Brown Thomas could be sold, Facebook’s tax status and Dublin’s big questions

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Sale time? Brown Thomas and its sister department store Arnotts could be changing hands. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Sale time? Brown Thomas and its sister department store Arnotts could be changing hands. Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

Premier department stores Brown Thomas and Arnotts could be sold following a surprise €4.7 billion bid for their parent, Selfridges Group. Reports say a potential buyer has offered £4 billion (€4.66 billion) for the Weston-family controlled Selfridges. Barry O’Halloran and Jonathan Eley have the details.

Facebook’s decision to allow staff to work from abroad won’t alter its tax status in the Republic, the social media company said after it opened remote work to people at all levels of the organisation. Arthur Beesley and Pat Leahy report on that, while Charlie Taylor and Ciara O’Brien talk to an employment lawyer who believes the Facebook move will “open the floodgates” to a wider trend.

In our Top 1000 series , full coverage of which is available here, we take a look at how the biggest companies have performed, and the trends emerging, over the past year.

In his Caveat column, Mark Paul considers the economic policy questions facing Dublin as it grapples with twin threats from a restructured corporate tax system and how multinationals such as Facebook organise their workforces. How might the city look in five years’ time, he asks.

Lara Marlowe writes from Paris on France’s ‘absolute obsession’ over tax justice, which appears to be catching up with the Republic. She takes an in-depth look at what brought us to last week’s G7 initiative on a minimum corporate tax rate as French president Emmanuel Macron praises his country’s role in the initiative.

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) has claimed investment funds are getting around the rules regulating rent increases and are setting rents “that go beyond the maximum” allowable level, writes Eoin Burke-Kennedy.

Joe Brennan reports that Irish general insurers moved risks tied to a €2.8 billion of premiums in 2019 to international reinsurance companies, equating to almost three quarters of all business written by the industry that year, according to a new report. This could leave consumers at risk if the company ultimately responsible for covering policyholders runs into trouble, an industry veteran has warned.

South Korean businessman JungJin Seo, founder and honorary chairman of Celltrion Group has been named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year for 2021.

Mr Seo beat off competition from entrepreneurs representing 38 countries, including Irish finalist, Nicola Mitchell of agrochemicals company Life Scientific. Ms Mitchell was named Irish EY Entrepreneur of the Year in November last year.

John FitzGerald uses his weekly economics column to look back on the highs and lows of more than two decades of living with the euro.

In our Work section, Olive Keogh considers how remote working affects teamwork, observing that collaboration is great, but requires more than just deciding to do it.

And finally, this week’s Wild Goose is Fiona McEntee, a native of Knocklyon in Dublin who is living the American Dream as an immigration lawyer in Chicago.

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