Denis O’Brien (born 19 April 1958) is an Irish multi-billionaire and Communicorp ‘s founder and proprietor. In 2015 he was among the many prime 200 billionaires on the planet and likewise the wealthiest native citizen of Eire.
O’Brien additionally included aviation rental (Aergo Capital), utility help (Actavo), petroleum (Topaz Oil, till 2016), and soccer ( soccer)
Which he retained as a minority shareholder in Celtic F.C .. O’Brien had an inadequate impact on the Moriarty Tribunal’s determination to grant the Esat Digifone consortium, which it led.
Early lifetime of Denis O’Brien
O’Brien was born in Cork Metropolis and grew up in Dublin’s Ballsbridge district. His father was a veterinarian salesman and he at all times accompanied his dad on enterprise journeys, the place he realized methods to “promote and current.” He attended Excessive College in Rathgar and whereas his potential for rugby was stopped attributable to disciplinary points, he was referred to as again so he might play in a faculty championship.
He studied philosophy, historical past and logic and graduated in 1977 from the College School Dublin. In 1982 he graduated with an MBA in Company Finance from Boston School whereas attending UCD. After returning to Dublin, he labored at a neighborhood financial institution as an assistant supervisor, however he resigned and have become a private assistant to Tony Ryan, the proprietor of an plane rental enterprise.
O’Brien has been in data know-how and mass media sectors for essentially the most a part of his profession. He was additionally an element proprietor of vitality corporations, aerospace firms and manufacturing providers.
O’Brien is the director of Communicorp, a European media holding agency. It started its enterprise in Eire in 1989 with unbiased radio stations, such because the Newstalk and At this time FM, which unfold to markets in Jap European international locations and later bought a few of its stations to native operators. In 2014, Communicorp expanded into the UK and acquired eight radio stations nationwide; in 2017, Communicorp transferred its UK radio stations to a brand new unbiased company, Communicorp UK, 98 per cent of which have been owned by O’Brien.
Telecom Esat and Digifone Esat
In 1991, in rivalry with the state-owned Telecom Eireann, O’Brien arrange a telecommunications consortium often known as Esat Telecom. Esat based Esat Digifone in collaboration with Telenor, Norwegian state telecom operator, which efficiently utilized for the second GSM cellular licence in Eire. Circumstances surrounding Esat Digifone’s licencing turned the main focus of the Moriarty Tribunal.
The primary public bid was carried out by Esat Telecom Group plc on 7 November 1997 and coded within the Irish Inventory Change, the London Inventory Change and NASDAQ. In 2000, Telenor bid the corporate for possession, however O’Brien bought it to BT, which was reportedly €250 million out of income.
Capital of Aergo
In 1999, O’Brien co-founded Aergo Capital plane rental firm, of which he held an 80 % stake. From its institution till 2014, Aergo has traded greater than 150 plane price over €791 million (round $1 billion) grossly. O’Brien and his associate, Fred Browne, bought the corporate in October 2014 to the US funding firm CarVal; Browne remained the brand new firm’s chief government officer.
Unbiased Media and Reporting
O’Brien began shopping for shares of Unbiased Information & Media (INM) within the late 2000s, and subsequently spent € 500 million to gather 29.9 p.c of its shareholdings. O’Brien confronted the administration board, significantly former proprietor Tony O’Reilly, who retired as CEO in 2009 and bought a lot of his INM shares in 2014. The second largest shareholder on the time, O’Brien and Dermont Desmond, bought their shares to the Belgian media firm Mediahuis in April 2019; O’Brien earned €43,5 m as a part of the contract.
Whereas he by no means had a majority curiosity in INM, O’Brien was regularly accused of controlling the corporate considerably. In 2014, it was reported that Stephen Rae, a bunch editor at INM, ordered amendments to a column containing a reference to O’Brien from Sunday Unbiased editor Anne Harris. In 2015, Paul Meagher, an O’Brien lawyer, allegedly utilized in 2012 to INM Lawyer Simon McAleese to be able to block an environmental affairs affair, Phil Hogan.
