Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I can hear the property journalists sharpening their pencils...
I'm sat here in the depths of rural France but my mind has wandered back to 10 turbulent years worth of working in the heart of the West End of London.
For those who don't know I held a pretty senior position at Chesterton International plc who were one of the largest and most acquisitive property consultancies in the UK.
Just before I joined, the board had floated the practice on the stock exchange and been on a huge buying spree which included recruiting a senior team from Price Waterhouse and a Facilities Management company called Workplace Management.
There followed a whole host of further acquisitions as they tried to become a true "one stop shop".
As most people know the strategy failed miserably.
Some put it down to the "deal junkie" mentality of the board, others said it was simply a flawed strategy, even more said it was a fine strategy but the execution was woeful.
Chesterton went into receivership and was broken up. Many people lost their jobs and some (me included) are victims of a massively under-funded pension scheme.
Anyway - the point is that with Deloittes & Drivers Jonas announcing their "merger" and the likelihood that Capita will be buying Nelson Bakewell in the next week or so I'm offering short odds on a rash of "remember Chesterton" stories as the property journos trawl through their archives and memory banks and sharpen their pencils.
There's nothing new in politics and for those of us who have been around a while we know it's exactly the same in property.