Vallares shows the art of the possible

David Hellier
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IN A MARKET for corporate deals as dead as this one, there are plenty of investment bankers sitting on their hands, not knowing where the next IPO, merger or rights issue is coming from.

But not the ones, like Goldman’s Mark Sorrell and JP Morgan’s Ian Hannam, who work for Nat Rothschild, Julian Metherell and former BP chief executive Tony Hayward.

This triumvirate of men, who recently formed a blank cheque company called Vallares, don’t seem to be living in the same universe as the rest of us. Not for them, it seems, the worries over the Eurozone, the volatility index or bank defaults.

How to explain the extraordinary ease with which these men have charmed the markets? One senior corporate financier said: “It’s all about their track records. Rothschild has a very wide fan club and he’s done well so far with his other blank cheque company Bumi. Metherell’s a skilled operator from Goldman and Hayward may have lost his position at BP due to some unfortunate PR gaffes but he was very well thought of both inside the company and within the oil industry. The market will know that he can get deals done that other people just can not.”

The personalities behind the $2bn oil merger announced yesterday are certainly key to the deal. But there are other examples of resource-based companies beating the malaise; such as Ophir Energy, an Africa-focused group, which is moving up to the FTSE 250 following its recent IPO. Resources sector is good and personalities are good too. The two combined are unbeatable.