The Guardian reports that ING has been sacked as broker to troubled supermarket chain Somerfield just two weeks after one of the firm's analysts issued a sell recommendation on the company's stock.
The company sacked chief executive Alan Smith last month and also issued a profit warning. It's shares have plummeted 47%. ING analyst Clive Black, perhaps not unreasonably, changed his rating of Somerfield from 'hold' to 'sell'. The firm has now been sacked as corporate broker in favour of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.
A spokesman for the company said that ING's downgrade was not the reason for the decision to give the firm its marching orders. He said that 'there was no particular reason (why they were sacked)....It is just down to relationships, and they change'.
Although ING has refused to comment, the Guardian quotes an unnamed 'insider' who described the decision as 'sour grapes'.