CITY WHISPERS: ATG scores with Bobby Charlton and Terminator

CITY WHISPERS: Auction Technology Group scores with Bobby Charlton and Terminator

Back of the net: A jersey worn by Bobby Charlton in a friendly match sold for £30,000

As one of the better performers among the companies that floated during the 2021 boom, Auction Technology Group appears to be going great guns.

A strong art market boosted results last week for the FTSE 250 group, which runs seven platforms that connect bidders with almost 4,000 online auction houses.

The first image that may come to mind when you think of auctions is a fusty warehouse stuffed with antiques. 

But the industry is far more colourful than that. ATG once flogged off a decommissioned nuclear power plant.

In the latest six-month reporting period, it was boosted by similarly flamboyant sales.

The Wicked Witch of the West hourglass from The Wizard of Oz set a bidder back a tidy £322,000 and a metal endoskeleton arm from the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day fetched £55,000.

Also, a short-sleeved jersey worn by Bobby Charlton in a friendly match against Real Madrid in 1959 was sold for £30,000.

AGM season not over yet 

For those nearing the end of their endurance with the AGM season, the peak appears to have passed after more than 90 last week. But it isn’t over. 

Shell is bracing for a revolt from eco-groups and green-minded shareholders, and Wagamama-owner TRG faces scrutiny for its pay plans. 

Others under the microscope include: 888 Holdings, BAE Systems, North Sea group Ithaca Energy and Glencore. 

No controversial companies then, eh?

Nanoco unrest 

Manchester tech group Nanoco came out all guns blazing last week when a minority shareholder called for a board overhaul.

Nanoco made headlines this year as it prepared to take South Korean behemoth Samsung to trial in Texas over allegations it used Nanoco’s groundbreaking tech in its TVs.

The pair settled for £120 million before court, avoiding a costly legal battle.

Since then Nanoco has been trying to fend off attacks from investor Tariq Hamoodi, including a particularly salacious piece of allegation-packed correspondence he sent to other shareholders that prompted a public apology from at least one group that published excerpts from it.

As with Samsung, Nanoco will be looking to end this conflict too.

Britain’s space industry nearly doubles in eight years 

Let’s hope that international investors who are keen to put money into space projects have already forgotten about the failure to send satellites into orbit from Spaceport Cornwall in January.

Two months after MP Greg Clark said it was a ‘disaster’ that an attempt to show what the UK was capable of turned ‘toxic’, figures from the UK Space Agency and PwC show investment in Britain’s space industry nearly doubled in eight years.

The country has nabbed 17 per cent of the £37 billion of private money ploughed into the sector since 2015, with the UK excelling in satellites and Earth observation.

With the UK only behind the US for investment, let’s hope it can stay in that position this year too.