HERE’S betting that the key players in the downfall and rescue of the US banking system never believed they’d have it so good.
After countless sleepless nights and stress-soaked days, it’s probably fair to say that policymakers and bank bosses weren’t looking their best when they emerged, battered and bruised, on the other side of the $700bn US bailout programme.
Not that any of that matters to the people of Hollywood, of course – and nor does it matter to Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of the best-seller “Too Big To Fail”.
Sorkin was on CNBC earlier in the week talking about the book, to which HBO recently snapped up the rights with a view to squeezing it for its full box-office worth, and it seems he’s got big plans for the casting of his characters on the silver screen.
Grey-haired heartthrobs Richard Gere and George Clooney are both on his wishlist to play JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon, while Fed boss Ben Bernanke could get The West Wing’s Richard Schiff, Deutsche Bank’s Erin Callan might land Holly Hunter – and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, the lucky devil, is even being lined up for the debonair Hugh Grant himself.
Trivia snippet of the week, courtesy of a keen-eyed reader following the budding election campaign with interest.
“If I told you that parliamentary elections are due to take place within the next few weeks and that the current socialist government is led by a man called Gordon who’s not expected to retain power, you’d assume I was talking about the UK, wouldn’t you?” he asks, before going on to explain that the exact same situation is also going on in Hungary right now.
“Hungary’s government is a caretaker minority socialist (MSZP) cabinet headed by ex-finance minister Gordon Bajnai,” our scribe continues. “Which is bizarre, given that you could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of Hungarians called Gordon…”
Family privilege clearly doesn’t curry too much favour over at Investec, headed by managing director Bernard Kantor.
Kantor’s brother David has been at the firm ever since it was founded 30 years ago, latterly as head of its fixed income derivatives operations. But I hear that during a review of the business, the division was judged to have capital requirements in excess of Investec’s policy – leading David to leave the bank and start up on his own. Still, given the successful family history, one imagines his fledgling Kinetic Derivatives business will definitely be a story to keep an eye on in the future.
Hats off to the New York Post for a capital little yarn about the couple who bought Ponzi fraudster Bernie Madoff’s Upper East Side penthouse – for around $8m, a fair bit under the original $9.9m asking price.
The buyers were Al Kahn, who made his fortune with a toy empire that included Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and Pokemon, and his wife Patsy – who’s unruffled by the history attached to the property.
“He was worried about the karma, but I just loved the terrace,” Patsy told the Post, matter-of-factly.
KINGS OF PR
A coup indeed for former Brunswick spinners-turned-entrepreneurs Michael Webster and Alex Northcott, who founded the PR and journalist information site Gorkana five years ago. Champagne was flowing yesterday after the pair sold off their venture to press cuttings business Durrants – owned by private equity firm Exponent – for a cool £25m, netting them multi-million pound windfalls.
Webster and Northcott have vowed to remain at the company, which was named after the Gurkha sergeant who saved Northcott’s life in Borneo.
Bookie Paddy Power is at it again with an expensive gamble, spurred on by the success of its £4.1m jaunt at Cheltenham, when it offered money back on all losing bets if favourite Dunguib romped home the winner (he didn’t).
This time, Paddy’s sights are set on the Aintree Grand National, and it’s promising to buy everyone in Liverpool a free pint if Irish jockey A.P. McCoy rides his mount Don’t Push It to victory on Saturday. A perilous gamble indeed, given the Scousers’ well-documented love of lager.
City connoisseurs with a taste for rich Scottish fare might want to put next Thursday 15 April down in the diary for a trip to Boisdale.
The restaurant, which has branches on Bishopsgate and in Belgravia, is hosting a dinner for Boisdale members and guests, with beef, black truffles and 16 year Lagavulin whisky – completely for free.
Owner Ranald Macdonald hasn’t gone batty – the event marks the 264th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, in which his forefathers fought for the Jacobites. Bon appetit.