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$40m e-mail

April 6, 2001 

A number of papers report how Neal Patterson's e-mail has hurt his company Cerner (CERN). According to The Times, when Patterson clicked on “send” after thumping out a threatening e-mail to 400 subordinates, he had no idea how badly it would backfire. Today, three weeks after the e-mail was written, it has been circulated to tens of millions of people on the Internet, used in management schools as an example of how not to motivate staff, and criticised in editorials throughout the US. It is a sobering lesson for executives around the world to think twice before firing off electronic rebukes. The e-mail has even hit Patterson where it hurts most: his wallet. Shares in Cerner Corporation, the Kansas City software company of which he is chief executive, have slumped nearly 30% since the incident, wiping $40m off his own holding.


The Financial Times reports that Willis, the insurance broker taken private three years ago, now plans a minority listing on the NYSE. Those selling shares are some of the six international insurers that backed the buyout, not KKR, which offered most of the funding and owns 74%.


The Financial Times says second-line handset suppliers now face the threat of being squeezed out of the market altogether. The paper’s Lex column says the sector has “bottomed out”.

  • To see how newspaper reports are affecting the market, go to today's Market roundup.
  • To see which stocks are moving, click here.

Dot bomb

The recently launched European trade mag for the Internet, The Industry Standard, is already up for sale, according to the Financial Times. And amid further signs of the downturn, the same paper reports that online brokers Charles Schwab Europe and Barclays are axing 20% and 5% of their respective headcounts.

The Sun reports 40 P45s have been dished out at the Internet arm of the Financial Times, owned by Pearson (PSON - news), and says that Merrill Lynch axed 80 IT staff.


According to the Daily Telegraph, the war of words between Hoover (HOOV) and arch-rival Dyson Appliance hotted up yesterday, as Hoover's vice-chairman Alberto Bertali confirmed he would return to the courts in July to appeal a High Court judgment on patent infringement.

Investors Chronicle

Investors Chronicle is advising its readers to “buy” shares in engineering company Aga Foodservice (AGA - news) at 240p, construction and building group CRH (CRH - news) at Ђ17.13, support services group Quantica (QTA - news) at 58p and engineering group Wellington (WLN - news) at 87p. The magazine is advising readers to “sell” shares in engineering group Enodis (ENO - news) at 110p and book publishing company Haynes Publishing (HYNS - news) at 105p.

Share commentary

Tempus in The Times says "buy" United Business Media (UBM - news) and Arcadia (AG. - news), but "hold" SurfControl (SRF - news). The Guardian's At this price column? says Kewill (KWL - news)is already fully priced. Questor in the Daily Telegraph advises readers to steer clear of Kewill. But says DFS (DFS - news) looks cheap. It says the only hope for Madisons (MCF - news) shareholders is a takeover bid.

Small Cap/Market rumour

Stockbroker Collins Stewart (CSH - news) rose 28p to 316.5p yesterday as institutions covered short positions, according to The Times.

According to the Daily Telegraph there is renewed speculation that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - news) may bid for needle-free injection maker PowderJect (PJP - news).

The Mirror says “sell” Prudential (PRU - news) at 780p and “buy” Sage (SGE - news) at 250p. The markets team is editor Tom Winnifrith and correspondents Sarah Gerlis and Sonia Kaur.

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