O’Brien changes the tune at Communicorp
One More Thing: Mark Paul looks at Communicorp, Eddie Hobbs, Jay Bourke et al
Bourke no longer owns Nede, which is inspired by the moss-serving Danish restaurant Noma. “I’m a consultant,” he yelled at me yesterday.
A what, Jay? I can’t hear you. “A CON-SULT-ANT. Sorry, it’s the wind. I’m cycling my bike.”
Bourke is negotiating on behalf of Nede to take over the Charlie’s II takeaway, so beloved of starving revellers, next door.
The lease is available for €60,000, which seems a snip for such substantial road frontage onto Essex Street, one of the busiest in Temple Bar.
The expanded part of Nede will serve tapas and quicker bites than the more formal eaterie next door.
Tapas is on a roll in the Dublin restaurant scene at the moment, with new joints opening up all over the place.
There has been a definite lightening of the mood amongst the city centre’s bar owners and restaurateurs in the last six months. Paddy McKillen and his son, for example, are opening new premises at a rate of knots.
Bourke reckons his empire-building days are behind him. He was hit hard during the bust. But he hasn’t gone away, you know.
Cutting losses at ‘Indy’
Slowly but surely, the Russian investor Aleksandr Lebedev is making inroads into the mountainous losses at the London Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers.
The oligarch bought the newspapers in 2010 for the princely sum of £1 from Independent News & Media when it was run by the O’Reilly family, themselves once pillars of Ireland’s O’Ligarchy.
The Indy/Sindy losses were a bugbear of Denis O’Brien when he was battling for control of INM. It’s easy to see why, looking at the latest accounts for Independent Print, the company behind the titles.
Even after shaving about £5.5 million from the operating costs, the company still made a loss of about £19 million for last year.
Lebedev’s retained losses on the two titles are now hurtling towards £40 million. And to think people thought their £1 price tag was cheap.
This week, journalists at the papers warned they were reaching “tipping point” with the latest round of proposed job cuts.
They should be careful when it comes to taking on Lebedev. this month he received 150 hours of community service in Russia after bopping another man on the nose live on television in a fraught debate.
Capital call for Pilot
The accounts for the fund manager Pilot View Capital show that two of the directors had to stump up loans to it after the company breached the Central Bank’s capital requirements for fund promoters.
Pilot View is owned by some of the great and the good bodies of Irish corporate life. No, really. Bruce Ashmore, the former Goodbody stockbroker, and James Osborne, the Eason chairman and former partner in A&L Goodbody solicitors, are among its shareholders.
The company directors and the two lads’ fellow shareholders include Charles Peel, the founder of Peel Hunt stockbrokers in London; former Deutsche banker Paddy Shanahan; Gerry O’Reilly, another Goodbody alumni; and the former chief financial officer of Smartforce Johnny Fortune, a wonderfully-appropriate name for a hedge fund manager.
Investors in its funds have included Senator Fergal Quinn, according to the Seanad’s register of interests.
The company accounts state that Peel and O’Reilly coughed up €50,000 each after the capital breach, but all is well again.
Life has been tough enough, though, for some of the Pilot View funds. The highly-geared Atlas fund was launched at the peak of the market madness in 2007, and incurred heavy losses.
To be fair to Pilot View, they weren’t alone. Investors everywhere had to fasten their seatbelts during the crash.