Monday, May 16, 2011

Beware the Rush to Go Public

     Today's rumors that Facebook is rushing to IPO are not surprising given that LinkedIn does so on Thursday. These are two of the biggest scams I have seen since the bubble pre-2001. Airware is what we used to call it when a company has little that is tangible to offer. But the public is familiar with what Facebook and LinkedIn do at least, so let the buyer beware.
     Would that this were true with prospective investors in Glencore, the company born of Marc Rich and Clarendon (anyone remember that name?).Glencore is now wrapped up in a  package that has pretty pictures of mining and metals all over it, but under the gift wrap it remains a speculative commodities trading company. The deals that it makes in some of the dodgiest regimes will be - ahem - difficult to achieve when it is under the public microscope. It therefore has to be said that making money for Glencore will be more of a challenge going forward. A trader tells me that he knew Glencore was serious about floating when it suddenly had a shiny new website. Previously, Glencore's website had a couple of office addresses and generic phone numbers.
     So, what are we to make of Vitol's fancy new website? Last year when I was looking for a media relations contact there was nothing more than a phone number on the site, along with a couple of sentences describing Vitol as one of the world's largest oil trading companies. Now it has chapter and verse of what it does, along with THREE media contacts. Hmmm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Goodbye Osama Bin Laden and Good Riddance

I rarely talk about 9/11 - unlike some people who somehow can't seem to get enough of reliving the horror. Today, however, I will say goodbye and good riddance to Osama Bin Laden. I lost 17 friends and colleagues and dozens of industry contacts at the Risk Waters technology conference in Windows on the World that day. Bin Laden's death will come as a relief to Neil and Dinah and David and Simon's families, but it won't bring them back. Sick freaks who carry out attacks such as 9/11 in the name of religion or politics or whatever the cause deserve justice. Today we can feel that a little bit at least has been served.