Archive for April 2012
Manchester United has made a big push in recent years to expand their commercial interests in Asia, and a significant proportion of their €367 million turnover is derived from this part of the world.
No surprise, given 60% of their supporters (myself included) live in Asia and also their decision to test local investor base appetite with an IPO on the Singapore stock exchange.
The IPO has been heralded as a coup for Singapore, a high profile listing for one of football’s greatest brands and one that the exchange has sought to heavily publicise, particularly the fact that Manchester United chose to list in Singapore rather than Hong Kong.
Many reasons have been muted for the Glazers’ choice to list in Singapore; their South East Asia fan base, a broader geographical investor base and that the Singapore stock exchange reduced the amount of time the listing would take.
All may be true, but the key reason for choosing Singapore over Hong Kong must surely be their allowance of a two-tier structure for the equity offering; allowing the listing of shares with differing voting rights.
The Hong Kong stock exchange (similar to the LSE) does not allow this type of listing, and the bottom line is that it allows the Glazers to keep approx 90% of the voting rights, whilst offering 25% of the share capital for the club – a hefty and timely windfall to address their reliance on debt finance, given upcoming premier league financial fair play rules.
As a supporter, I am not happy that my club is run by the Glazers, that they have saddled it with debt and that through this listing they maintain near 90% of the voting rights on the board. However, I do welcome this listing as an opportunity for them to reduce Manchester United’s debt burden, and hope they use the cash with the club’s best interests at heart.
This listing may be the first of many. With F1 deciding on Singapore as a venue for their own Asian IPO, the derby score could soon be Singapore 2 – Hong Kong 0, and surely they will not be the last sporting brands looking to raise capital in Asia.
The motives for F1 choosing Singapore over Hong Kong are less clear, however should the score-line increase to 3 – 0, 4 – 0 or even a 5 goal drubbing, surely the Hong Kong regulators will stand up and take notice – it will be interesting to see how they react.
In any event, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs (the lead banks on these deals) are both likely to be happy with the current score-line. No doubt, should these IPOs go well, there are likely to be no shortage of clients looking to follow suit or investment banks looking to prove their goal scoring prowess.
Kony 2012 may be the most ambitious recruitment campaign that I’ve ever seen. Jason Russell’s The Invisible Children has been established to build awareness rapidly about Joseph Kony and to recruit people to help effect his arrest. Here are some observations:
Social media and engaging content
To date the first Kony 2012 video has over 104 million views on YouTube, over 3.2 million likes on their Facebook page, and they’ve received over 3.59 million pledges. Their aim was to recruit people to their cause on an international basis, and they’ve successfully reached their audience through developing engaging and personal content. To differentiate, companies looking to attract the right staff need to effectively identify their target audience and create engaging social media content to best talk to them. It isn’t enough to have a passive message – it has to encourage action.
Initially, people didn’t know Joseph Kony, but they do know Justin Beiber (20+ million Twitter followers) who took to Twitter to put his endorsement on the cause. In business, people aspire to work for companies that have individuals who are strong advocates for the brand; these are people who are the face of companies and who display a passion for their work.
Word of mouth
My colleague in March: ‘Have you seen the Kony video’?
Me: ‘The what??’
My first thought was, is that a new consumer electronics brand or sports shoe brand? By the time my wife and colleagues had mentioned Kony; it was difficult to NOT watch the video. In the recruitment industry; the best jobs and the best people that we hear about are always through word of mouth and referrals.
The best companies in the world offer individuals the promise of being part of something special and to make a difference. Kony makes it clear that their goal cannot be achieved without ‘you’ helping to effect change. People always ask us ‘Why should I come to work for this organisation?’ Kony 2012 reflects that the impetus should come from the individual; i.e. what you can bring to the organisation and how you can contribute.
The positive response received from the campaign has been matched in full by negative sentiment and backlash as to financial disclosure and intentions of The Invisible Children. With the current nature of information and its accessibility, companies will be scrutinized from front to back. Prospective employees will do their due diligence and background checking, so be prepared and make sure the house is in-order.
Until next time.
Chinese whispers: “When information is verbally passed from person to person, it inevitably gets distorted and exaggerated and the new form moves towards becoming the norm”
Multiple studies show that an average person speaks between 2000 to 7000 words per day. As information is relayed from one person to the next, it is regularly distorted and exaggerated from its origin, oral ‘mis-transmission’ occurs.
As a recruitment consultant, I come across this on a regular basis…
Recruitment consultant: “…so, having discussed about your experience and what sort of roles you are looking for, I believe that you will be a strong fit for this role at company X.”
IT professional: “I don’t think I’ll consider this…I “heard” that Company X is terrible.”
Recruitment consultant: “Can you tell me more about “what you have heard”?”
IT professional: “Well, I heard from an ex-colleague that has a friend who knows someone that works at Company X and they said that the manager there is really straight talking and the company is a bit so so…”
When considering a career move, your first step may be to sound out the market from people you know, i.e. alumni, ex-colleagues etc. this is when the opinions of others form your first impression on industries, companies or roles. Are the opinions of others enough to decide on whether you are interested in a role?
When people look for a new job opportunity, the reasons behind it may be very different; it may be for a better career path, new exposure; a change of environment, the list goes on. So when one says a job is “not right” for them, this may not necessarily mean that it’s not right for you.
So when an opportunity arises, never refuse it because of “what you have heard”. Listening to rumours about working for a company is not ideal, depending on the source they may be inaccurate comments. Find out more details, ask questions and decide for yourself otherwise you never know if you have just missed out on your dream job!
Recruitment is not only about what a company is looking for in an employee but also about what you are looking for in an employer.
The recent election of CY Leung as Chief Executive has been the matter of great interest to the people of Hong Kong. Many people have protested that he was not elected by universal suffrage and that he has been seen as being too closely linked to Beijing.
Freedom of speech is something that I value highly and am proud to live and work in Hong Kong where this is protected by law. I do feel though, that a constance barrage of negativity directed at someone before he has even taken office might be counter-productive.
In any organisation, whether a city or commercial organisation, it is important to speak up when we can make a positive difference but surely it makes sense to work with people, even those with whom we disagree, for the common good?