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BT bosses get wrists slapped over bonuses

Fish rots from head down, apparently

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BT bosses were in trouble yesterday over awarding themselves hefty pay rises and bonuses while the phone company's share price suffered. Sir Iain Vallance, part-time chairman at BT, received £325,000 salary for a three day week, plus an extra £400,000 in bonuses. BT's shares have plummetted almost 40 per cent so far this year - they closed at 900p last night.

One investor told BT: "When a fish begins to go off, it starts from the head," today's Mirror reported.



Online financial information service Hemscott.net is to float on the stock market with a value of £36 million. The shares are on offer at 2.25p to small investors - who need to buy a minimum of £900 worth of shares - and the offer closes on August 1. Former TV boss Michael Grade is non-executive chairman.




Lastminute.com is preparing to announce a revamp to its Website, making it more technologically advanced and more user friendly. But analysts are reported to be worried that the delay in plans, plus the anticipated development costs, will affect short-term results, according the

The Guardian

.


Lastminute was due to launch version 2 of its late-bookings service by June 30.




OnCue Telecommunications, a new telecomms company, plans to invest £230m to provide high-speed digital services to small businesses. The venture aims to use BT's local network next year for services such as voice and data using digital subscriber line (DSL) technology. The group will create 300 jobs over the next three years.




As reported yesterday, LetsBuyit.com has been forced to halve its planned floatation price range. Previously the company had hoped to get between €6 and €7 per share, but market turbulence has forced it to lower its sights to between €3 and €4 per share. It is expected to try and float next Wednesday.




Capital Radio outlined the next phase of its online strategy today, with the announcement that it has negotiated non-exclusive Internet rights to music companies' playlists. This will enable the radio group to stream audio content online for niche audiences. Capital says that it will eventually achieve up to 2.5 per cent of the online advertising market, which is expected to be worth £900 million by 2004.




T-Mobil, Deutsche Telekom's mobile telephony business, is likely to be floated at a conservative price this year to remain competitive, according to the

FT

. Early indications are that no more than 10 per cent of the company would be listed at a price valuing it at below E80 billion. Analysts at Bank Vontobel in Zurich told the newspaper that this was a realistic valuation. ®



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