Returning to work this year has been far from easy. Freezing temperatures in Florida kept your Blogger away from the Orlando water rides and then a return to the UK to snow and even colder temperatures. Why Florida? Off to research one of the case companies for my new book on Strategic Financial Analysis (my publisher likes books with the word 'strategic' in the title - apparently they sell better). Of course Florida is the home of Mickey, Donald and all the gang and Walt Disney World which sells happiness to millions of kids (of all ages) every year. Disney is an iconic US company and a great example of a business which keeps on developing - its good for demonstrating core lessons in analysis and valuation and will join my two other great companies: Rolls Royce and Glaxo. However, I hasten to say that my tax adviser – who can have a terrible mean streak – would not let me claim my two weeks ‘research’ costs as a taxable expense.
Returning to work also meant facing the large piles of marking, dissertation reading and managing the long list of emails from irate administrators, unhappy managers, happy clients (I only have happy ones) and vendors of various medicines and surgical procedures that I neither need nor want. But seriously - is the world more productive with the invention of email? I have my doubts. One thing that the learned profs at UEA forgot is that once that send button is tapped their correspondence is indelibly imbedded in 'n' servers ready to resurface and cause maximum embarrassment at the most inconvenient time. A printed memo will never survive a confrontation with a match – an email will survive an encounter with a large nuclear device. So, my new year’s resolution? Send more letters, put more memos in pigeon holes and when sending emails forget the cc button.
Finally, today I read that Kraft have made a bid for Cadbury’s which has been accepted by the board. This would appear to be a highly leveraged transaction and one with some very interesting risk implications. First job once marking is done is to see whether the bid, in excess of £11 billion, is likely to be destructive to the value of Kraft equity. Watch this space.
And now for something quite spectacular: