Business Irish

Thursday 21 August 2014

McIlroy's Sunseeker bonus

Nick Webb

Published 09/06/2013 | 05:00

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Rory McIlroy and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

GOLFER Rory McIlroy is one of the major beneficiaries as Irish private equity group FL partners sold its Sunseeker luxury yacht business to Chinese property firm Dalian Wanda for over €350m.

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The firm's iconic speedboats have been featured in James Bond films and have been used by the likes of Michael Douglas, Simon Cowell and Chelsea footballer John Terry.

FL's "flip" represents a staggering 10-fold return for the private equity group owned by Peter Crowley and Neil Hughes on their buyout three years ago.

McIlroy owns a stake in Portofino Investments, which held a 65 per cent chunk of Sunseeker. He is likely to bag close to €2m from the buyout.

FL Partners bought into Sunseeker back in 2010 as part of a €30m-plus deal. Other investors in the buyout included British transport tycoon Brian Souter, who owns stagecoach. Sunseeker had been struggling badly as a result of the financial crisis.

The deal is a massive success for FL Partners, which has also been involved in the €200m buyout of the Racing Post in 2007, as well as the €70m purchase of Kayfoam.

Irish Independent

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