GOLF RETURNS TO THE BOARDROOM AS CITY FIRM TEES UP TENANTS

PLAYING golf in the office has gone the same way as four-hour lunches and six-figure bonuses in the austerity City. Or has it?

Teeing up deals on the putting green will be business as usual at the new City offices run by serviced office provider Co-Work, which is looking for 101 tenants for its latest (mini) golf course-equipped opening near Mansion House. “We are big fans of greenery,” co-founder Matt Guild tells me. “So we wanted to bring a bit of the outside inside without going down the pot plant route.”

Those with long City memories will remember the office at 33 Queen Street as the site of stockbroker Wills & Co, which made a sharp exit in February 2010 after the FSA took a keen interest in its “misleading” sales practices.

In November 2011, the 8,000 sq ft site – two floors below City A.M.’s HQ – passed into the hands of Guild and ex-Morgan Stanley banker Tom Kuhn, who set up Co-Work, a subsidiary of Lenta Business Centres, after discovering there was “a real lack of quality office space for small companies”.

The pair hope the premises’ informal meeting rooms, private offices and call pods for private phonecalls – “and the occasional Friday afternoon sleep” – will attract City entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-ups to the shared open-plan space.

“It is not just somewhere to work,” said Guild. “We hope it will become a community of like-minded people.” All-inclusive rents, if you’re interested, are £649 per month per desk – and not a spider plant to be seen.

NORTHERN ROCK
FTSE 100 SECURITY giant G4S may be licking its wounds after the collapse of its £5.2m merger with Danish cleaning firm ISS.

But expansion continues at its subsidiary G4S Risk Management, which is stretching its tentacles into Libya to help rebuild the war-torn country’s economy and infrastructure.

A G4S consultant has been talking to the country’s construction and oil and gas firms for several months, and former British ambassador to Libya Richard Northern has been brought in as a senior adviser. Further resources will be deployed “as and when clients need it”, adds G4S, which is considering establishing a full-time Libyan office.

MEXICAN WAVE
ON THE subject of overseas expansion, Chipotle, the New York-listed Mexican chain backed by McDonald’s, continues its march into the UK.

The group’s third opening in London, hears The Capitalist, will be on the ground floor and basement at 92/3 St Martin’s Lane in Covent Garden, where Chipotle has paid a premium of £350,000 to oust the previous tenant St Martin’s Spice.

The 25-year lease on the 2,500 sq ft site, at a rent of £140,000 per annum, was negotiated by property agents Shelley Sandzer, who acted on behalf of landlords Gascoyne Holdings.

“Chipotle’s brand of classic Mexican cooking methods is set to become a big hit in the capital this year,” predicts Shelley Sandzer’s Nick Weir.

FAMILY FORTUNES
LAST October, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie told a Leveson seminar examining press ethics that the Leveson inquiry was a “bad idea”.

But there he was on the witness stand yesterday, telling Lord Justice Leveson how he used to speak to Rupert Murdoch almost every day – memorably when the media mogul gave MacKenzie 40 minutes of “non-stop abuse” when The Sun had to pay out £1m in libel damages to Sir Elton John.

Further details of life with the Murdochs, meanwhile, emerged from Rupert Murdoch’s biographer Michael Wolff, who lays the blame for the phone hacking scandal at the feet of Murdoch’s “chameleon-like” heir James Murdoch. “At the heart of the hacking scandal is James’ support of David Cameron, who he saw as a kind of post-ideological figure,” writes Wolff in next month’s issue of GQ.

“Hence, in an effort to court Rupert’s favour, there was the deal, brokered by Rebekah Brooks, to have Cameron hire News Corp loyalist and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson – which, arguably, turned the spotlight on the whole hacking affair.”

UNCLE BULGARIA
PETKO Karamotchev (below) doesn’t see Made in Chelsea entrepreneur Francis Boulle as a competitor.

He just contacted The Capitalist from Bulgaria to let it be known that his investment network Merar.com operates in “different markets” from Boulle’s investment platform Fundmine, as covered in this column on 16 November. “I don’t see Francis as a rival, but we will be interested to see Fundmine’s effect in the UK,” says the founder of the “international information broker” that matchmakes investors and entrepreneurs.

Karamotchev, just so you are up to speed, has 1,300 investments projects on the go, focusing in “markets with growth” such as India, China and Africa. Later this month, he will launch escrow accounts, data room software and copyright services.