Monday 23 October 2017

Former 'Dragon' Sarah Newman in talks to deal with debt

AIB MEETINGS: Sarah Newman. Photo: Gerry Mooney
AIB MEETINGS: Sarah Newman. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Tom Lyons

SARAJ Newman, the former star of Dragons' Den, is locked in talks with her creditors about resolving her multimillion debts.

Newman, who was once a multimillionaire and featured on Ireland's rich list, has been based in Britain for the last six months while she seeks new opportunities.

She has been in intense talks with her principal banker AIB in recent weeks about how best to deal with her debts and start again in business. "I am not discussing anything about my private life or otherwise," Newman said when asked about her finances. She declined to discuss what options she was looking at to deal with her debts.

Newman was reported to have bagged €30m from the sale of her hotel booking website. With her then-partner DJ Carey, the famous hurler, she embarked on a property investment spree acquiring mansions in the K Club, Co Kildare, as well as a luxury ski chateau in the Alps.

In 2011 Newman along with Carey consented in the Commercial Court to a judgement of more than €9.5m against them in favour of AIB arising from loans and guarantees of each others liabilities.

Newman sold her Monkstown mansion last year and she has also sold Chalet Grace at the foot of the Matterhorn which could accommodate 14 people.

The chalet was finished in 2010 and put on the market for €12.1m. It is not clear what price if finally sold for.

The sales were part of Newman's battle to pay-down her debts to her bankers. She is no longer involved with her former partner Carey.

In an interview last year, Newman said she was going through a "tough" but "cathartic" period in her life. She is no longer an investor on Dragons' Den.

Newman left school at 16 before turning her hotel booking website Needahotel.com, into a success despite having little money behind her.

In interviews Newman has shown determination to keep going no matter what.

"Never give up selling. Keep going back. Rejection can be a good thing, it can help you improve your product," she has told other entrepreneurs.

Fellow former Dragon, Niall O'Farrell, has also faced financial troubles when his Blacktie formal wear business went into liquidation last January.

Last November, O'Farrell sold his Ballsbridge home – three years after putting it on the market and at well under half the original asking price of €14m for the seven-bedroom house on Shrewsbury Road.

Irish Independent

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