• Peter Smith

MONDAY 18TH OCTOBER 1999 - Inside Info For Sale?

I meet an ex-Bank of Scotland purchasing manager who has written to our Chairman and offered to do some work for us, which might be useful given his insider knowledge. I am a bit nervous about this, but a couple of my colleagues working on the bid are keen so we agree to pay him a few grand to do a quick piece of work. I write him a letter saying he must not break any confidences or tell us anything confidential; information in public domain only and so on. I hope this covers us. He mentions a previous BoS Purchasing Exec who is or was pursued legally by them for some reason- he seems to assume I will have heard about this which I'm afraid I haven't, and he obviously doesn't want to say too much.

The papers over the weekend and today are beginning to cast doubt on the credibility of the cost savings put forward by BoS. Quite right too! The initial euphoria and admiration for their nerve and initiative is wearing off. There is also much speculation about who else might enter the battle, but Sir David sends an Intranet message round saying that in reality there are no new formal bids. I am sure there are informal discussions going on; I would personally quite fancy a tie-up with a large US Bank; good chance of preserving jobs but opportunity for a culture change and some trips to New York! But there is no sign of this as yet.

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