Seen & Heard
IBM looks to buy Openet
IBM has moved to acquire Irish’s largest private software company, Openet, the Sunday Times reports.
The paper says the move will value the Irish business at more than $500 million, delivering a major windfall for shareholders.
Openet, which won the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011, has raised $50 million since it was founded in 1999.
Openet management and staff own about 20 per cent of the business. The rest is held by private equity and venture capital businesses, including Barry Maloney’s Balderton Capital, which has a 40 per cent stake.
Openet, founded by Niall Norton and Joe Hogan, had been tipped for a Nasdaq listing. It is expected to have revenues of $110 million this year, the paper reports.
That would be up almost a quarter on the $88.6 million reported last year.
Openet and IBM have worked closely in recent years.
Talks on sale of insurer reopen
Talks on selling Irish Life to Great West/Canada Life have reopened, according to the Sunday Business Post.
Talks between the two sides collapsed last year over the value of the business, which carried a €1.3 billion price tag.
That forced the Government to bring the profitable insurer into State ownership.
However, the paper reports that the Irish group’s improved financial performance in the first half of the year, when it managed to quadruple profits year on year, have rekindled interest.
The distribution deal with AIB, previously held by rival Aviva, and an alleged commitment not to cut tax relief on pension contributions to the standard rate of tax, are also seen as key factors behind Great West/Canada Life’s renewed interest, the paper says.
A sale of Irish Life would bring vital cash in to the Exchequer and help reduce the bill for recapitalisation of the banks.
UCD eyes Montrose for students
A British provider of student accommodation is working on a proposal to turn the moribund Montrose Hotel into student digs, the Sunday Times has reported.
Ziggurat is working with Select Retail Holdings to secure permission to convert the hotel into 190 ensuite bedrooms with shared kitchens and living areas, the paper says.
The hotel, opposite UCD’s Belfield campus, was the first opened by legendary hotelier PV Doyle in 1964.
Celtic Sea seismic survey
Fastnet Oil, the exploration company headed by Cathal Friel and featuring a number of the Cove Energy team, plans to spend more than €20 million on the most extensive seismic survey of the Celtic Sea ever conducted, the Sunday Independent reports.
The company is holding talks with a number of major oil groups about sharing costs of the study.