Sunday, 10 May 2015

Guildhall Business Library Part.3 (Updated)

I had planned to write a third part to this trilogy because let's face it, two-part trilogies are a bit crap. What I had not expected was to be writing one quite so soon. However whilst going through some of the documents I had gathered from the National Archives I came across this:

As you can see this draft letter (I can't find the final version) states that "it had been circulated anonamously [sic] to Saherholders [sic] and Associates of Television International Enterprises...". Which reminded me of this:

As you may have guessed I am not comfortable with business terminology nor do I feel I am I business minded, but the phrase "Financial interest in T.I.E" to my mind suggests that Thomson Television (International) had either shares or some sort of financial investment in TIE Ltd.

David Stirling founded the Capricorn Society and ended up resigning as Chairman of the Society in 1959. That year, following gambling losses he was obliged to note 
John Aspinall - I owe you £173,500 in the accountant's ledger. Capricorn and his fondness for gambling had left him short of finance and starting Television International Enterprises Ltd had been a way of making ends meet. From the above image, I would infer that he had obviously required financial help to get off the ground. This would suggest a loan, joint ownership or TTI having acquired shares in TIE.

In the first part of my posting about Guildhall library I did mention I was rather pushed for time so had been planning to visit again to tie up some loose ends. I also stated that I had checked the Stock Market Yearbooks. While it is possible that I could have missed the name Television International Enterprises in the yearbooks it is also necessary to look briefly at what a limited company actually is, even if only for my benefit.


Private company limited by guarantee

This is a company that does not have share capital, but is guaranteed by its members, who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company's liquidation. Charitable organisations are often incorporated using this form of limited liability. Another example is the Financial Conduct Authority. In Australia, only an unlisted public company can be limited by guarantee.[1]

Private company limited by shares

Has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public. Shareholders of private companies limited by shares are often bound to offer the shares to their fellow shareholders prior to selling them to a third party.[2]

Public limited company

Main article: Public limited company
A public limited company can be publicly traded on a stock exchange; this is similar to the U.S. Corporation (Corp.) and theGerman Aktiengesellschaft (AG).

Now, ignoring the PLC part because it isn't relevant, it is possible that Thomson could have been a guarantor for any necessary loans that Stirling would have required whilst setting up TIE or there could have been a limited number of shares created at the inception of the company which TTI could have been in possession of. Either way, another trip to Guildhall is required. Who exactly were these shareholders?

Updated: Whilst going through file DO 191/234 from the National Archives concerning Thomson's involvement with television in Pakistan I found that Thomsons had a 15% stake in the Pakistan national broadcaster on a debenture basis and I believe that any financial backing to TIE from TTI would have been done on the same basis but don't know for sure. I thought that was noteworthy. One of the reasons that TTI was brought on board the Pakistan venture was because of its access to programming supplied by TIE and TIE did supply with programmes exclusively Pakistan for a period. One of those programmes was Basil Brush, as well as some COI stuff.

Also, in Smear!: Wilson and the Secret State by Stephen Dorril and Robin Ramsey it states: "Stirling also set up a commercial television company, Television International Enterprises, with funding from Lord Thomson of Times newspapers."
As a bonus I have included this newspaper clipping as a clue to what the next post will hopefully be about:


Smear!: Wilson and the Secret State (Paperback)

by Stephen Dorril (Author), Robin Ramsey (Author)
National Archives files: DO 191/234