Barclays, the UK’s largest investor in Australian start-up Healius, has taken corporate hospitality to another level this year as the “official banking partner” of Wimbledon. As part of this partnership, Barclays has granted its clients exclusive access to the prestigious tennis tournament in London. The Healius chief, Maxine Jaquet, had the opportunity to attend Wimbledon as part of a business trip to Europe, organized by Barclays. This move has drawn criticism from major institutional shareholders and rival bankers for several reasons.
Firstly, some are skeptical about the timing of Jaquet’s European trip, as Healius is currently facing financial challenges. Secondly, the involvement of Barrenjoey, the investment bank led by star dealmaker Matthew Grounds, has raised eyebrows. Barrenjoey has been enlisted by the Healius board to facilitate a capital raising at deeply discounted terms, which would benefit Grounds’ team. This move has displaced long-time bankers UBS, adding to the competitive dynamics of the Australian investment banking landscape.
However, these developments have not been well-received by investors, as Healius has made a series of missteps in recent years. The company’s acquisition of Agilex, a laboratory testing company, turned out to be disastrous, resulting in a significant impairment charge and the resignation of the CEO responsible for the deal. Healius also spent a substantial amount of money on share buybacks, only to find itself in a position where a capital raise was necessary for its survival.
The market observers are perplexed by Healius’ decision-making, and shareholders, including Tanarra Capital’s John Wylie, are understandably frustrated. These controversies raise questions about the company’s financial management and the effectiveness of its leadership.
Despite these challenges, Barclays’ involvement in Wimbledon and its partnership with Healius demonstrate the changing landscape of sports hospitality. Corporate partners are seeking new and innovative ways to engage with their clients and secure business relationships. The opportunity to attend prestigious sporting events has become a valuable asset for companies, providing an unparalleled networking and entertainment experience for their clients.
Q: How did Barclays become the official banking partner of Wimbledon?
A: Barclays, as a key investor in the Australian start-up Healius, secured the partnership with Wimbledon.
Q: Why are shareholders and rival bankers critical of Maxine Jaquet’s trip to Wimbledon?
A: Shareholders and rival bankers are critical of Jaquet’s trip, as it coincided with challenging times for Healius and raised questions about priorities.
Q: How did Barclays’ involvement impact Healius’ relationship with its long-time bankers at UBS?
A: Healius turned to Barrenjoey, led by Matthew Grounds, instead of UBS to facilitate a capital raising, signaling a shift in the company’s banking relationships.
Q: What challenges has Healius faced in recent years?
A: Healius has faced challenges due to a disastrous acquisition, share buybacks, and the need for a capital raise to secure its financial stability.
Q: What does Barclays’ partnership with Healius represent in the realm of sports hospitality?
A: Barclays’ partnership with Healius exemplifies the evolving landscape of sports hospitality, where corporate partners use prestigious events as a means to engage clients and maintain relationships.