The Irish Times Deal of the Year: The three finalists

Irish companies Pointy, Green Reit and Decawave all involved in blockbuster deals

The €1.34 billion sale of offices and warehousing group Green Reit to Henderson Park late last year  marked a near 25 per cent premium to the Dublin-listed company’s share price. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The €1.34 billion sale of offices and warehousing group Green Reit to Henderson Park late last year marked a near 25 per cent premium to the Dublin-listed company’s share price. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Building a business that is so successful that Google swoops in to buy it is impressive. Doing it twice even more so. The tech giant paid a reported $160 million (€135.9 million) earlier this year to acquire Pointy, an Irish tech company that helps small retailers to easily get their merchandise in front of online audiences.

The deal netted a huge windfall for the founders with Mark Cummins receiving a $42 million payout while co-founder Charles Bibby and his wife, Helena Bibby, got $39.7 million.

Pointy is Google’s fourth acquisition in Ireland over the past decade. More remarkably, it was Cummins’s second sale to the tech giant. It acquired his earlier start-up, Plink, in 2010 for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that he described as “life changing”.

Ironically, the talented techie was turned down for a job with Google when he applied to the tech giant in 2005.

Barcode scanner

Pointy’s $750 kit is attached to a retailer’s barcode scanner, and products are uploaded to the accompanying app as they are scanned, allowing people to find what they are looking for from local retailers rather than forcing them to order online from the likes of Amazon. The founders have stayed on following the acquisition and continue to lead development of its product platform.

Another blockbuster deal was the €1.34 billion sale of offices and warehousing group Green Reit to Henderson Park late last year, an acquisition that marked a near 25 per cent premium to the Dublin-listed company’s share price.

Henderson, set up by former Goldman Sachs and Mount Kellett partner Nicholas Weber in 2016, was one of three bidders for Green and came out ahead of California-based real estate group Kennedy Wilson and a unit of German savings bank DekaBank.

The deal concluded despite Henderson being on the receiving end of an unexpected €65 billion tax bill.

The acquisition seems to be working out well for Henderson, which recently made an estimated €154 million from the sale of the EBS Building Society headquarters and of 30-33 Molesworth Street, both of which were acquired as part of the Green buyout.

Meanwhile, it was a great start to the year for Irish chipmaker Decawave, whose staff shared a €54 million payout after US-based Apple supplier Qorvo acquired it for $400 million in late January.

The acquisition is believed to be one of the largest – if not the largest – exit by an Irish technology company to date.

Employee plan

Employees shared a stake of about 15 per cent in the business through an employee stock ownership plan.

A large group of angel investors, who put money into the business at an early stage, were also among the winners. The 246 individuals held a stake of up to 56 per cent in the business through nominee accounts.

Others to benefit from the sale include a number of venture capital businesses that came on board over the years including Atlantic Bridge, State-backed China Ireland Growth Technology Fund, Act Venture Capital and Enterprise Ireland, who all had significant stakes in the Dublin-based company.