So you might think that I’d start this week’s Update with some amusing whimsy about Polson as a surname and how it relates to Yussuf Poulsen, the second-string Danish striker; claim some Danish heritage and all that sort of thing. But I’m not going to, mainly because the frozen patronymic ‘Polson’ goes back at least 20 generations in Scotland, being recorded around 1350 or so at the earliest. Meanwhile, the Danes didn’t adopt frozen patronymics until the mid to late 1800s; before that each generation’s surname would have changed based on the forename of the previous generation. So you can’t assume that just because you have a Scandi-style patronymic name that you’re related to Danes.

However, my maternal grandmother was from Copenhagen with the surname Thomsen. My maternal grandfather was born in Liverpool, and everyone else in my family is Scots. So I’m equally miniscule parts Danish and English and that means I can support who I like tonight, and indeed switch fluidly between the two depending on how the game’s going.

Little genealogy lesson for you there. All part of the service…

Anyway, our real subject this week is Victor Kiam (an Anglicisation of the ancient Iranian name Khayyam, of course) and how he liked Remington so much that he bought the company. That’s not true; I mean it is true that he bought the company, but that’s not actually our subject. Our subject is Martin Gilbert and how he liked Parmenion so much he bought the company, not once but twice.

Find someone who looks at you the way that Martin looks at Parmenion, and you’ll be all set…

It’s interesting to note that Assetco’s stated aim is to own companies outright, but it’s broken that already for the Parmenion stake. I’ve said in Updates passim that this is a sector and an underlying demographic that people just want to own, and here’s another piece of evidence. I read a bit earlier that someone had seen a PE firm offering 18x EBITDA for an adviser firm recently as well…it’s not getting any calmer out there.

So this is a vote of confidence in Parmenion from Gilbert, and that’s a fine thing in itself; I suspect many Parmenion users will be pleased to see this continuity of involvement and may view it as a sort-of calming influence in case the new PE owners get a bit excited at some point. From our point of view, it’s more about the management team at Parmenion having a heavyweight (no, not like that) on board who doesn’t need the niceties of the industry explaining at board meetings. We have pointed out before that of all the PE platform deals in recent months, Parmenion was the one that didn’t look like the other ones in that it wasn’t getting broken up or smashed into something else. So that reassurance point doesn’t feel so important to us.

The main thing that I thought about as I read all about it was that the corporate activity in the sector is far from over. That obviously applies to deals which have not yet been done, and there will be some more, but it also means that we can’t assume firms which have gone through an initial burst of activity are in a settled state. There’s still space for secondary deals and all sorts of other shenanigans. What that means to me is that our general approach of keeping powder dry and waiting to see how things shake out when a change of ownership is announced is one which still makes sense. Rushing to judgement – whether in the press, on all the social medias, or even just in your own mind over your morning Rundstykker is probably not going to be hugely helpful.



  • With all this going on, it’s time once again for us to ask you to rate your platforms, as we do each quarter. Please do spend 4 or 5 minutes so doing; it means the world to them and to us. Many thanks and you can find the questionnaire here.
  • Interesting development from Novia, which has added a proper on-platform with-profits fund from Wesleyan, for those who wanted with-profits on platform. Apparently you can hold it in models and everything.
  • HomeGames this week will be a bit different; we’re stepping away from pure industry stuff and thinking about people issues for a change. Rachel Treece, CEO of FTS Global, is an exec coach, motivational speaker and all round excellent human being, and will join me at 12.30pm to tell me why my plan to make all my staff wear boilersuits with numbers on them so I can just refer to them as ‘Resource Number X’ is a bad plan. You can join the session here, and you should.
  • You really have to read this about fund Assessment of Value statements. It’ll give you a right laugh. Foxes and henhouses; foxes and henhouses.
  • And your music choice this week could have been Baddiel and Skinner, but isn’t. Instead, please let me commend Viking metal titans Amon Amarth to your ears, with their rousing motivational anthem ‘Shield Wall’.

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