered to buy second-hand stakes in Terra Firma’s buyout fund, offering investors an early way out of their investments.
It doesn’t stop there. Last year Hands had to deny that hedge funds were circling around Terra Firma’s beleaguered care home provider Four Seasons, after it reported mounting debts and losses of £26m over the summer.
King will take pride of place at the charity fundraiser in June. Last year’s event raised £135,000 for charity, partly through a raffle with prizes including tickets to the X-Factor semi-finals, and a signed Chelsea shirt.
No confirmation on prizes this year, but a spokesperson says he’s sure they’ll be “pretty tempting and break last year’s record!”
Not stakes in EMI, then.