Weekend Digest


SEEN OR HEARD: Dublin department store Clerys is to be taken over in “days”, according to the Sunday Times. Gordon Brothers, an American restructuring specialist, is poised to take control as early as this week, it says.

Pat McDonagh, the founder of Riverdeep and CBT, has sold his third e-learning venture – Thirdforce – for an estimated $70 million (€53 million) in cash, the Sunday Times reports. Skillsoft, an American e-learning firm, is the buyer.

* The Government has drawn up plans with the European Investment Bank to provide up to €500 million in funding for Irish small and medium enterprises. The Sunday Times says EIB officials last week accepted proposals from Brendan Howlin’s department to channel the funding through the National Treasury Management Agency. It will become part of the Minister’s promised strategic investment fund to help small businesses.

* RTÉ’S revenue model is likely to undergo the greatest overhaul since its foundation with the organisation signalling it is open to reducing its commercial operations, the Sunday Business Post reports. The paper says there is a reluctant acceptance that commercial parts of the business will have to be pared back. It says commercial operators have been struggling since advertising markets collapsed, and if RTÉ were to withdraw from certain services it could provide a lifeline to rival TV and radio stations.

* Fidelity, Capital Research and Ashmore (UK) are understood to have been major buyers in the €1.2 billion bond recently issued by Denis O’Brien’s Digicel, according to the Sunday Independent. It reports that Digicel bankers sold the initial allotment of €540 million in less than three hours, with 130 investors expressing interest before purchase. The remaining €660 million was then released for sale.

* The UK government has raised national security concerns over plans for a £30 billion merger between defence and aviation giants BAE and EADS, and signalled that if they are not resolved it will block the deal, according to the Sunday Telegraph. It says that, along with a list of “red line” issues over the deal between British BAE and Franco-German EADS, focusing on UK defence contracts, concerns exist that 10,000 jobs linked to the EADS Airbus operation in Bristol and north Wales could be put at risk.