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Has Guy Hands done a Ratner?

Can Hands’ glittering career continue after he likened bankers to ‘whimpering dogs’?

Guy Hands, boss of private equity group Terra Firma, has apparently felt the need to despatch letters of apology after he called bankers “loyal dogs” who “whimper” when they get hit.

Hands made the comments at a Paris conference last week. He reportedly said (according to the Financial Times) that in the current climate bankers would refuse to bankroll mega-buyouts for years, because they are happy “in a pack”, they like “to smell easy prey and push each other out of the way for food” and, “like any loyal dogs, when they get hit, they whimper.”

Leaving aside the issue of whether Hands’ analysis is correct, are bankers liable to forgive him? The FT says he’s already received a box of dog biscuits in the post with a note advising him to “use them sparingly” on his bankers.

Hands’ outspokenness is reminiscent of Gerald Ratner, the jewellery retail chain boss, who in 1991 famously described his products as crap during a speech and saw business promptly tank thereafter.

Will Hands, who’s currently trying to digest a 4bn investment in EMI (leaving his Citigroup financiers saddled with a 2.5bn loan which they reportedly can’t syndicate), recover from his faux pas? Or is he, like Ratner, now set for a prolonged period in the doghouse?

Comments (10)

  1. it’s irrelevant. it’s not a faux pas and the issue is, can he pay back the interest and capital that was lent to him and make money for him and his LP’s. Money talks and only money talks. All else is commentary.

  2. he must be american!

  3. He’s right though. The M&A craze earlier in the year was a self-fulfilling prophecy. People saw buyouts as a signal that it was a good time for buyouts. Bit quiet on the cheque book front now.

  4. Hands is absolutely right, feed them to the dogs…

  5. Hands deserves any angry bites from the dogs.

  6. Hands you are the man. You just forgot to mention that bankers are neutered testosterone free dogs who think they are a pack of sharks.

  7. “M&A man”: sounds like a comment from someone who never quite made it in banking

  8. some of the comments here show a lack of intelligence. particularly cc, hannibal and M&A man. Guy hands is rich enough never to work again. the question is, are you all in that position. if not, then don’t make comments on issues you barely understand

  9. Hands is spot on. Banks are unwilling to lend in general when they consider the market poor and then they turn a healthy market into a boom market thats waiting to crash by pumping in too much cheap money for targets that have increasingly dimnished returns.

    Seen it before Reply
  10. *ankers are *ankers.

    Never wanted to make it in banking Reply

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