Seen & Heard: what the Sunday papers reported

Stamp duty changes; Swedish bid for Jury’s Inn; INM eyes Business Post

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced in the 2018 Budget that he planned to increase the rate of stamp duty on commercial property transactions. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced in the 2018 Budget that he planned to increase the rate of stamp duty on commercial property transactions. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

 

Government extends stamp duty net

The Government used the Finance Bill last week to quietly extend the scope of a planned increase of stamp duty on transactions involving commercial property to all business assets, the Sunday Times reports.

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced in the 2018 Budget, unveiled earlier this month, that he planned to increase the rate of stamp duty on commercial property transactions from 2 per cent to 6 per cent. The newspaper said that the Government’s move to extend the scope of the increase to all business assets is being seen as an attempt to reach an ambitious budget target of raising €376 million from the measure.

Eir deal with Frenchman stalls on valuation

French telecommunications billionaire Xavier Neil’s attempt to buy a significant stake in Eir have stalled amid disagreement over the Irish company’s valuation, the Sunday Times also reports.

Citing a report from TMT Finance, an industry news website, the newspaper said that a deal is now unlikely to come to fruition. Eir is controlled by three firms, US hedge funds Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.

INM eyes Sunday Business Post

Independent New & Media’s (INM) new chief executive Michael Doorly has told the Sunday Independent that the publicly-quoted media group is interested in buying the Sunday Business Post.

Mr Doorly said that INM has been in contact with Sunrise Media, a holding company for the Sunday Business Post and a Cork printing business, Webprint, about potentially entering the bidding process. INM walked away earlier this year from a deal to buy Celtic Media Group over conditions imposed by regulators.

Stock exchange hires US firm to find a buyer

The Sunday Independent also reports that the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) has hired US investment bank Moelis & Co to find a buyer for the bourse operator and has distributed documentation to interested parties in recent weeks.

It follows from a report in The Irish Times last month that the ISE was looking to join forces with another exchange operator, marking a departure from its previously prized independence, as the firm seeks to position itself for opportunities after Brexit.

Swedish firm to bid for Jury’s Inn

Swedish hotel operator Pandox has emerged as a bidder for the Jurys Inn brand, which is owned by US private equity firm Lone Star, according to the Sunday Business Post.

The hotel company, which has 36 properties, was put up for sale earlier this year for about €1 billion, with Credit Suisse and Eastdil hired to manage the process. Pandox is one of the biggest hotel groups in Northern Europe, with 120 properties in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany.

Kuwaiti, Singaporean funds join AIB share register The Sunday Business Post also reports that the sovereign wealth funds of Kuwait and Singapore have emerged among the top five investors in AIB following its flotation on the stock market in June.

New filings show that the Singaporean GIC fund owns 27.7 million shares in AIB, worth €140 million, while the Kuwait Investment Authority, holds a similar amount of shares. Each holding equates to about 1 per cent of the bank.