Davy shareholders divided on merits of private equity takeover

Seen & heard: Eir payout; Ireland’s next ‘unicorn’; and gaps in SME rescue structure

Shareholders at troubled stockbroker Davy are reported to be divided over the sale of the business.

The Sunday Business Post says shareholders still working with the group oppose any sale to private equity as they fear it may lead to the break-up of the business.

Those no longer working with the group – including leading member of the Davy-16 group of staff at the heart of a deal that saw the broker fined and reprimanded by the Central Bank – are expected to be seeking the best price for their shares. The dissident shareholders believe they can pull together a veto bloc of more than 25 per cent of the stock to block a deal they disapprove of, the paper says.

Xavier Neil, the French billionaire part-owner of Eir, received €150 million in dividends following the sale of the group's mobile telephone pasts last year, the Sunday Times reports. Iliad, a company in which Neil has a controlling 71 per cent stake will have received a further €142 million from the deal. Eir also paid an €80 million dividend to shareholders in September 2019.


The Sunday Independent reports that that US tech giant Microsoft has been given the go-ahead to build two giant data centres and a "landmark" office development at Dublin's Grange Castle Business Park, potentially creating 130 jobs.

The two 60Mw centres would represent an investment of up to €1.14 billion, on the basis of data from construction consultancy Mitchell McDermott, which says that each MW of data centre construction costs between €7.5 million and €9.5 million.

LetsGetChecked, the fast-growing Irish home testing group could join the "unicorn" club of companies valued at more than $1 billion in a new fundraising planned over the coming weeks, the Sunday Times writes. It says the company that has seen sales of home testing kits for Covid-19 rocket, is understood to be in talks with investors on a new funding round greater than the oversubscribed $71 million cashraise last May.

The Times also reports that gaps in the simplified small company administrative rescue process could force thousands of struggling businesses to go to court to restructure their businesses. It cited insolvency expert concerns over handling Revenue debt and unaffordable leases.

Irish investors in an €11 million blue-chip deal to buy an office building in Germany have complained to the Central Bank's enforcement unit after the eight-year investment yielded no return, the Business Post writes. Pension and cash investors in the Merrion Stockbrokers-led deal were told in 2006 that the investment could deliver returns of 9 per cent per annum. The minimum investment was €100,000.

Insurance broker Arachas has bought the leading provider of cover for the Irish taxi industry in its latest expansion. The Sunday Times reports that the purchase of BJP Insurance Brokers is the seventh acquisition by Arachas since 2017, confirming its position as Ireland's largest broker with 300 staff and gross written premium of €350 million a year.

Close to 500 RTÉ staff are receiving annual pay rises, through increments, of almost €1,800, according to the Sunday Independent, citing numbers released to Virgin Media Television managing director Paul Farrell under Freedom of Information. RTÉ froze the increments but was forced to U-turn following an internal industrial relations tribunal.