Friday High Five

The deal for the Co-operative Bank to once again become a mutual is a significant return to their core values as Britain’s best known ethical bank.

The bank was hit hard by the shockwaves from the financial crisis of 2008, but also suffered from the disastrous implications of a terrible deal to acquire the Britannia Building Society.

One of the reasons I wanted to come back to journalism, and then to do the deeper dives on our new Rainmakers Substack, was to add context and analysis to stories with deep roots.

I remember Bryan Robson’s different business forays over the years, and also the horror stories of footballers getting ripped off. It’s good to see him getting behind High Performance Individuals, a new business set up by Simon Andrews, once of Tilney and St James’ Place.

It’s the same with American Golf, a business that has been through a few different structures and leadership teams.

I’ve chaired two really good round table sessions this week. One was on the B Corp movement, good businesses who you would say were on the left of the business community, but who nevertheless deliver strong returns for all stakeholders as they focus on a triple bottom line.

The other was on the future, where we had some fairly profound discussions about the potential of AI on different business sectors. It has the potential to complete many mundane tasks to free up our creativity. However, I don’t trust Chat GPT to write this weekly column just yet.

The Rainmakers Substack is going really well.

Sometimes we forget that it’s not an easy or straightforward thing to buy or sell a business. Most people who go through a transaction, like the Lancashire security boss I spoke to this week about doing his first ever, it is life changing.

It was also a point made at our lunch event yesterday where I interviewed Sacha Lord, founder of Parklife festival and the Warehouse Project. A man who has been shot at, attacked with a machete, been in business with some real maniacs, dealt with cops and criminals, and faced down the government over lockdown restrictions.

Yet he described selling a 50% stake in his business to Live Nation as “the most stressful 28 days of my life.”

No wonder people sometimes get it badly wrong.

Have a great weekend.

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