Final act in the Countrywide takeover drama plays out

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Final act in the Countrywide takeover drama plays out previous nextAgencies & PeopleFinal act in the Countrywide takeover drama plays outConnells has begun buying up the shares from key Countrywide investors including the 5.85% share held by Schroders.Nigel Lewis8th January 20210939 Views Connells has begun buying up the shares belonging to the key investors in Countrywide as it begins its acquisition of the company.The includes, yesterday, its purchase of the 5.85% portion held by Schroder Investments, representing some 1.92 million shares.Therefore, Connells now owns or has received ‘irrevocable support’ for the acquisition of the company from Countrywide shareholders in respect of 17,166,670 Countrywide shares.This represents approximately 52.30 per cent. of the existing issued ordinary share capital of the company.This means the Alchemy’s attempt to buy Countrywide is dead in the water and Connells has told The Negotiator that it is now waiting for the only remaining major shareholder to have promised Alchemy its support, Brandes, to withdraw its ‘letter of intent’, and that it does not foresee any further complications.ConnellsThis will add a further 1.99 million shares to the Connells pot, taking its share of Countrywide’s stock to 60%, with other smaller investors in the firm likely to follow suit in the coming days.Some of these smaller investors, who bought shares at a much higher price in the past, had hoped that Brandes could hold out for a better deal than the £3.95 per share being offered by Connells for Countrywide, but this now seems doubtful, and the acquisition is likely to go through next week.The markets appear to agree with this scenario – Countrywide’s share priced has been riding high at £3.91p since Monday, its highest price for 18 months.Prior to its slow fall from grace in 2016, shares in Countrywide were trading at over £16. At £3.95 a share, Connells purchase of Countrywide values the company at £129.5 million.schroder Brandes Investment Management. connells Countrywide January 8, 2021Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

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Former Countrywide director Peter Hurrell joins leading independent

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Former Countrywide director Peter Hurrell joins leading independent previous nextAgencies & PeopleFormer Countrywide director Peter Hurrell joins leading independentThe 54-year-old says he is looking forward to his new adventure after exiting a business he co-founded after leaving Countrywide.Nigel Lewis30th March 20210653 Views Leading Norfolk estate agency Sowerbys has recruited a former Countrywide heavyweight to co-manage its expanding Land and New Homes business.Peter Hurrell worked for Countrywide big brand Abbotts for 25 years following a spell in the Royal Navy, including time spent as a regional manager and latterly as a director.He then left Abbotts in June 2017 to co-founded his own estate agency, Stobart & Hurrell with Patrick Stobart, who also left Countrywide’s local team to set up the firm with Hurrell.But Hurrell exited in January this year describing himself, until now, as ‘between adventures’.He is now helping lead Sowerbys Land and New homes team alongside Richard Cheal and Harry Thompson.“I consider myself really fortunate, I am incredibly passionate about property and I get to come into work, in one of the nicest parts of the country and where the customers experience is always valued ahead of any business interest,” he says.“I am hugely ambitious to assist in growing Land & New Homes and making it flourish.”Sowerbys is the region’s leading independent estate agency with nine branches run by joint MDs Max Sowerby (above) and Lloyd Sandy.Sandy says: “Max (left) and I are delighted that Peter has joined the Sowerbys group working alongside our current new homes teams, where we will continue to deliver a new homes proposition like no other.“Over the past few months, I think we have demonstrated that we will react and invest to market demands, and we are all genuinely excited how the future looks for our new homes clients and the Norfolk property market in general.”Peter Hurrell Richard Cheal Harry Thompson Patrick Stobart Abbotts Sowerbys Countrywide March 30, 2021Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

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Oxford elects new Pro-Vice Chancellor

first_imgDr. Sally Mapstone, Reader in Older Scots Literature, lecturer at St. Hilda’s and Chair of the English Faculty Board, has been appointed Oxford University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Personnel and Equality).The role entails ‘ensuring equality of treatment and embracing diversity’ across the University on issues such as race, gender and disability.The position also requires Dr. Mapstone to chair the Task Force on Academic Employment, which aims to monitor staffing issues via an annual consultation exercise, including the gender inequality among academic staff.Dr. Mapstone, who succeeds Dame Fiona Caldicott, began her initial five-year term on 13th October 2009.last_img read more

