US private equity giant Apollo eyes checking out of 11 Irish Travelodges

Seen & Heard: U2- and Liam Neeson-backed fund plans crowdfunding website

A private equity fund, VentureWave Capital, which is backed by members of U2, is planning to launch a crowdfunding website, according to reports. Photograph: Getty Images

A private equity fund, VentureWave Capital, which is backed by members of U2, is planning to launch a crowdfunding website, according to reports. Photograph: Getty Images

 

US private equity giant Apollo is weighing up the sale of its 11-strong Travelodge hotel portfolio in Ireland, the Sunday Times reports.

The inns, which include five locations in Dublin, two in Limerick and one each in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Belfast, is expected to fetch up to €275 million. Apollo acquire the hotels in 2018 from Goldman Sachs in a deal that saw it buy 19 hotels and the Tifco hotel group for €400 million.

VentureWave eyes crowdfunding opening

The Sunday Times reports that an Irish private equity fund, called VentureWave Capital, which is backed by actor Liam Neeson and members of U2, is planning to launch a crowdfunding website to take advantage of the fast-growing area of peer-to-peer lending.

The plan follows on from the Central Bank last week launching a new regime to regulate crowdfunding, on foot of recent EU rules. The development has been welcomed by the largest players operating in this space in the Republic, who say it will help develop the market.

Crowdfunding, the practice of funding a project or a venture by raising small amounts of equity or debt financing from a large number of people, has ballooned globally over the past decade, forcing policymakers and regulators to scrutinise the area.

Dunsink site set for rezoning for 7,000 homes

The Sunday Independent reports that Fingal County Council is set to rezone the Dunsink site that previously was the location of Dublin’s biggest landfill facility to provide for the building of 7,000 homes.

The site comprises about 435 hectares (1,074 acres), of which 200 will be made available for development. The plan would see the closed landfill turned into a regional park. The dump was closed in 2004. The rezoning has been recommended by the chief executive of council, the report said.

Flipdish plots European expansion with new funds

Digital food-ordering platform Flipdish, which last week became the State’s fifth official home-grown “tech unicorn” following a $100 million (€88 million) investment led by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, plans to use the new funds to expand its presence in Europe, the Sunday Business Post reports.

The funding, which follows a $48.5 million(€42 million) investment from Tiger Global Management early last year, values the company at $1.25 billion (€1.1 billion).

Founded in 2015, Flipdish positions itself as an alternative to online fast-food delivery aggregators such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats by helping restaurant owners bring their online ordering capability in-house.

Flipdish estimates that there are more than one million potential customers in Europe alone that could use its platform, according to the report.

Aer Lingus warns on ground-handling outsourcing amid stand-off

Aer Lingus has warned that it may move to an outsourced model of its ground-handling operations if staff refuse to accept a pay freeze and cutbacks, the Sunday Independent also reports.

The carrier has claimed in a detailed submission to the Labour Court, amid a stand-off with ground-handling staff representatives, that it faces a difficult financial position and mounting debt that is only set to worsen when it reports annual results for last year. It also faces a €1 billion cost to replace 20 short-haul aircraft, it said.