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“Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business” out now

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Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business is out now: the first chronology of Irish business, starting with TK Whitaker’s transformation of Irish economic policy.

 

 

A History of Irish Business is the result of nearly four years of research, interviews and writing by a range of business journalists and provides some unique interviews, archive and business history spanning sixty years, in a stunning hardback edition of over 600 pages.

Beginning in 1958 with TK Whitaker’s Programme for Economic Development, this first volume details the evolution of Irish business community in both a domestic and global context and is the first chronology of Irish business.

Published by Ink Publishing, Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business features the work of leading business journalists, profiling the sectors, events, businesses and political leaders instrumental in forming the Irish business landscape. The book includes unique profiles and conversations with a range of influential business leaders spanning six decades of Ireland INC‘s evolution, including Michael Smurfit, Dr TK Whitaker, Denis O’Brien, Wilbur Ross, Herb Kelleher, Peter Sutherland, Dermot Desmond, Martin Naughton, Pádraig Ó hUigínn, Frances Ruane, Gary McGann, Don Keough and fascinating interviews from the archives of Business & Finance, including Tony O’Reilly, Tony Ryan, Tom Roche and many more.

Ireland INC: A History of Irish Business provides a unique source of reference for Irish and international business leaders, entrepreneurs, business students, policymakers, political leaders and historians alike.

Volume one outlines the evolution of the business community: successes and failures, booms and busts, pivotal moments and extraordinary personalities and businesses that have created a footprint in boardrooms across the world.

The book is available to buy online and from Irish stockists including branches of Barker & Jones, Book Centre, Dubray Books, Eason, Hodges Figgis, O’Mahony’s, Ennis Bookshop, Waterstones and WH Smith at Dublin Airport.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s opening weekend bags $450 million

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The opening weekend’s total global ticket sales is the equivalent of £337 million. The nearest rival was Ferdinand which took $13 million (£10 million).

The film was placed second all-time for gross North American box office sales in an opening weekend. This constituted $220 million (£165 million) from the US and Canada.

The 2015 predecessor Star Wars: The Force Awakens took home $248 million (£185 million), a record-breaking amount for North American box offices on an opening weekend.

The Rian Johnson-directed movie is the eighth instalment of the 40-year-long franchise.

Winners announced for 2017 NatWest everywoman Awards

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The winners of the awards have amassed a turnover of £95 million between them.

The everywoman Awards this year was held at The Dorchester in Mayfair, London and was the 15th anniversary of the awards marking female entrepreneurial achievements. Over 100 female stories were showcased to inspire future endeavours.

15 past ambassadors were invited to the event to share their experiences and how the everywoman Awards has benefitted their careers. These included Julie Deane OBE, Pip Murray and Jo Hansford MBE.

Between 2002 and 2006, women on average started up 60,000 businesses in the UK. Now the figure has more than doubled to 126,000.

The winners on the night were:

  • NatWest everywoman Woman of the Year: Victoria Robertshaw, Keelham Farm Shop
  • The ‘Spirit of everywoman’ Award: Prue Leith CBE
  • everywoman Ambassador Award: Charlotte Tilsbury

Category winners:

  • The Artemis Award: Sandra Sassow, SEaB Energy (most inspirational women running a business trading for 18 months to 3 years)
  • The Demeter Award: Julie Wilson and Amy Livingstone, Cheeky Chompers (most inspirational woman running a business trading from 3 to 5 years)
  • The Athena Award: Anne Timpany, On Tap Plumbers (most inspirational woman running a business trading from 6 to 9 years)
  • The Hera Award: Jo Stroud, Mantra Jewellery (most inspirational woman running a business trading for 10 years or more)
  • The Gala Award: Dulma Clark, Soul of Africa (most inspirational and successful female founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model)
  • The Aphrodite Award: Kate Ball, Mini First Aid (founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under)
  • The Brand of the Future Award: Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, FLOWERBX (entrepreneur whose business demonstrates huge potential for growth)
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Pearson sells share of Penguin Random House in $1bn deal

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Media group Pearson has announced the sale of a 22% share in Penguin Random House to Bertelsmann.

The deal is expected to close in September and values Penguin Random House at around $3.55bn.

“The transaction is in line with our strategy and allows us to generate net proceeds of approximately $1 billion, strengthen our balance sheet, return £300m of surplus capital to shareholders via a share buyback and maintain a significant income stream from an ongoing 25% stake in the world’s leading consumer publisher,” Pearson said in its announcement.

“Combining Penguin with Random House has proved to be a great publishing success, as well as enabling some big cost savings,” said Pearson CEO John Fallon. “This has benefited readers, authors, and shareholders.