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Ween’s Claude Coleman Discusses The Band’s Decision To Reunite

first_imgLate last year, beloved rockers Ween surprised fans with the announcement of their reunion. Drummer Claude Coleman, Jr. spoke at length about that decision to reunite in a piece with Songfacts, talking about how the pressure of having four of five members in the Dean Ween Group eventually spurred Gene Ween to rejoin the fray.Coleman talks at length about the situation, and you can read his comments below.Mickey [Melchiondo] was doing all these Dean Ween Group shows. It was pretty cool, we were having a lot of fun with those, and I think Mickey was just planning on doing those forever and ever. And I think somehow unconsciously, having Mickey out there doing those shows affected the whole process of them sort of coming back together. We were starting to sell out everywhere. We did this run on the West Coast and we were just crushing it – I think that put a little insidious pressure on Papa Gene.I’m kind of hypothesizing, but there wasn’t any real concerted thing that happened. There wasn’t like an instance or moment where it happened. It was a slow, gradual process with Mickey out there playing. A lot of people were like, “What is this? This is four fifths of the band. What’s the point?” I think it was the natural pressure of that, and I think it sort of happened on its own. Another thing too was the management. Mickey and Aaron’s managers, Ben Sands and Patrick Jordan, worked closely together. So there’s a lot of this in-family jostling around, and again it was like this insidious, subtle nudging and pressure on those two. Having the same company and managers kind of brought them together, and everything kind of fell in line. It’s kind of super-insidious and super-incestuous. They did great work, Patrick and Brad are both great guys, and they brought it together.Coleman also spoke about how Ween is different now than they were in 2012.It’s a little more formal now, for us. Backstage is really tight. It’s a dry backstage, and there’s a lot less nonsense now. I think that makes the whole thing more professional, sort of formal. Another thing that’s lending itself to that feeling is that we’re rehearsing a lot, which we never really used to do because Mickey and Aaron hated rehearsing. Now they love it because they can see the benefits of it. For the Denver shows, we rehearsed seven days straight, every day, in the afternoons before the shows, in the arena, and I think it really showed. We just crushed it.So that makes a difference: We’re into rehearsing. It’s a given now that we have to rehearse. And when we get together, there’s this new revived energy about it all. It’s pretty badass. We’d been doing it for so long, you know? Then we took three-and-a-half years off and when we got back together, it was just like, “Hey, what’s up?” and then we were playing again. It wasn’t much different than that, just the way we went about it was a lot more careful, more considerate and thoughtful. It’s a more purposeful thing now, and it’s good. It’s a great thing. That’s not to say that we take ourselves seriously, but we take ourselves a little more seriously now.The drummer also denied that the band is working on a new album, though he has stated that Mickey Melchiondo, Jr. has been writing for the Dean Ween Group. You can read the full interview here!last_img read more

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Designated Drivers

first_imgBarry R. BloomHarvard University Distinguished Service ProfessorJoan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health, Harvard School of Public HealthTo tackle the problem of driving after drinking, the leading cause of death among young adults in the nation, the Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) Jay Winsten created the designated driver campaign in 1988, mobilizing Hollywood’s first industrywide initiative to tackle a societal problem. The campaign secured more than $100 million a year in donated airtime to inculcate a new social norm — “the driver doesn’t drink” — into American culture, importing the concept from Scandinavia.Rather than exhorting the public to change behavior, Winsten encouraged TV writers to model a new social norm by depicting the use of designated drivers in story lines of shows such as “Cheers.” More than 160 prime-time episodes incorporated the message. Surveys showed that a majority of the American public quickly embraced the concept. The international export of Hollywood’s products led to diffusion of the designated driver concept around the world.When the campaign began in 1988, alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States exceeded 23,000 annually. Four years later, fatalities had dropped by more than 25 percent, thanks to tough laws, strict enforcement, and widespread use of designated drivers. Today, annual fatalities stand at less than 11,000, and the concept is a permanent fixture in American culture.The Chronicle of Philanthropy noted: “Many grant makers say it was the success of the campaign that persuaded them that skillful work with news and entertainment media can bring about social change.” Winsten’s Center for Health Communication at HSPH helped to establish “health communication” as an important field in public health.last_img read more

