Ahead of its half-year results on Thursday, Royal Mail’s parent group International Distributions Services received an early delivery of good news.

Ameriprise Financial, a money manager and insurance giant based in Minneapolis, has snapped up just over five per cent of the delivery business at the end of last month.

The move means Ameriprise holds a stake in IDS worth around £116million, placing it among the firm’s top 10 investors but still well behind its biggest investor, billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who owns more than 26 per cent through his vehicle Vesa Equity.

Writing on the wall: Royal Mail's parent group International Distributions Services received an early delivery of good news

Writing on the wall: Royal Mail’s parent group International Distributions Services received an early delivery of good news

It follows recent results from the US firm when it posted a surge in quarterly earnings in a boost to its boss Jim Cracchiolo. 

The US businessman is the highest-paid chief executive in the state of Minnesota, on £44.2million.

Maybe new IDS boss Martin Seidenberg will want some tips on how to lift the group’s profits as well as his own pay packet.

Former banking boss eyes New Year’s Honours List

A question among City watchers this week is which former banking boss has been calling financial bigwigs seeking to secure a spot on the New Year’s Honours List.

The veteran company fixer, who has led several FTSE 100 firms, is thought to be incensed they are one of the few finance bosses yet to receive a knighthood. 

Tongues are wagging as this person doesn’t have, to put it delicately, the best track record of cultivation.

Chinese insurer Ping An under pressure

Chinese insurer Ping An, best known in City circles for its campaign to break up HSBC, is increasingly finding itself under pressure as the country’s property market continues to teeter on the brink.

Reports emerged last week that Chinese officials had asked the firm to take a controlling stake in ailing builder Country Garden in a bid to halt a collapse that could spark a domino effect across the economy.

Ping An, however, denies this.

But if it is forced into a rescue deal for Country Garden, Ping An will be able to rely on the hundreds of millions in dividends from its 8.5 per cent stake in HSBC, which so far this year have totalled around £405million.

A bank bailing out someone else for a change.

Could THG boss suffer same fate as King Kong? 

THG’s muscle-clad boss Matt Moulding took to social media again last week to show off Wild Kong, a sculpture by French artist Richard Orlinski that depicts a large gorilla beating its chest and roaring.

‘The message is clear – not only do we stand our ground at THG, but we’re a force to be reckoned with,’ Moulding wrote online, posting a picture of him posing with the sculpture.

Someone might want to remind Matt about the fate of the movie monster that gives the sculpture its name. 

King Kong plunges to a tragic end from the top of the Empire State Building. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

                                                                                                                             Contributor: Alex Brummer 

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