Final Word from Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Despite its troubles, Sazka remains one of the most important Czech companies. It's almost trite to say that saving it should be a priority of the sports unions that own it, but there are signs that key decision-makers among the shareholders intend to take a payoff to turn Sazka over to vultures who will strip it clean. On paper, the steps proposed by one such vulture, Josef Lébr, make sense. He told HN that he would bring in an experienced CEO, sell off O2 Arena and other non-core assets, agree with creditors on a haircut, inject new capital, and take a nice reward in shares for turning the company around. Shareholders who believe this fairy tale should recall what Lébr's partner in crime, Radovan Vítek, did to take over the Včela cooperative. Lébr understandably wants Sazka's shareholders to keep out of the turnaround process, but they would do better to initiate these same rescue steps themselves, without the vultures. Their first move should be to weed out those in their ranks who see Sazka's demise as their way to win the lottery.[Czech Republic Czech Property Investments CPI Sigma Hospodářské noviny]

Glossary of difficult words

Sazka - a leading Czech lottery and gaming company;

trite - lacking originality or freshness;

vulture - a person of a greedy, predatory or profiteering nature;

non-core - not essential for the operations of a company's primary business activities;

haircut - in debt-restructuring agreements, a reduction in the amount of debt to be repaid to creditors;

partner in crime - collaborator, accomplice, fellow conspirator;

to weed out - to eliminate, get rid of;

ranks - the people belonging to or constituting a group or class;

demise - the end of an enterprise or institution;

to win the lottery - (in this context) to strike it rich, to make a large sum of money easily.


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