In March 2018, the Workplace of the Director of Company Compliance (ODCE) in Eire appointed unbiased information and media inspectors to analyze an alleged information infringement within the Excessive Courtroom of Eire. Based on an affidavit submitted by the ODCE, Blaydon Restricted discharged invoices for information interrogation.
Unbiased Information & Media was bought to the Belgian Mediahuis group in June 2019, and de-listed from Euronext Dublin, thus ending the group participation of O’Briens. It has been estimated that he has misplaced over €450 m of his INM funding in complete.
The digital dialect
In 2001, O’Brien based the Caribbean, South America and Asia Pacific telecommunications enterprise Digicel. O’Brien used Digicel to create a wi-fi community in Jamaica with money from his sale of Esat Telecom. Digicel prolonged into the South Pacific in the identical yr. Digicel labored in 31 international locations as of 2019.
O’Brien has based the Digicel Basis together with Digicel, which has been partnering with native teams to enhance neighborhood programmes, set up faculties and well being amenities, and encourage restoration. Following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, O’Brien promised € 3.5 million to fund restoration efforts. In 2012 , President Michel Martelly of Haiti awarded the Order of Honor and Benefit of O’Brien for his investments, achievements, and promotion to the area, and in 2015 O’Brien was awarded honorary membership for his service of the telecommunications trade within the nation to the Order of Jamaica.
Digicel was concerned in a giant court docket battle in the course of the 2000s towards the Jamaican Workplace of Utilities Management (OUR). The problem initially arose following Phillip Paulwell, the then Minister of Enterprise , Commerce and Expertise of Jamaica, who instructed OUR to keep away from intervening in Digicel’s pricing insurance policies after DIGICEL had instructed itself to amend its interconnectivity prices.
Although Paulwell was dominated unconscious of getting the facility to offer the instruction OUR, Digicel appealed the ruling with out success on the Supreme Courtroom of Jamaica, which overturning the ruling however was subsequently upheld by the Courtroom of Attraction following a counter-appeal by OUR and on the Privy Council of Jamaica.
In January 2014 the telecommunications correspondent of the Monetary Instances wrote about O’Brien’s intention of extending Digicel to incorporate cellular and fixed-line networks for the following technology, with O’Brien quoted as being impressed by the potential of ‘a shift in world order.’
In 2012 O’Brien acquired IBRC for €45 million from Siteserv, a supplier of utilities; in 2015, it was renamed Actavo. Actavo was bought and managed on the Isle of Man by the O’Brien enterprise Millington.
In 2016, Actavo expanded to the US by buying a structural engineering firm, Atlantic Engineering Companies. Actavo has assisted within the development of Digicel’s fibre networks within the Caribbean.
In December 2013, O’Brien acquired the Irish Financial institution Decision Firm € 300 million in debt owed by Topaz Oil. In December 2014, Kendrick Investments, Topaz ‘s guardian firm , introduced it can purchase all of Esso ‘s Irish operations.
Alimentation Couche-Tard, a Canadian comfort retailer, introduced in December 2015 that it was getting ready to buy Topaz. The gross sales have been concluded in February 2016; Topaz employed over 2000 folks and on the time of sale virtually 35 p.c of Eire’s shopper market.
Profession financial and monetary
O’Brien, together with Invoice Gates and George Soros, participated within the winter assembly of the World Financial Discussion board in Davos, Switzerland.
O’Brien was appointed Director of the Financial institution of Eire in 2000 and Deputy Governor of the Financial institution in September 2005. In September 2006 he resigned as deputy governor in addition to as a member of the court docket of the financial institution (board). O’Brien is alleged to have resigned due to elevated calls for in connexion together with his overseas enterprise pursuits.
Between 2008 and 2016 O’Brien given as much as € 12 million for paying wage of senior officers within the organisation, together with Giovanni Trapattoni, to the Soccer Affiliation of Eire (FAI). O’Brien has been named Honorary Life Chairman of the Eire Soccer Affiliation (FAI) in 2018.
In 2006, O’Brien purchased a 2.82% stake in Celtic F.C, primarily based in Glasgow. Martin O’Neill, former boss. O’Brien formally elevated its stake to 13 p.c by June 2018.
