Tag Archives: Denis O’Brien


He’s buying everyone.

Except the people he’s suing.

The Irish Times reports:

Jonathan Sexton’s commercial agreement with Denis O’Brien, which played a significant role in bringing the Ireland outhalf back to Leinster next season, confirms the new IRFU strategy of keeping hold of their most precious commodities. Basically, the provinces can now top up central contracts with private funding….

Sexton agreement with Denis O’Brien confirms IRFU’s strategy (Gavin Cummiskey, Irish Times)

(Photocall Ireland)

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“The Competition Authority must urgently review the extent of Mr O’Brien’s influence in newsprint, digital and radio. It needs to assess how that would be affected by a deal with TV3 in the areas of advertising and talent-sharing. The Competition Authority should seek to determine whether INM and Communicorp have engaged in any joint selling of advertising involving their respective platforms and the value of any such transactions.”

“That there is already co-operation between INM and Communicorp is not in doubt. In addition to scratching each other’s back on editorial matters there is also a growing trend for “contra” advertising. In 2012 INM received the equivalent of €500,000 in advertising from Communicorp and those stations received the same amount in return.”

“Last year those respective figures had increased to €1m. The authority also needs to find out what business arrangements, if any, exist between Mr O’Brien’s Topaz Energy, the country’s biggest oil and convenience brand with 330 stations, and INM’s newspaper titles.”

From an editorial in yesterday’s Sunday Times, further to the news that TV3 is planning to form a partnership with Communicorp, the radio group owned by Denis O’Brien.

Previously: Anything Good In The Sunday Times?

Topaz The Morning To You

Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

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Independent.ie will run a ‘behind-the-scenes’ documentary, hosted by Barry Egan, about FAI chief executive John Delaney from Sunday.

The documentary, called John The Baptist, will feature Denis O’Brien who pays 70 per cent of Ireland football manager Martin O’Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane’s wages, or €910,000 of their combined €1.3million wages.

In it, Mr O’Brien praises Delaney’s running of the FAI, which recently secured a debt write-down of €11.7million.

“John Delaney could run anything. John Delaney could run UEFA easily. He could run FIFA as far as I’m concerned — certainly better than [FIFA President] Sepp Blatter, and more honestly.”

Right so.

And sure he’s great craic too.

Coming soon: John The Baptist (Independent.ie)

H/T: Balls.ie

Previously: Meanwhile, At The FAI

denisBaloonDenis O’Brien


And why he doesn’t need to own the Irish Times.

‘Cantillion’ writes:

“The deal might appeal to O’Brien for other reasons. The [Grand Canal] theatre is one of the best modern buildings in Ireland. It would be a shame to see it lost to the State until its lease runs out in 2207 if it was acquired by an international buyer.
O’Brien is a fan of good architecture so he can also appreciate its aesthetic value. The talented Seán Billings, who died in 2012, was facade consultant on the theatre’s remarkable visage and on O’Brien’s notable Digicel headquarters in Jamaica.
O’Brien is at his peak in business terms for the next few decades but perhaps he is thinking even further ahead by bidding for the theatre. It is a good business to own but it would be an incredible asset to ultimately bequest to the State. It would be quite the final act if the billionaire was so minded.”


*attempts to uncurl toes*

A new player appears in theatre-land (Irish Times)

(Photocall Ireland)


The early edition of the Sunday Independent on July 20, 2014 (top) and Stephen Rae, group editor of INM  (above)

Further to SindoGate

The order to stop the presses was made by Stephen Rae, the group editor of INM’s titles, after he was informed by a senior journalist about the contents of the column written by Anne Harris, the newspaper’s editor.
The decision to change Harris’s copy against her wishes led to a heated discussion in the newsroom shortly after 7pm last Saturday, according to sources in the newspaper. Explaining why the presses had been stopped, Campbell Spray, the newspaper’s executive editor of operations, told colleagues Rae was his “ultimate boss”.

Mark Tighe, Sunday Times (behind paywall),

Irish newspaper editor’s column was changed after going to press (Roy Greenslade, Guardian)

Previously: Uncompromising

Denis O’Brien’s Editorial Interference: The Smoking Gun?


Bewildered Student writes:

“Where the hell is the NUJ [National Union of Journalists]?”


(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

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Today’s Irish Sun

 In today’s Irish Sun, (behind paywall), Neil O’Riordan writes:

“Business tycoon Denis O’Brien coughs up a staggering 70 per cent of [Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane's] pay packets – which amounts to €910,000 of the combined €1.3million wages.

“We have learned that O’Neill earns a cool €1million a year while sidekick Keane collects €300,000 per annum.”

Meanwhile, RTÉ reports:

The Football Association of Ireland secured a debt write-down of €11.7 million, delegates at their Annual General Meeting in Athlone heard today.”

“Today’s AGM was Chief Executive John Delaney’s tenth at the helm of the Association, a period that has been financially challenging for the FAI. In his review of the year, he said the highlight was the refinancing of the stadium debt. The Board recently asked Delaney to continue as chief executive for another five years, a move that’s expected to cost the association €1.8 million or €360,000 a year.”

FAI debt write-down totalled €11.7m, AGM hears in Athlone (RTÉ)

Boys in the Green (Irish Sun)

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The  Sunday Independent early edition (top) and later editions (above)

The current edition of The Phoenix magazine claims that Sunday Independent editor Anne Harris has agreed early severance terms with Independent News and Media and will leave in October.

Yesterday’s Sunday Independent published an opinion piece by Ms Harris claiming that The Phoenix article was entirely incorrect, saying: ‘the whole story is a lie’.

However Ms Harris’ column in the  Saturday Night Edition of the Sunday Independent – which reaches shops in Dublin on Saturday night – was different the paper’s later edition – which usually reaches shops nationwide early Sunday morning. to wit:

Gavin Sheridan, of TheStory.ie, writes:

There was one critical paragraph that was substantially edited between editions (there are other changes too but I think this is the more significant). The early edition of the paragraph was written thusly (emphasis mine):
‘Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it. In practice, he does.
But in the later edition of the paper, it said:
‘Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it.’
I’m not sure this clearly significant change could be blamed on an over zealous sub-editor. The meaning of the entire paragraph has been altered. Why was the column changed and by whom? Was it done with the permission of the editor and author? Which column represents the truly held beliefs of that author? Surely it can’t be both?”


Why was this Anne Harris Sunday Independent column modified? (thestory.ie)

Thanks Gavin



The purchase of three major Irish businesses over the past two years by the billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien involved total bank write-offs of more than €300 million.
The deals saw the businessman invest €230 million to acquire the Siteserv Group, the Topaz Group and the Beacon Private Hospital.
The Siteserv deal saw the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is now in liquidation, write off €110 million of the €150 million it was owed. Mr O’Brien’s move to become the major shareholder in the Topaz Group earlier this year involved the IBRC writing off slightly more than half of the €304 million it was owed.

Banks write off over €300m in three deals with Denis O’Brien (Colm Keena, Irish Times)