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Matti Maasikas, Estonia’s deputy minister for European affairs, shot to prominence this week (er), as he plunged his hand into a bowl containing two pieces of paper and picked the one with Paris written on it.
That, bizarrely, is how the future home of the European Banking Authority, the EU’s umbrella banks regulator, was determined on Monday evening. After three rounds of voting among the EU27, Paris and Dublin had tied (there was one spoilt ballot). To guard against accusations of chicanery, Maasikas made a big deal of the bowl being transparent, though who knows what backroom deals were done by the French and the Irish to get to the last two.
A decade ago, when the EBA’s predecessor body CEBS was sited in London, Gordon Brown, then prime minister, had campaigned hard for it. One of Brown’s former aides reminds City Insider that it was the French who helped Britain secure the agency back then in exchange for UK support for their bid to host the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a research facility, in preference to Japan.
Now they have banking regulation too. It’s unclear which is more dangerous.
Patrick Drahi: family matters
Patrick Drahi, Altice’s billionaire founder, has had a rough month. The wannabe cable king has seen about $6bn wiped off his net worth as the share price of his global telecoms roll-up has tumbled.
That has put Altice, of which Drahi owns more than 60 per cent, on the back foot. The usually elusive businessman has been on an emergency roadshow around Europe, trying to win back investor trust. Trump-style, Drahi sometimes brings his daughter along to shareholder meetings. His son looks like another ally.
City Insider hears that Nathan Drahi works as a London-based analyst in JPMorgan’s acquisition finance and high yield team. That is the same JPMorgan that has provided the lending power to fuel Altice’s acquisition spree. Some snarky investors have dubbed Nathan the “cable princeling”. JPMorgan told City Insider that young Drahi “was hired based on merit and does not work on any accounts related to this client”. Naturally, your majesty.
Kirkland & Ellis: clock-watcher
Corporate law, a life of megabucks deals and megabucks personal wealth, right? Maybe, but as the Legal Cheek website demonstrates, there’s a price: your life. Its UK “arrive and leave the office times” survey of junior lawyers found Kirkland & Ellis, the US outfit, flogged its people the hardest, with an average clocking-on time of 9.34am (why so late?) and a leaving time of 10.02pm (ah).
Freshfields and Clifford Chance led the way for the magic circle, with near-12 hour average office days. (Cue the world’s smallest violin.) You’ll get the easiest life at Irwin Mitchell (typical day: 8.37am-6.05pm). Almost civilised.
David Beckham: Goldman balls
Staff at Goldman Sachs’ London offices set aside their Brexit blues on Monday, even as the bank outlined plans for twin eurozone hubs in Frankfurt and Paris. Bankers were far more interested in the pronouncements of David Beckham, aka Golden Balls.
Bankers who attended the packed-to-the-rafters talk had Jim Esposito, global FICC co-head, to thank for the gig (Beckham and Esposito’s kids play football together). It’s the most popular the troubled FICC business has been all year.