Gibney Communications MD acquires 30% share

Donnchadh O’Neill is buying into the PR company founded by Ita Gibney

Gibney Communications founder Ita Gibney with managing director Donnchadh O’Neill. Photograph: Fennells

Gibney Communications founder Ita Gibney with managing director Donnchadh O’Neill. Photograph: Fennells

 

Public relations firm Gibney Communications is completing a management buy-in that will see managing director Donnchadh O’Neill acquire a 30 per cent equity share of the business from founder Ita Gibney.

The buy-in is being funded by a combination of a personal investment by Mr O’Neill and “sweat equity”, whereby his dividend payments will contribute to the acquisition of the stake. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Gibneys, which was founded in 1995, is a well-known company in corporate, financial and public-sector PR, with clients including KBC Bank, Aldi, Dublin Port Company, Maynooth University and Irish construction multinational BAM.

Its recent activity includes assisting the Irish Solar Energy Association in its push for more recognition for the solar energy sector.

‘Planned, logical step’

Ms Gibney, who is executive chairwoman of the company, said she believed it was a benefit to the company and its clients to remain independently owned.

“To be able to share ownership of Gibney Communications now is a planned, logical step,” she said. She will retain 70 per cent of the business.

Mr O’Neill, a former print journalist and RTÉ radio producer, has been with Gibney for a decade and took over the day-to-day running of the company in 2012.

He leads a team of 15 that includes recent account director appointments Karen Jones and former journalist Sarah Stack, who joined from the Irish Independent.