POKER FACE BY BANKERS AS RANK IS DEALT BID

TALK about raising the stakes. Just days after Rank Group held its annual poker tournament, the company’s largest investor Guoco Group raised its holding to 40.8 per cent, triggering a mandatory offer for the gaming business.

Strangely, Quek Leng Chan, the Malaysian billionaire who controls Guoco, was nowhere to be seen as the cards played out between more than 100 fund managers, analysts and Rank’s senior management, including chief executive Ian Burke, finance director Paddy Gallaher and Phil Urban, head of Rank’s casinos business.

So it was left to Nick Edelman, a gaming analyst at Rank’s financial adviser Goldman Sachs, to bluff his way to raising the winner’s trophy after beating Threadneedle Asset Management’s Adam Barnes into second place.

However, Edelman could have had no idea the bid announcement was on the cards as he cashed in his charity chips, insists a spokesperson for Rank, because – as is legally required at every investment bank – Goldman’s analysts sit on “the other side of the Chinese wall” from the advisory team. A Malaysian wall, surely?

MAXIMUM POWER
VINCE Power (right) may have made a tidy profit when he sold his controlling stake in music festivals empire Mean Fiddler for £38m in 2005.

However, it seems the music mogul is missing the limelight, as Michael Gelardi, a partner in Power’s new venture Music Festivals, reports the businessman is gearing up to reclaim his crown as “the king of music festivals” by snapping up a string of live events to make the company a £100m business within ten years.

Gelardi revealed Power’s shopping list includes the notorious Serbian event Exit, as well as a well-known UK festival, to add to Music Festivals’ current portfolio of Benicassim in Spain and Kent festival The Hop Farm.

The planned shopping spree comes as Power prepares to float Music Festivals on AIM in the next three weeks. But the IPO is not a foregone conclusion, says Gelardi – it is dependent on “ideally” raising £10m before the float, which will be used to buy out minority shareholders and fund the company’s ambitious growth plans. Based on previous form, The Capitalist’s money is on Power meeting that deadline.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT
THEY say a picture tells a thousand words. So look very closely at this painting (top right) by Scottish artist Jack Vettriano, as it holds the secret to the only remaining video of Kate Middleton modelling in the St Andrews fashion show that won her Prince William’s heart.

The man sitting in the bath is a former St Andrews student who filmed the video of Kate parading down the catwalk; the girl on the left is a fellow student who appeared alongside the future queen in the show.

Both were later painted by Vettriano, who was the patron of the infamous “Don’t Walk” charity fashion event in March 2002 – and a source told The Capitalist that the girl in the painting is now a client of South Lanarkshire-based law firm Nicholas J Scullion & Co.

So where is the missing video? “Not too far from Glasgow,” said the source, who added that his client has so far refused to sell at any price, even though the BBC has reportedly offered a life-changing £20,000.

Post-wedding, that figure is sure to have rocketed to a six-figure sum, so expect to see a BBC show based on the unseen footage before the year is out. Everyone has their price, after all…

REAL-TIME MARKETS
CNBC has this morning unveiled a video wall incorporating a globe that provides a live update on every global market.

The wall is part of the upgraded studio facilities at CNBC’s European HQ in London, following the launch of its new studio at the Singapore Stock Exchange, and it promises to cut through the noise to deliver “the most imperative analysis”.

“We have created a state-of-the-art environment totally geared to telling compelling stories about business and the global economy in real time,” says the broadcaster’s John Casey.