Reading & Understanding the Financial Times
Updated for 2010-2011

By Kevin Boakes
Pearson Education
February 2010
ISBN: 9780273731818
241 Pages
$57.50 Paper original

Reading and Understanding the Financial Timesanalyses a selection of topical FT articles with recurrent themes relating to some of the most important issues in the world of corporate finance, leaving you ready to conduct your own analysis the next time you read the FT for business or pleasure

About the author
Online web content
The podcasts
A message to readers . . .
A message to teachers . . .
The podcasts
Publisher’s acknowledgements

Topic 1
Introduction to corporate finance: the goals of companies.

Poor communications puts Sport’s Direct off track
Article 1 Sports Direct warning stumps investors
Lucy Killgren and David Blackwell
Financial Times, 27 April 2007
Activist shareholders demand change at Logica
Article 2 Logica’s chief quits in wake of warning
Roger Blitz
Financial Times, 28 May 2007
Article 3 Investors expecting change at LogicaCMG
Maija Palmer
Financial Times, 30 May 2007
Not so easy for Sir Stelios!
Article 4 Sir Stelios spells out fears for EasyJet
Kevin Done
Financial Times, 24 November 2008

Topic 2
Financial institutions featuring investment banks

Financial markets watch the new Fed Chairman
Article 5 Bernanke to give a taste of more transparent Fed
Andrew Balls
Financial Times, 14 February 2006
The roller coaster life of an investment banker
Article 6 How long can the good times last? Bankers cautious despite bids and bumper bonuses
Peter Thal Larsen
Financial Times, 27 November 2006
Article 7 JPMorgan to cut prop trading desk
Francesco Guerrera, Justin Baer and Jeremy Grant
Financial Times, 4 November 2008
More transparency needed at the Bank of England
Article 8 Bank to give better guidance over rates
Chris Giles and Scheherazade Daneshkhu
Financial Times, 3 May 2007

Topic 3
Financial markets

At 1.30 p.m. in London all eyes are on the screens
Article 9 Surprising US job creation data rally stock markets and dollar
FT Reporters
Financial Times, 2 June 2007
Financial markets standing at a crossroads
Article 10 Bond yields spark credit concerns
Michael Mackenzie, Richard Beales and Joanna Chung
Financial Times, 8 June 2007
Article 11 Bond market sell-off
Lex Column
Financial Times, 8 June 2007

Topic 4
Debt finance
Greek government launches new bond issue
Article 12 Athens prepares 50-year bond issue worth €500–€1bn
Kerin Hope
Financial Times, 18 January 2007
Japanese convertibles back in fashion
Article 13 Convertibles stage a return to fashion
David Turner
Financial Times, 8 February 2007.
Bulldog, Yankee and Samurai bonds . . .
Article 14 Record samurai deal by Citigroup
Mariko Sanchanta
Financial Times, 6 September 2005
European bond markets start to diverge.
Article 15 Flight to liquidity pushes eurozone bond yields apart
Joanna Chung
Financial Times, 27 February 2008

Topic 5
Capital structure

MyTravel on the brink
Article 16 MyTravel Shareholders offered 4% in £800m debt-to-equity restructuring
Matthew Garrahan
Financial Times, 14 October 2004.
Blacks Leisure hit by global warming
Article 17 Blacks Leisure falls into the red
Tom Braithwaite and Maggie Urry
Financial Times, 4 May 2007
Looking for the ‘right’ way forward
Article 18 UK investors dig in over pre-emption rights
Kate Burgess
Financial Times, 22 October 2007

Topic 6
Equity finance

Hargreaves’ founders float all the way to the bank
Article 19 IPO values Hargreaves at £750m
Sarah Spikes and Lina Saigol
Financial Times, 12 May 2007
Article 20 Hargreaves Lansdown soars on debut
Sarah Spikes
Financial Times, 16 May 2007
Good value at Sainsbury’s?
Article 21 Valuing Sainsbury’s
Lex column
Financial Times, 17 May 2007
As Woolworths died we try speed-dating for the last time!
Article 22 Woolies investor opposes sale
Tom Braithwaite
Financial Times, 20 November 2008

Topic 7
Stock market efficiency

Company share split down the middle
Article 23 Stock splits: time to query decades of dogma
John Authers
Financial Times, 8 April 2007

Topic 8
Private equity finance featuring management buyouts

Private equity firm fills its Boots
Article 24 Boots provides takeover acid test
Chris Hughes, Tom Braithwaite and Andrew Taylor
Financial Times, 21 April 2007.
Economic slowdown provokes unease at private equity firm
Article 25 3i chief Yea quits following steep fall in shares
Martin Arnold
Financial Times, 29 January 2009

Topic 9
Dividend policy

Have share buybacks gone too far?
Article 26 Shareholders taking a stand on handouts
Chris Hughes
Financial Times, 19 May 2007
Printing money pays big dividends for De La Rue
Article 27 De La Rue pays a special dividend
Tom Griggs
Financial Times, 23 May 2007

Topic 10
Mergers and acquisitions

Sophisticated European company into hot metal seeks more sympathetic
partner to rescue them from a very unhappy prospective partner. No time wasters please. Call 0905 560 4000
Article 28 Discussions unlikely to yield white knight
Mariko Sanchanta
Financial Times, 2 February 06
Article 29 Mittal goes on Arcelor charm offensive
Peggy Hollinger
Financial Times, 31 January 2006
Can Japanese sauce spice up US Hedge fund?
Article 30 Poison Pill’s strength under analysis
Michiyo Nakamoto
Financial Times, 15 June 2007

Topic 11
Risk management and hedge funds

The $2 pound puts pressure on UK companies
Article 31 Exporters curse dollar’s drag on profits
Chris Hughes
Financial Times, 14 May 2007
So tell me what do these hedge funds actually do?
Article 32 Facing down the threat of tighter rules
James Mackintosh
Financial Times, 20 June 2007

Topic 12
Bank failures featuring Northern Rock and Citigroup

Bank 1 – Northern Rock: the road to nationalisation
Article 33 Fresh turmoil in equity markets
Krishna Guha, Michael Mackenzie and Gillian Tett
Financial Times, 11 August 2007
Article 34 Repo Market little known but crucial to the system
Michael Mackenzie
Financial Times, 11 August 2007
Article 35 Growing sense of crisis over interbank deals
Gillian Tett
Financial Times, 5 September 2007
Article 36 Bank throws Northern Rock funding lifeline
Peter Thal Larsen and Neil Hume
Financial Times, 14 September 2007
Article 37 Brown saw no other option
George Parker and Peter Thal Larsen
Financial Times, 18 February 2008
Bank 2 – Back in the USA the government acts to save Citigroup
Article 38 US government agrees to take biggest stake in Citigroup
Francesco Guerrera and Alan Beatte
Financial Times, 28 February 2009
Appendix: The secret places inside the Financial Times . . .


Kevin Boakes is a senior lecturer in the School of Accounting and Finance at Kingston University. He has written for the Times, the Observer, Guardian and The Financial World Tonight. Prior to teaching Kevin was the Chief UK Economist for Greenwell Montague Gilt-edged, which is now part of HSBC, where he was responsible for providing spot-on advice to bond traders as soon economic stories hit the news screen.

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