Denis O’Brien is on course to become the fourth largest player in the UK radio market after buying eight stations from Global Radio in a deal believed to be worth £35million.
The Guardian reports:
O’Brien’s media company Communicorp, which runs 40 radio stations across eight countries including Ireland, has picked up the stations that Global Radio has been forced to sell off by competition regulators following its £70m acquisition of GMG Radio.
Communicorp has acquired Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester. The eight stations have a combined audience of 2.8 million listeners.
(Enda Kenny with Joe Mulholland, founder of the McGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal in 2011.)
While announcing that the papers presented at the 2013 MacGill Summer School are now available to read online, the school’s founder Joe Mulholland has written a blog post for politicalreform.ie.
“For several years now, and especially since the sudden and brutal fall of the Celtic Tiger, the MacGill School has focussed on reform of the institutions of the state – political, social and economic. With webcasting and the sterling work of our colleagues in broadcasting and the press, this message goes far beyond the conference hall. As has been pointed out many times at MacGill, radical reform of our politics and governance in general has to be a priority if we are not to have recurring crises of the kind we are living painfully through at this time and it has to come from the bottom up.”
“Of course, other European countries are also in deep crisis but we appear to have had nothing but crises since the foundation of the state and have only once been able to offer our citizens the fundamental right of a job in their own country and that was in the first decade of the 21st century. We blew it by having people in authority in various sectors who were, to say the least, negligent and incompetent – and unaccountable.“
Joe Mulholland writes about integrity. Yet he won’t publish my MacGill paper cos it mentions Denis O’Brien. Hypocrisy http://t.co/SrZu11DTEY
Yesterday’s Sunday Times reported about a scheduled photocall with Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Denis O’Brien which took place on October 9.
A spokesperson forLabour’s deputy leader Joan Burton told the paper
“Photocalls for the Tánaiste are a matter for the Tánaiste’s office and the minister has no objection to the same.”
“There has been considerable public and political unease about the fact that Mr. O’Brien has continued to pop up at various public events, most recently at the New York Stock Exchange. However, the Taoiseach was invited to attend that stock exchange event. The organisers of the event not the Office of the Taoiseach decided who was on the balcony for the bell ringing ceremony. It is perhaps time for the Government to reflect on how it should in future interact with people against whom adverse findings have been made by tribunals.”
“We do not want to return to the days of, “uno duce, una voce“, the immortal phrase which the former Fianna Fáil press secretary P.J. Mara, himself a tribunal veteran, used to describe Charles Haughey, nor do we want a Berlusconi style media-political complex with its attendant codes of omertà undermining the principles of transparent democracy. In this regard I welcome the statement by my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on the introduction of legislation to deal with the registration of lobbyists, ethics for public representatives and office holders and transparency in public life. We should look back to the 1830s in the United Kingdom and the great reform Acts which were introduced to clean up politics and end the rotten boroughs for election to Parliament.”
“We live in a Republic and the representation of each citizen should be what counts rather than the amount of money a particular citizen can spend. We can look forward to a period of reform in which this Government will change the political landscape and our capacity to report and hold to account lobbyists.”
“The Ten Commandments prohibited murder and envy but they did not put an end to sin. Similarly, this House needs to legislate for transparency and accountability from all elected representatives and office holders.”
The current edition of The Phoenix magazine reports that the launch of a €40million rights issue, which will lead to banks writing off €141million in loans to Independent News and Media, may see Denis O’Brien’s shareholding in INM rise from 30% to 60%.
It’s believed Mr O’Brien spent €600m building up his 30% shareholding in the company, which owns, amongst other media outlets, the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, The Herald, Sunday World, The Star, and 13 regional weekly titles.
Mr O’Brien’s Communicorp Groups owns Newstalk, Today FM, 98FM, Spin 1038, Spin South West and Highland Radio.
Meanwhile, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is scheduled to pose for photographers with Denis O’Brien tomorrow, at the opening of an international human rights conference, called Dublin Platform, organised by Front Line Defenders, which is chaired by Mr O’Brien.
“Denis O’Brien, the billionaire Irish owner of Digicel Group Ltd., said he wants to bring the Ryder Cup to his golf course in Spain, as buyers pay as much as $3 million for homes at the resort.”
“O’Brien sold about 28 properties last year in his PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, and he expects to sell between 40 and 45 this year, according to an interview with Bloomberg Television. The buyers include Germans, French, Swiss, Russians and Kazakhs, O’Brien said.”
“We have a boatload” of customers, said O’Brien. “These would be high-end properties anywhere from $1 million up to $3 million.”
Friday, September 27, 2013 – Bloomberg
“The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which includes the rump of the failed Anglo Irish Bank, last year tightened its grip on the PGA Golf Catalunya, one of the courses owned by O’Brien’s golf holding company, Murrayhill.”
“The deal gave the IBRC a claim over shares in the club as part of a refinancing. The loss-making resort has struggled to shift high-priced villas in recession-hit Spain.”
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy agreed in the High Court with the decision of a Revenue Appeals Commissioner that Mr O’Brien’s permanent home in the tax year 2000/2001 was Quinta de Lago, Almanscil, Portugal, and not Ireland.
Following an editorial in the Irish Times headlined ‘An Unwelcome Partner’ that warmly greeted the news that Ryanair must sell its stake in Aer Lingus, Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely (above) writes:
…Imagine how the UK media would react if the Irish competition authorities forced BA to sell its stake in British Midland two years later? Perhaps the Irish Times favours Irish merger policy being dictated to or reinvented with the benefit of years of hindsight.
Perhaps in five years’ time they’ll require Denis O’Brien to sell down his 29 per cent stake in INM, where he has considerably more influence than Ryanair has ever had over Aer Lingus?