This chapter traces the career of James Guerin and his establishment of ISC in 1972 as a vehicle for his aspiration to be a major player in the international defence markets. After failing to develop a viable product range, Guerin resorted to covert arms deals on behalf of the CIA, building a highly secretive business that was eventually obliged to register on the London Stock Exchange, rather than in New York, because of the liberal English company law. Whatever the reality behind Guerin’s business model, the firm attracted Ferranti management because of its American and international links.
This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the 1987 merger between Ferranti and ISC, highlighting the involvement of both senior management on both sides and a host of major City of London finance houses and associated firms. The key theme is the way in which contemporary regulations were followed rigorously, providing the opportunity for ISC to cover up some of the more dubious aspects of its accounts. Another issue developed is the personal relationship between James Guerin and Derek Alun-Jones, given the role this played in both the merger negotiations and consequent amalgamation.