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A couple of City tidbits

There were two stories in yesterday’s news that caught my eye.

The first has been bubbling for a while, but came to a conclusion yesterday, with HSBC repurchasing their London Head Office Building back from the man they sold it to a year ago.

April 2007, the Spanish firm Metrovacesa paid £1.09 billion ($1.6 billion) to buy the offices and lease them back to the bank.  That price made HSBC’s offices at 8 Canada Square the most expensive building in Britain.

HSBC gave Metrovacesa a bridging loan of £810 million ($1.2 billion) to finance the deal, and that loan came to a close last week.  Unfortunately, with credit markets frozen and HSBC unwilling to extend the loan further, Metrovacesa were forced into a firesale.

Result?   

HSBC bought the building back for £838 million ($1.25 billion) making a tidy profit.

Well done to Stephen Green, Michael Geoghegan and company.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the City in plush Mayfair, George Clooney hosted a charity party to raise funds for the folks in Darfur.  At £10,000 ($15,000) a ticket, it was a pretty expensive affair, with the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon and Bono the few who could afford it.

Mind you, it did raise £10 million ($15 million) for the charity, so good on y’all.

Where was it?

Oh yes, it was held in Roger Jenkins house.  His house!

And who is Roger Jenkins?

He’s a bank manager!

In fact, he’s a very well-paid bank manager as Chairman of Barclays investment business in the Middle East.  He’s the guy who did the deal for Barclays with Abu Dhabi and Qatar, the new owners of Barclays Bank, and one of the highest paid bankers in Britain taking home £75 million ($125 million) in 2005 alone.

As the Daily Mail says, "What Credit Crunch?"

Mind you, the high-powered Mr. Jenkins does not like to talk about bonuses this year probably because his bosses, Mr. Varley and Mr. Diamond, will reward him for saving their jobs from Government meddling.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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