CAUDWELL FLIES FROM BULLIES TO BILLIONS

HOPE FOR everyone who had a miserable time at school – it might not stop you becoming as successful as John Caudwell, the freckle-faced Phones4U founder who rose from his “dog eat dog” start to become a self-made telecoms billionaire.

“My childhood was a permanent challenge,” said the once-bullied tycoon. “On my very first day in junior school huddling into an alcove to get out of the rain, all of a sudden there’s this bang straight in my eye and the guy in front smacked me in the face.”

Caudwell launched his mobile phone empire aged 34 by buying 26 brick-sized handsets from Motorola to found Midland Mobile Phones. “I ended up thinking, why wouldn’t mobile phones be exactly the same [as landlines]?” he reminisced. “I came to the conclusion they most definitely would, it was only a matter of when.”

So much for the past, as revealed in an interview with Tania Bryer for CNBC, to be broadcast tomorrow night; what does the future hold? Three main investments: a marine propulsion manufacturer, a jet flying firm and the Broadway show Chaplin – the music, says Caudwell, is “fabulous”.

THE LINKS EFFECT
PATRICK Claridge has been busy teeing up the perfect deal.
Not only did the chief executive of Merchant Securities receive a 91 per cent premium to the firm’s recent share price in yesterday’s all-cash takeover by South African banking giant Sanlam.

The keen golfer, no stranger to the fairways near his Epping home, has also secured a new way to improve his handicap of eight, as Sanlam is the biggest sponsor of amateur golf in South Africa through its Sanlam Cancer Challenge, the tournament backed by the world’s former number one Ernie Els.

“The takeover suits both parties,” a stockbroking mole told The Capitalist when news of the deal broke. And now you know the real reason why…

DWINDLING ASSETS
TIME WOULD be running out if everyone used as many of the earth’s resources as Daniel Broby, the well-travelled chief investment officer of Silk Invest who has a consumption pattern of “five-and-a-half times” the global average.

“But I do have a 15-acre orchard to offset my carbon footprint,” said Broby as he sped away (by train) to a client meeting in Reigate following a City debate on whether capital markets should overhaul their green agenda.

Broby was billed as the “heartless City type” against Alice Chapple of Forum for the Future, who told 45 of the City’s old guard why the investment community should reposition itself to create a sustainable global economy.

“It was a tough crowd,” said Broby on the wine-fuelled Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation event. “Almost everyone agreed on the fundamental principles – that the world is on an unsustainable path – just not on how to get there.”

CHILEAN MINOR
THE X Factor may be struggling in the ratings in this country, but not so in Chile, where the format’s vast popularity has catapulted contestant Charlie Bick, the son of Square1 Consulting chairman David Bick, to fame as an act on the TV show Calle 7.

As The Capitalist was the first to reveal back in April, the former choirboy is generating an army of female South American fans. Time for Bick senior, who flew to Santiago last night, to check up on his offspring then – although what he doesn’t know is that his son is planning to make him an “entertainment” on his show…