Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Article excerpt

WHAT can Marks & Spencer staff expect from Philip Green? In May 1990, Gerald and Vera Weisfeld sold their chain of Scottish discount stores, called What Everyone Wants, to Green in return for cash and shares in his Amber Day company, plus seats on his board. They gave an undertaking not to dispose of their shares until December 1992 but after a row with Green begged to sell them sooner. They left in February 1991 - almost two years early. Green was unapologetic, accusing their business of being "set in its ways", adding ominously, "I had to make it sweat-"

AS Green's new best friend, Lord Stevenson, the chairman of HBOS and Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, searches for a chairman for the retailer's Revival Acquisitions bid vehicle, help comes from an unexpected quarter.

Stevenson may wish to furnish candidates with a copy of the 1992 Department of Trade and Industry report into the Blue Arrow affair. Presumably, Stevenson is familiar with its 457 pages since he was the Blue Arrow director who blew the whistle on the activities of the firm's founder, Tony Berry.

City Spy has already reported how Green was the recipient of a [pounds sterling]300,000 unsecured loan from Blue Arrow so there's no point in going over that section of the report, but there's another reference to the would-be M&S owner. In 1988, Berry was buying shares in Tottenham Hotspur. He didn't have enough cash himself so fellow Spurs fan Green arranged for his company, Amber Day, to provide a [pounds sterling]275,000 banker's draft to cover the shortfall. Green told the DTI inspectors that Amber Day had bought the Spurs shares and subsequently sold them on to Berry. Quite what a modest fashion business was doing buying shares in a football club was a mystery. When Stevenson interviews candidates, he ought at the very least to be warning them to "expect the unexpected" from Green. …

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