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Crunching data in the campaign cave

first_imgLike his Renaissance namesake who was an artist, architect, and engineer, Michelangelo D’Agostino ’02 has worked to master several fields, including journalism, astrophysics, teaching, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. Now add to that political game-changer.As a Harvard undergraduate, D’Agostino moved seamlessly between physics and literature classes. He has been known to juggle two or three difficult jobs at the same time. He once conducted astrophysics and particle physics research in Antarctica while contributing science writing to The Economist. So why shouldn’t this Renaissance man help President Barack Obama win re-election in 2012?Campaign manager Jim Messina had decided that fundraising appeals should be driven by a systematic attention to measurable data. To make that happen, he and Obama needed top-notch scientific minds. D’Agostino was comfortable with big data, statistics, and rigorous testing, and soon found a new home in “The Cave,” the windowless office in Chicago that housed the Obama digital data team.Like a latter-day alchemist, D’Agostino worked to uncover the mysterious element that transformed emails into fundraising gold.“Historical data really is a gold mine,” D’Agostino told an audience at his Monday Colloquium at the Physics Department. Data can be used to build projection models that optimize communications and fund-raising efforts, he said during his talk called “Physics and Presidential Politics: The Role of Data in the Obama Campaign.”“Instead of using gut feelings,” D’Agostino said, “campaigns can now make numerical predictions based on data.”“Historical data really is a gold mine,” Michelangelo D’Agostino told his audience at a Monday colloquium at the Physics Department. Data can be used to build projection models that optimize communications and fundraising efforts, he said during his talk on “Physics and Presidential Politics: The Role of Data in the Obama Campaign.”D’Agostino carefully tested campaign messaging under near-laboratory conditions, using small groups of supporters. Was it better, for example, to attack Republican candidate Mitt Romney or focus instead on the president’s own record? Did casual, funny, angry, or rational messages work best? D’Agostino tested them all, with surprising results.D’Agostino described how he and the digital team worked on one particular email aimed at highlighting Romney’s big edge in large donations. “The Romney campaign raises more than we do,” said the Obama email. “We can be outspent and still win — but we can’t be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.” D’Agostino tested a dozen subject lines, including “Thankful every day,” “Change,” “Some scary numbers,” and “I will be outspent.”The subject lines that optimized donations weren’t the hopeful “Change” or the gracious “Thankful.” The pair that played into the anxieties of Obama supporters were “Some scary numbers” and “I will be outspent.”“Uglier things tended to work better,” D’Agostino said.A forecasting model he developed projected a $2.5 million “take” from the winning “I will be outspent” subject line, versus a projected take of a mere $545,000 from the losing “Thankful every day.” When the “I will be outspent” email was sent out to tens of millions of Obama supporters, its actual take was $2.6 million.“When you add it all up,” D’Agostino said, “this kind of optimization made a huge [fundraising] difference.” He would help Obama to raise $504 million online.Not everyone enjoyed D’Agostino’s lab-tested emails. Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” mocked their tone of “fake familiarity” in a segment titled “Spamalot.” Every time Obama asked him for $75, joked Stewart, “It’s like you don’t really value our make-believe friendship.” As for casual (“Hey”) subject lines validated by D’Agostino’s test groups, Stewart said, “You don’t need to address anyone as ‘Hey’ to be cool. You’re the president, that’s pretty … cool.”Asked about Stewart’s humorous jabs at his work, D’Agostino laughed.Stewart “can make fun of it, but we had the data showing [a casual tone] was working,” he said. “‘Hey’ just kept on winning” over other, more serious-minded, approaches.In part because of such effective data-mining, Obama was re-elected.last_img read more

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Students, faculty attend conference in D.C.

