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This is why business leaders are reviled

If you behave like this, you deserve to be cursed, reviled, and generally hated. Unfortunately many business leaders are exactly like this, which is why a business tycoon is considered by society as a figure to be loathed. The "this" I refer to is Stephen Elop, Chairman of Nokia being entitled to a $25m payout for the the sale of Nokia's handset business to Microsoft.
Nokia, as everybody knows, has been in dire straits for quite some time. In 2010, the Board fired its existing Finnish leaders and brought Stephen Elop, from Microsoft, as the CEO to "rescue" Nokia. Elop abandoned Nokia's operating system Symbian and tied its fortunes to Microsoft by adopting the Windows platform. It did not work and Nokia has continued to slide. During Mr Elop's tenure, Nokia's market capitalisation fell  by $ 14 bn - that's the amount Nokia's shareholders have lost. Finally Nokia has decided to sell its handest business to Microsoft for under $ 10 bn.

Who has jurisdiction over me ?

The principle of jurisdiction is a basic tenet in law. Jurisdiction refers to the  law, the court, the authority that is applicable to you . You are then required to follow that law and be subject to  oversight by that authority and that court. In the good old days, jurisdiction was simple - where you were decided who had jurisdiction over you.  I live in India and so the laws of India apply to me. The government of India is the authority that has jurisdiction over me and the courts in India  are the forum I can go to. Simple.
As the world started to globalise, the issue of jurisdiction started to become more complicated. If I did a commercial transaction with say an Australian company - who would have jurisdiction ?  Australia ? India ? That is why in contracts involving multiple countries it is always stated which law would apply and which courts would have jurisdiction. But physical presence or assets always enables that country to have jurisdiction . Although I am an Indian citizen…

When you pay to sell a business

Mergers & Acquisitions are often the glamorous side of business. CEOs love  them - you go through the excitement of doing a deal, get on to the papers and TV, become famous etc etc. Most of the haggling on the deal is on the price - how much the buyer is willing to pay the seller. But how about a M&A transaction where the seller has to pay the buyer in order for the buyer to buy the business !! Fanciful ? Well, that's exactly what has happened with the sale of Fresh & Easy by Tesco to Ron Burkle.
Tesco is an UK based grocery retail giant; it is the third largest retailer in the world. From the UK, where it is a household name, it has expanded in Europe and Asia. But in the US, the largest retail market in the world, Tesco was non existent. In 2006, it decided to foray in to the US with the branding  of Fresh & Easy - in small store grocery format, primarily in the Western states. It never took off and Tesco faced mounting losses despite opening some 200 stores. Its …

From Draught to Craft

This blogger is not a beer drinker.. He is therefore completely ignorant of the niceties of beer and therefore eminently qualified to comment on developments in the beer industry.
In many countries in the world, people, especially men, gulp down enormous quantities of beer. Most of it is mass produced by the beer giants of the world - Diageo, Anheuser Busch, SAB Miller, Heineken and the like, including our own home grown United Breweries. Bottled or canned beer is by far the largest selling channel for beer - the one that keeps afloat the likes of Diageo, et al. But nuanced beer drinkers consider this somewhat of a travesty in beer drinking - apparently they have no taste. Hence the onset of draught beer which is served out of cask or a keg. Go to a pub  and barmaid will pour out a pint of draught, topped with a nice head. This blogger has a partiality to buying rounds for whoever he is with - not to taste the subtleties of the draught but to ogle at the barmaid - who is invariably pre…

The Business September 4, 2013: Windy City Of Angels Edition

This week, The Business welcomes four, count 'em, four great guests. Two hail from the greater Bay Area, and two come from Los Angeles, though by way of very different places. Fight your post-Burning Man depression, or continue your Bay Bridge jubilation this Wednesday with all your pals at The Biz.


We have Brandie Posey and Brendan McGowan. Ms. Posey is a standup comedian, podcaster, and karaoke jockey extraordinaire. She's originally from Annapolis, Maryland, but lives in LA, where she does her podcast Lady to Lady, which also has a live show at the prestigious UCB Theatre. She also once played Brody Jenner's sister on MTV's Bromance.

(Twitter: @Brandazzle)

Brendan McGowan is a standup comedian and the walking embodiment of the city of Chicago. He's a audience butcher, joke maker, stacker of premises, player with language, and the nation's freight handler. His comedy is stormy, husky, and brawling - truly, he's witty, with big sh…

The pressures of being a business leader

On hindsight, the surprise is that it hasn't happened more often. Last week Pierre Wauthier, the Chief Financial Officer of Zurich Insurance, tragically committed suicide. This starkly illustrates the unbelievable pressures top business executives function under.
Zurich Insurance is one of the top insurance companies in the world. Recently, it has been going through a bad patch, although by no means disastrous. The CFO is often the one required to stand up before investors to explain results and is invariably the target of criticism and calls to be sacked. The circumstances behind Mr Wauthier's unfortunate demise are not fully clear, but it is inconceivable that work pressures did not play a part. His widow has certainly hinted that Josef Ackermann, the Chairman of Zurich bore some responsibility. Ackermann denied any such thing but promptly resigned as Chairman.
Only a certain breed of individuals reach the top of the business world. A masochist streak, politely termed as "…

My Stock Portfolio @ end August 2013

No. Stock Name Lots Portfolio% Avg Cost$ Breakeven$ Market$ 1Starhub520.843.222.874.202SPH415.603.983.503.933SGX214.432.680.977.274CapitaLand26.053.913.693.055CapitaMall Trust35.541.711.221.866CDL HTrust34.641.661.161.567Starhill Global64.560.710.570.7658Suntec Reit34.531.521.181.529SingTel1. AMPI Reit22.871.6351.661.44512HPH Trust32.750.900.880.74513FE Orchard11.861.180.881.87514CapitaMalls Asia11.782.122.061.79515Frasers CT11.781.791.851.7916CitySpring31.350.650.480.45517Boustead11.301.441.501.30518Sing Post11.240.8750.691.24519SPH Reit10.950.900.930.95520FE HTrust10.860.930.930.87Movement in my portfolio in August:-
Sold:- Nil
Bought:- Frasers CT.

Dividends collected in August: $1,503.17
2013 avg dividends/month: $466.59

August was a milestone month for me.  This was the first time that my dividends harvest exceeded $1,500 in a single month.