O’Brien acquired Planal SA in 1998, the holding firm for the golf resort Quinta do Lago in Portugal.
O’Brien sponsored the 2003 World Summer season Particular Olympics Video games, which he served as Chairman of the Organizing Committee and later as Chair of the Patrons Board.
O’Brien is a director of Concern Worldwide, a humanitarian reduction company, on the US Board.
O’Brien labored in partnership with the Clinton World Initiative (CGI). After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, O’Brien labored on reconstructing the Iron Market in Port-au – Prince together with the CGI Haïti Motion Community and Digicel Haiti Basis. O’Brien was elected Mayor Jean Yves Jason in 2010 Ambassador of Goodwill for the Metropolis of Port-au – Prince, Haiti who cited O’Brien’s catastrophe restoration help after the earthquake.
In 2012, O’Brien was awarded a Clinton World Citizen Award by the previous United States. President Invoice Clinton, largely due to his contributions in catastrophe reduction in Haiti. Within the 18 months following the earthquake, he additionally contributed to the event of fifty main and secondary faculties. In September 2016, Republican President Donald Trump then despatched an e-mail to sentence the connection between Hillary Clinton and O’Brien, on which O’Brien refused to remark.
O’Brien was a Trilateral Fee member. O’Brien contributed €2.500 to the Irish presidential election marketing campaign of unbiased candidate Mary Davis in 2011.
Relationship with the media
In 2012, O’Brien reportedly threatened Vincent Browne’s journalist and broadcaster for feedback that O’Brien claimed have been defamatory in Browne’s papers. The Sunday Unbiased dismissed the lawsuit as a “worry of monetary catastrophe.”
In February 2013, O’Brien sued the Irish Every day Mail for defamation of his numerous storeys in RTÉ about reduction efforts following the earthquake in Haiti. O’Brien received €150,000 from the court docket. The case was the primary time for the reason that defamation legislation in 2009 was enforced, a journalist had sought to make use of truthful opinion advocacy earlier than a jury on the Excessive Courtroom.
In August 2015, Colm Williamson, the editor-in – chief of the satirical Waterford Whispers Information web site, obtained directions from O’Brien to delete a satirical article about O’Brien. Legal professionals for O’Brien have requested that Broadsheet.ie reproduce the article.
In 2019, O’Brien launched a marketing campaign to defame the Sunday Enterprise Submit concerning the articles written within the March 2015 newspaper. The reviews, which reported on a confidential Worth WaterhouseCoopers (PwC) research to the Authorities on the disclosure of Eire’s banks in 2008 in November 2008, listed O’Brien as one in every of Eire’s 22 largest collectors in 2008.
O’Brien argued that the articles defamed him and harm him and likewise alleged that the publishing was malicious. Within the defendant’s favour, the jury dominated the case dismissed with a price order towards O’Brien.
O’Brien married Catherine Walsh in August 1997, who helped Communicorp turn into the Czech Republic and who was the advertising and marketing supervisor for unbiased radio gross sales. The couple ‘s received 4 youngsters.
O’Brien arrange the Iris O’Brien Basis in June 2000, named after his spouse, by means of which he co-ordinates a lot of his philanthropic actions. UCD awarded an honorary doctorate to O’Brien in 2006.
Wealth and residences
Forbes predicts O’Brien ‘s fortune at round $3.2 billion by February 2020.
A while after his buy of Quinta do Lago in 1998, O’Brien bought his home in Dublin earlier than the sale of Esat Telecom to BT in 2000 and established a main residence in Portugal. Media reviews have indicated that the transfer was instigated by a longtime capital achieve tax exemption within the Irish-Portuguese tax treaty, which supposedly saved O’Brien roughly 63 million euros in tax.
Through the flotation of Digicel on the New York Inventory Change, O’Brien ‘s residential deal with was listed on a March 2006 submitting to the Firms Registration Workplace (CRO) as Sliema, Malta. Whereas O’Brien saved quiet about his change of deal with, the media reported that the dearth of property or earnings taxation on the Mediterranean island was the principle purpose.