Monday 23 October 2017

The Punt: From the bedroom to the boardroom

'Nothing will ever top the shots of Chinese president Xi Jinping batting a sliotar tennis-style on the hallowed Croke Park turf.' Photo: Maxwells Dublin/Irish Government Pool
'Nothing will ever top the shots of Chinese president Xi Jinping batting a sliotar tennis-style on the hallowed Croke Park turf.' Photo: Maxwells Dublin/Irish Government Pool

The Punt attended a symposium on the future of local newspapers in Croke Park on Thursday, at which the keynote speaker was Warren Buffett lieutenant Terry Kroeger.

Kroeger is president and chief executive of BH Media - a subsidiary of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group - which owns a slew of US local newspapers.

He gave an interesting speech about monetising content and the like, but the Punt's highlight was the rather blue joke he opened with.

Kroeger had been doing some reading you see, and had apparently come across a Harvard study that showed public speaking skills were dramatically increased if a speaker had sex in the 24 hours preceding a speech.

"Energised by these findings, I immediately shared them with my wife Jackie, who read the article, handed it back to me and said: 'Well, do the best you can'."

After the event Kroeger posed for the obligatory 'foreigner holding hurley' photograph.

But nothing will ever top the shots of Chinese president Xi Jinping batting a sliotar tennis-style on the hallowed turf.

 

Newsflash: Boring Canucks

The Punt notes that a rather endearing Canadian investment firm called Mawer Capital has taken a 3pc stake in Origin. Apart from Aryzta with its 68.1pc stake, Mawer is the only investor with a notifiable interest more than 3pc.

Mawer is a firm with the trademarked tagline, "Be Boring. Make Money."

The Punt reckons that's not a bad description of Origin either.

The Irish company's shares are up 17pc in the past 12 months; a good steady performance.

Mawer's philosophy is to invest in "wealth-creating companies, with excellent management teams, bought at discounts to their intrinsic values".

The company was set up 40 years ago in western Canada by Chuck Mawer to invest in Canadian equities and bonds for Calgary-based private clients and foundations.

It waited until 1981 before investing in international equities but still managed to build up $26bn in assets by 2014.

Despite further success, it remains independent and is owned by 37 of the 115 individuals who work at the firm.

Things appear to be going well for the company; it was named Analysts' Choice Fund Company of the Year for the second year in a row at the Morningstar Awards in 2014.

Origin seems to be in good company.

 

Daddy's the talk of Brussels

Greece's new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, was back in Athens yesterday after a raft of meetings involving senior European figures, including European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

The minister was photographed in the chamber of the Greek parliament, seated and clutching his phone in one shot and sporting an axious expression, and in another, leaning against the doorway deep in conversation.

The photos were published and tweeted by a reporter in The Guardian' newspaper, mulling who he might be talking to, as news was confirmed of an emergency Eurogroup meeting next week.

It turns out, he was chatting to his daughter.

And the confirmation came from the man himself. He tweeted a reply to 'The Guardian' reporter, Graeme Wearden.

"Since you are asking: to my daughter! (My worst critic)," Mr Varoufakis tweeted.

Agree with his politics or not, it's hard not to like the man.

Irish Independent

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