In which Denis revels in an upbeat profile in the Business Post and celebrates even more deals both by himself and his older and slightly cleverer colleague Dermot
Huzzah on getting that whopping apology from the Sunday Times for implying you weren’t the man behind the IFSC. Does the pope shit in the woods?
That man O’Dowd! The man who once ran the headline ‘Denis O’Brien, praised by Clinton and NY Times, seeks to make a difference’ is back – on Denis O’Brien. In the Business Post. Fawning again. He might as well be Jim Morrissey.
“Ireland produces its fair share of global business leaders but none quite like 56-year-old Denis O’Brien, the wealthiest Irishman around”, he wrote. “His franchise is best described by that new buzz word philanthrocapitalism – giving back in spades to help make his business better and the world better too.
In Haiti, where his company Digicel holds the main telecom license, he has built 100 schools.
He saw what Bill Gates and others now see before they saw it – that philanthrocapitalism was a far better way to achieve success and make a difference than just building up a bank account’.We are not robber barons’, he says pointedly”. Top-class scraping, Mr Desmond, but there’s more: “The Digicel Haiti Foundation announced last October that it has built its 100th school in Haiti. We have 30-40 people, surveyors and engineers, our own team that is actually doing the school building”.
All true. All true.
Dowd also helpful in inoculating against that whole O’Royally thing. He quotes me again:
“I can relate to difficulties. Everyone has this false impression that everything in business is a staircase you know, always going up. It is never like that. My first business for instance was a big failure, so it is part of every business life. I would sincerely hope everything will be sorted and okay for him [O’Royalty]. He is a hugely talented person who has man impact for Ireland globally and did an incredible amount of work here in the U.S. to do with the Ireland Funds. I only met Tony O’Reilly twice in my life [But I can tell you, Dermot, there were a few years where I only stopped thinking about him twice]. One time, he was very kind to me when I was graduating from Boston College. He kindly met me because I was looking to see what I should do and it was very helpful. Then the second time I met him was when there was a peace pipe when he was ready to step down as CEO of Independent Newspapers and to be honest with you there was no rancour on his side, zero rancour at all”.
Rancour of course didn’t really do it. Think Denis dangling old stallion’s severed testicles in front of its nose. Anyway O’Dowd went on to the business side of the thing. Not that that mattered to me of course. Was simple: Badly run with no internet strategy. Gobshites!
Here’s what he quoted: “I thought it would be a good hedge to the telecoms. As it turned out it wasn’t because the media and newspaper sector worldwide collapsed, but that’s business. At the end of the day there has to be pollination between online radio and TV and newspapers. I was up with a business in Canada last week, Rogers, and they have a massive network across all platforms, and whatever business they have is cross promoted across everything else. When I told one of their main guys about the restrictions in Ireland the guy fell off the chair laughing. He said, ‘You gotta be kidding me, that is stone age stuff’”. Good to get that in. Smart. Stoic. Entrepreneurial.
Enjoyed the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September. Gerry Adams and Mary Robinson joined Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and me; but no sign of you again. Or O’Reilly of course.
Flogged majority stake in Aergo Capital to Global investment firm CarVal for undisclosed sum.
Aergo’s pre-tax profits rose to $2.28 million (€1.7 million) in 2013. Brought Johnny Sexton back to Leinster on a four-year international contract. He’ll be an ambassador for Topaz at €150,000-€200,000 per year. Interesting to see how he gets on with Cowen.
Of course this prompts the SIPTU-heads in the IT to ask “is there no end to Denis O’Brien’s intervention in Irish sport?”. “Something doesn’t feel right about billionaire chipping in to bring Johnny Sexton home”, on and on they moaned. Tax exile and all that shite. Gobshites. Commentary I don’t read. And I am not alone. I was talking to my friends and they don’t bother reading commentary anymore. They are sick of the extremist criticism. They and I just don’t read it. At all. Ever.
Morrissey does little else though. Thundrous letter slagging off the Times: “Clearly Malachy Clerkin doesn’t want Denis O’Brien to support Irish soccer or Irish rugby. Maybe Malachy is a sports journalist who simply does not like sports. Yours, etc”.
Love sport. Soccer. John Delaney: class act. John O’ Shea’s last-minute equaliser. The craic is just great. The people you meet. Keano’s beard. The slagging is lightning. The same kind of fun as rugby but different. Wouldn’t play with Mick Wallace though. Miserable gobshite asking privileged questions in the Dáil: “there would be some unease about the fact that Denis O’Brien’s close political links may have been instrumental in his bid to buy Siteserv, the company that won the State contract to install water meters for Irish Water”. Howlin went for him though: “Bluntly, considering the deputy’s position, I am surprised at some of the assertions he has made”. Free Pass for me.
Enough of me. I see your €200 million joint venture Broadhaven Credit Partners is in discussions with property developers about building hundreds of new homes in the greater Dublin area. Will never forget your masterly 2006 sale of your 22 per cent property play in Greencore, at a profit to poor Liam Carroll. And suitably impressed you’re taking a punt on Vahna, a cyber-security firm – in line with your long-term involvement in Daon, the biometric firm. And that you bunged a few million into Star Fantasy Leagues (SFL), an online fantasy sports-game start-up which pays out to winners.
For, except in Gelsenkirchen, winning is what it’s all about, Dr Desmond.