Cliff Taylor of the Irish Times writes an article with the headline:
Taylor doesn’t actually give an answer so here’s my take on O’Brien’s decision to sell.
I’m no expert on the markets but I suspect Denis O’Brien is in trouble after his failure to successfully float his company Digicel.
While Denis is fabulously rich to ordinary folk like you and me, on the Stock Market he’s just another billionaire shark swimming around looking for a kill. But great danger lurks here; when a shark attempts but fails to make a kill the other sharks immediately sense weakness and move in to attack. Financial market sharks are a species that have a particular taste for cannibalism.
And really, ‘poor’ Denis has only himself to blame for his predicament. He must have thought he was dealing with bog standard extremely obedient Irish politicians when he presented his fellow market sharks with the following terms and conditions.
Despite the company running at a loss with massive debts of $6.5 billion Denis was intending to:
Retain 61% equity stake in the company and 94% control. Ordinary investors were being offered A shares but he held on to B shares with 10 times the voting rights of every A share.
He’d have the right to decide which directors were appointed to the board, and have control over decisions such as mergers and acquisitions, sale of assets, salaries, dividend payments, and the entire direction of the company.
I imagine, after recovering from fits of laughter, the market sharks quickly got down to the serious business of sharpening their best butcher knives.
So, I think ‘poor’ Denis’ decision to sell Topaz is a desperate attempt to get in some cash, to reduce his massive loans and liabilities before he’s torn to shreds by his fellow market sharks.
Nothing personal you understand, but I hope they get him first.