first_imgA group of nine Notre Dame students and staff took part in the 2014 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) earlier this week, taking the opportunity to exercise both their faith and their interest in American government and meet others doing the same. Photo courtesy of Bill Purcell Notre Dame has sent students to the annual conference for the past 10 years, and for nine of those years the group has been led by Professor Bill Purcell, associate director for Catholic Social Tradition and Practice at the Center for Social Concerns.Purcell said he brings students to the conference each year in order to inspire them to be more involved and seek to better the world around them.“For me it’s a way to open students up to opportunities and a way to engage faith in vocation. I get to put the question to them ‘How are we going to change systems?’” Purcell said.About 20 percent of the attendees at the CSMG conference, which began Sunday and ended Wednesday, were from Catholic colleges and universities. In all 26 schools sent delegations of students, faculty and staff.Each year the conference focuses on four policy issues, two domestic and two international, and this year the topics were the minimum wage, prisons, foreign relations in the Middle East and immigration, Purcell said. The conference featured several keynote speakers, policy workshops and meetings with representatives on Capitol Hill.Sophomore Ethan Muehlstein said the best part of the experience for him was hearing from the speakers.“[The speakers] urged us to live out the gospel Pope Francis is trying to teach to us in his homilies and in the way he acts,” he said. “My favorite part of the conference was hearing a speech from [Cardinal Theodore McCarrick]. He was talking about how we don’t have to be perfect humans or great orators to make a difference. We just have to do the best we can at something we love with our whole hearts.”Sophomore Kaitlyn Kennedy said she relished the chance to meet with Congress members from Indiana.“I felt like an empowered citizen visiting with both Indiana senators and Representative Walorski,” Kennedy said. “It was nerve-wracking to speak to them on these controversial and complex issues, but we felt confident knowing that we were not there in our own interest and that the words we were speaking were truth.”It was significant that the group was able to meet with Senator Donnelly, Senator Coats and Rep. Walorski and get a sympathetic hearing from the lawmakers, Muehlstein said.“Some other groups were only able to meet with chiefs of staff, so it was good we were able to meet with the people who actually make the laws and vote,” Muehlstein said. “I felt they were open to what we were telling them.”The group was able to meet with the legislators themselves because Purcell began working to arrange the meetings in October, he said. He said the reason he makes such an effort is the importance for the students of having that experience.“The best understanding of civics comes from being engaged in it,” he said. “Being on Capitol Hill can’t be replicated here in South Bend.”All four of the undergraduate students in the group were sophomores, and every year the group includes sophomores because the students have time to act on their experience when they return and become leaders on campus, Purcell said.“The reason I bring sophomores is for leadership development,” he said. “I think it’s a transformative experience for them.“The students appreciate learning about faith and advocacy, and that faith and politics don’t have to be separate. [Attending the conference] helps them get a national and an international perspective on social concerns.”Muehlstein said the conference helped him to understand why he was interested in social justice and motivated him to become even more involved.“I’ve always had a passion for social justice, so this was a great opportunity to get to the theory behind why I do what I do,” Muehlstein said. “Another student and I are now hoping to get involved in the local juvenile detention center, sharing our ministry with them so they don’t feel forgotten or alone.”Kennedy said her experience allowed her to move beyond what she was already learning about Catholic social values in the classroom.“As a Catholic Social Tradition Minor, I have studied about what it means to live the Gospel social values in class, but this conference introduced me to people whose lives have been transformed by these values, and gave me a way to advocate for these values to be upheld in our nation.”Purcell said the conference is organized by 16 different Catholic organizations, with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the primary sponsor. Tags: catholic social tradition, Center for Social Concerns, conference, CSMG, Governmentlast_img read more

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Todd Kaminsky Confirmed Winner of Ex-Sen. Skelos Seat

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York New York State Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is expected to be sworn in Tuesday as the new state senator representing the southwest corner of Nassau County upon his winning a pivotal recent special election. He is Long Island’s first Democratic state senator in six years.Nassau County Board of Elections officials certified Monday that Kaminsky beat Republican opponent Chris McGrath, an attorney from Hewlett, in the race to replace ex-State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was expelled from office when he was convicted on federal corruption charges in December.“This district has been without representation for close to five months, and we look forward to his immediate swearing in,” said State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).Kaminsky, who will represent the 9th Senate District, will be the lone Democratic state senator from Long Island, where the other eight state senators are Republicans. The group was previously known as the Long Island Nine. The last Democratic state senator was Nassau’s Sen. Craig Johnson, who lost by 451 votes to former Mineola Mayor Jack Martins in 2010. Kaminsky’s victory will give Democrats a 32-31 majority in the chamber, but the GOP is expected to retain control thanks to their alliance with six breakaway Democrats.“I am honored that my neighbors have elected me to deliver for Long Island and clean up Albany as their State Senator,” Kaminsky said in a statement. “For far too long, South Shore taxpayers have been the victim of politicians who put themselves before their community and I pledge to fight everyday to return our state government to the people”The results were certified one day before the state legislature returns from its spring break. LI’s newest senator will only have two months to negotiate legislation before the legislative session ends in June, unless a special session is called later this year before the new session starts in January. Kaminsky will also have to run for re-election in November for a full two-year term.Ethics reform was among the top issues in the Kaminsky-McGrath race as a result of Skelos’ and his son Adam’s convictions, which they are appealing. They face up to 20 years in federal prison when they’re scheduled to be sentenced this month.Kaminsky declared himself the winner in the race when unofficial results showed him winning by nearly 800 votes two hours after the polls closed April 19. McGrath refused to concede, and his campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Coming in third place was Green Party challenger Laurence Seth Hirsh, an accountant from Valley Stream.last_img read more

