Neil has been in the office this morning, annoying us with unnecessary and acute levels of chipperness and his much-vaunted 'can do attitude' which could do with shutting its trap on the first day back after a Bank Holiday. He tells us that he was eating out on Sunday (to save lives and keep alert) and was sure his 11-year old waitress looked at him as if he should only order one course at a time, him being so old that there was a good chance he might peg it before he got to pudding.
She would never have heard of Saga, who provide insurance, travel and 'possibilities' for those over 50. For Neil's waitress the only 'possibility' for people who look like they fought in the Crusades is of certain death and, besides, to get to 50 is a monumental effort and one that should be applauded none too loudly in case they are taking well-earned naps. Well, guess what? Saga is in financial trouble due to the fallout from the Coro ... blah, blah, blah and Sir Roger de Haan who, with a name like that, let's be honest, wasn't born to work the bins, (and who sold the company for £1.3 billion in 2004 and has somehow, by a huge effort, managed to stay alive until today) is returning to Saga as part of a £150m capital-raising to shore up its balance sheet.
Is it only us, or does this seem a tad mean? I mean, Sir Rog, you sold it for ten times that just 16 years ago and have defied all odds to get through to a record-breaking 73. In any event, the deal that Rog and his helpers have come up with will be conducted at a substantial premium on the current share price of just 13.61p, insiders (who were giving him a flannel bath at the time) said this weekend. A further placing of shares, to raise roughly £50 million more, will then occur to give existing investors the chance to participate, they added shushing us, as he was nodding off.
That second tranche of stock may be placed at a discount to the price paid by Sir Roger, who will become Saga's non-executive chairman. And, by the way, for those of you reading this who think we are lacking respect for those over 50 we want to point out that 'saga' means a long story of heroic achievement, especially in a medieval prose narrative in Old Norse or Old Icelandic. In other words, it is a long story of heroic achievement for someone to reach 50 ... which was our point.