Mr Spencer has survived decades in cut-throat markets to agree the biggest deal of his life. It will earn him more than £670m if completed. “Michael is nimble, like an alley cat” according to a former colleague!
He got another jolt when he was fired from his job at Simon & Coates, the stockbroker, in 1979 after racking up losses in the gold market when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He was later fired from Drexel Burnham, trying to cover up a trading error. That led him to set up Intercapital in 1986 with three friends, to negotiate deals between banks in the emerging swaps market. Survival looked far from assured but a $1bn Salomon Brothers order set him on his way.