Analysis: Fallout from the Shakeout

When De Beers launched its "Strategic Review" in 1999, managing director Gary Ralfe promised there would be "no sacred cows." He wasn't kidding. It's been months since the Diamond Trading Company's dramatic pruning of its sightholder list, and the industry is still reeling. De Beers not only gave 20% of its clients their walking papers but also excommunicated some of the industry's biggest names—including companies that had had sights for half a century or more. It's a sign of how sensitive the situation remains that few, if any, sources are willing to go on the record concerning the names of the axed sightholders, despite their being widely known. (In January, De Beers will release a full sightholder list, and it should be clearer who has stayed and who has gone.) With such a dramatic bloodletting, bitterness was unavoidable. The most frequent charge is that De Beers changed the r
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