You’ve got to give the shareholders what they want.

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Cadbury’s resistance to the Kraft takeover bid seems to have been in part undermined by a sizeable portion of its stock being owned by short-term shareholders in hedge funds.

RBS is being criticised for its role in the whole chocolately schebang. Since the government is the majority stakeholder in RBS, the government naturally takes some flack for RBS’ actions.

This all makes me very sympathetic to Billy Bragg’s call for the government to be far more interventionist in the managing of the effectively nationalised bank – curbing the bonus culture seems the very least that Brown and Darling could try to do.

In December an opinion poll suggested that nearly 80% of voters supported the windfall tax on bankers’ bonuses. The continuing unpopularity of the banks could be better exploited by the government if it seriously wants to reform the financial system and the culture in which the banks operate.

P.S. Tracy Corrigan in the Telegraph sympathesises with the Braggmeister and laments the lack of government direction on this.

P.P.S. Here is some Billy in action:

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2 Responses to “You’ve got to give the shareholders what they want.”

  1. Paul T Says:

    Sorry mate, I totally disagree with the Cadbury thing. It isn’t the role of government to tell shareholders that they shouldn’t accept a massive premium on their investments, if someone is stupid enough to offer it. What structure would you use to evaluate these things? Only save those companies with brands that resonate with the ‘man on the street’? Once business decisions such as these become political, what follows is corruption, inefficiencies, protectionism.

  2. captainjako Says:

    Always nice to hear from you Comrade Paul, but I get the feeling you’re arguing against a position I didn’t adopt! The main thrust of my post was (supposed to be) that the Cadbury takeover case showed the power of shareholders in getting what they want even if it’s unpopular, so the government could surely equally impose stricter limitations on bankers’ bonuses considering its stock portfolio and the apparent popularity of such measures.

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