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World’s oldest Ironman plans to keep competing into his 90s

first_imgHiromu Inada, 87, already has a certificate on his wall that confirms his status as the world’s oldest Ironman, but the Japanese man is still pounding away on his training bike and hopes to continue competing into his 90s.In 2018 at the age of 85 years and 328 days, Inada went to Kailua-Kona in Hawaii and set a new mark for the oldest person to complete the world championship Ironman – a feat beyond most people decades younger than him.The cancellation of this October’s Ironman because of the coronavirus pandemic has not dulled his ambition, and Inada is maintaining his grueling training schedule for a return to Hawaii next year. “My goal is next year’s world championship in Hawaii,” he told Reuters at his training facility in Chiba, east of Tokyo.”I will absolutely participate in it, and I absolutely want to break the world record of completing the race at the oldest age again. This is my current and biggest goal.”An Ironman race is widely considered one of the toughest endurance events in sport, requiring athletes to swim 3.86 km, bike 180.25 km and fun a full 42.19 km marathon.Slender and tanned from hours training outside, Inada looks like a man who has been competing in endurance tests all his life, but he only took up the sport in retirement. After working for public broadcaster NHK, Inada began swimming and running, and bought a bike age 69. He competed in his first triathlon a year later.After the death of his wife soon afterwards, Ironman competitions became an obsession for Inada.In 2015, at age 82, he took part in the Hawaii Ironman, bidding to become the oldest finisher on record, but he fell just short: his time was 5 seconds too slow to be officially registered.Inspired by support from the Hawaiian public, Inada returned the next year and completed the race in a qualifying time, earning his Guinness World Records certificate.”Until then, I had thought I would give up if I felt I had enough of it,” Inada said.”But since then, I have in my mind that I absolutely cannot give up, and I absolutely must complete [Ironman races], otherwise I feel sorry for those who support me.”Inada trains every day, waking up at 4:30 a.m. and hitting the swimming pool by 6:00 a.m.Inada sees the extended lead-in to his next trip to Hawaii as on opportunity to rest a sore knee and tweak his preparation technique.”I hope I can try new things to build my fitness,” he said.”I hope I can adjust my physical peak to the postponed race. So, I would rather think it was good that it was delayed.” center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Netherlands roundup: ABN Amro scheme holds indexation decision

first_imgThe €30bn ABN Amro pension fund said it has postponed its annual decision about the level of inflation compensation until July, because of current market volatility caused by COVID-19.Usually, the scheme establishes every April how much indexation it will grant, based on the consumer index of the previous year. In 2019 inflation was 1.8%.Given its funding level of 130% at year-end, the pension fund would have been allowed to grant a full inflation compensation. Its required funding level is 125%.However, the board noted that the scheme’s indexation rules allow for a deviation if the circumstances require this. At the end of April, its funding level remained at 130%, leaving the pension fund in a much better position than many of the large industry-wide schemes.According to statistics by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank, the ABN Amro Pensioenfonds has hedged more than 100% of the interest risk on its liabilities.It annual pensions contribution amounts to 37% of the pensionable salary.FedEx likely to plug funding gap of Dutch schemeEmployer TNT/FedEx is expected to fill a €11m shortfall in its Dutch pension fund TNT at the end of the second quarter, if the scheme’s funding level doesn’t significantly improve by then.Its €750m pension fund said it expected the sponsor to plug the funding gap as its coverage ratio was no more than 92.4% at the end of March.The additional payment is a consequence of the contract for pensions provision between US owner FedEx and its Dutch scheme, which makes filling in a shortfall compulsary if the scheme’s coverage ratio is below 104% at the end of each quarter.The last time the employer had to fork out an additional contribution was in 2016.The expected additional payment would amount to approximately one-third of the sponsor’s annual contribution for the scheme’s 2,200 active participants.The US sponsor had been trying to get rid of its Dutch pension fund – the scheme of former Dutch delivery firm TNT Express, taken over by FedEx in 2015 – for two years, but negotiations with the unions have been on hold since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. FedEx Dutch employees accrue their pension with Vervoer, the €31bn sector scheme for private road transport and inland shippingFedEx Dutch employees accrue their pension with Vervoer, the €31bn sector scheme for private road transport and inland shipping.However, the unions oppose transferring TNT’s participants to Vervoer. They argue that the latter’s pension arrangements are less attractive, and lack, for example, an employer’s obligation to plug a funding gap.Vervoer’s coverage ratio stood at 90.7% at the end of March.In early March, the unions ceased negotiations for a new collective labour agreement (CAO), because they wanted to consult their rank and file before continuing.They explained that the negotiations were complicated, as they would not only cover new pension arrangements but also other labour conditions.Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unions haven’t been able to consult their members during information meetings yet.Delivery firm FedEx is the second employer that has to fill in a shortfall in its Dutch pension fund, following declining funding levels as a consequence of the virus crisis.Earlier, ExxonMobil paid its Belgium-based Dutch scheme €250m to make up for its funding shortfall.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more

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