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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

TUESDAY 7th MARCH 2000; Savings Estimates and Fred Goes on Holiday

I call Jim Mann- he saw Bernard yesterday and says he was very upset and didn't want to stay around. Jim thinks he is in line for the IT Director position and believes he will be Whitehead Mann'd next week as part of the recuitment process.

The RBS head of purchasing arrives. He is now clear that RBS are not doing a "due diligence" exercise, as they originally said, which always seemed strange as that is what you do before you buy something! Instead, and more logically, the next 30 days are all about verifying the savings estimates which formed the RBS business case for the bid. The purchasing number was about £100 million savings.

That estimate was, how shall we say, somewhat "back of an envelope" as far as I can make out, and he was away when the number was agreed with the bid team! I don't want to think too much about the pain we went through getting KPMG to sign off our measly £12 million purchasing savings for the defence document. However, taking £100 million out of a combined purchasing spend of well over £2 Billion should be eminently achievable.

There is unlikely to be any news on other key appointments this week - Fred Goodwin is on holiday. Seems a strange week to be away, but I guess he's been working non­ stop since September.

The papers report the new board appointments. They all seem to assume Richard Delbridge will stay, although it has not been announced. I wonder if Ladbrokes would quote me the odds? The FT also reports something I had missed yesterday - the combined company will be called the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, not RBS NatWest, which they used in some of the defence documents. Does that mean some of the slightly more "softly, softly" approach they adopted (compared to BoS) during the bid was just a bluff and this is really an aggressive takeover after all?

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