“Today’s deal enables Pearson to realise a significant amount of the value we’ve helped to create whilst continuing to be part of the world’s biggest and best trade publisher. We will use the proceeds to maintain our strong balance sheet, invest in our business and return £300m to shareholders.”

When completed, the deal will see Pearson’s share fall to 25%.

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EE to introduce balloon and drone-based masts

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Mobile provider EE has revealed its own patent-pending drone and baloon-based mobile masts aimed at improving coverage throughout the UK.

The company claims that its air masts will be able to serve sites where 4G coverage is absent, or to aid search and rescue operations. EE expects to first use the technology in the UK later this year.

“We are going to extraordinary lengths to connect communities across the UK,” said CEO Marc Allera. “Innovation is essential for us to go further than we’ve ever gone, and deliver a network that’s more reliable than ever before. Rural parts of the UK provide more challenges to mobile coverage than anywhere else, so we have to work harder there – developing these technologies will ultimately help our customers, even in the most hard-to-reach areas.”

The drones and balloons will use small cells to connect into the EE network via satellite or 4G.

“Looking ahead, I see innovations like this revolutionising the way people connect,” Allera said. “We’re developing the concept of ‘coverage on demand’. What if an event organiser could request a temporary EE capacity increase in a rural area, or a climber going up Ben Nevis could order an EE aerial coverage solution to follow them as they climb? We need to innovate, and we need to think differently, always using customers’ needs to drive the way we create new technologies.”

Mirror and Express groups in media merger talks

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The owners of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express parent companies have resumed deliberations after two-year break.

Trinity Mirror has confirmed that it is in fresh talks with Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group, which owns Express Newspapers.

“The board of Trinity Mirror PLC notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is at an early stage of discussions towards taking a minority interest in a new company comprising certain of Northern & Shell’s assets,” said Trinity Mirror in a London Stock Exchange statement. “No offer has been made and there is no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

Trinity Mirror is the UK’s biggest newspaper group, with a portfolio that includes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record, and a vast array of regional titles acquired from its takeover of Local World in 2015. It now employs over 6,000 people and is home to around 260 titles.

Express Newspapers, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group. It played a key role in the Brexit referendum, taking a staunch Eurosceptic line. Northern & Shell is also home of the OK! and New! celebrity magazines, and Desmond bought the Express portfolio in 2000 having built up a proprietorship of adult media titles in the 1980s and 1990s. He sold Channel 5 to Viacom for around half a billion pounds three years ago.

The merger discussions come amid an industry-wide move towards consolidation driven by a decline in print circulation and advertising sales.

 

 

 

 

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Murdoch Sky takeover gains momentum

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Deal agreed by 21st Century Fox valued at £11.7bn

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take over Sky via his 21st Century Fox has reached another milestone, with terms being agreed by both sides.

The proposed deal, if completed, will see 21st Century Fox offering £10.75 per share to Sky shareholders, in an acquisition that is expected to complete by the end of 2017 according to the American company’s Nasdaq statement.

“As the founding shareholder of Sky, we are proud to have participated in its growth and development,” 21st Century Fox said. “The strategic rationale for this combination is clear. It creates a global leader in content creation and distribution, enhances our sports and entertainment scale, and gives us unique and leading direct-to-consumer capabilities and technologies. It adds the strength of the Sky brand to our portfolio, including the Fox, National Geographic and Star brands.”

The deal is valued at £11.7bn in order to acquire the 61% of Sky not yet owned by 21st Century Fox. It has already sparked intense political debate, five years on from the phone-hacking scandal that ended Murdoch’s previous attempt to fully acquire the broadcaster.

Sky’s deputy chairman, Martin Gilbert, added detail to the proposal. “The Independent Committee, which was formed with the express purpose of protecting independent shareholders’ interests in relation to the proposal from 21st Century Fox, has given full consideration to the fundamental value and prospects for the Sky Group,” he explained.

“While the Independent Committee remains confident in Sky’s long-term prospects, as laid out in detail at our recent investor day in October, we, supported by our advisers, believe 21st Century Fox’s offer at a 40% premium to the undisturbed share price will accelerate and de-risk the delivery of future value for all Sky Shareholders. As a result, the Independent Committee unanimously agreed that we have a proposal that we can put to Sky shareholders and recommend.

“The Independent Committee also notes 21st Century Fox’s track record in growing businesses and its ability to continue the development of Sky across Europe, in a world where entertainment and distribution are converging. 21st Century Fox’s ownership will support the delivery of Sky’s strategy and long-term growth, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of Europe’s creative industries.”