Saturday 25 October 2014

The Punt: Paddy Power scores own goal

Published 05/03/2014 | 02:30

Oscar Pistorius pictured
Oscar Pistorius

PADDY Power boss Patrick Kennedy has been defending the fact that the company has been running odds on whether South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will be found innocent or guilty of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

But despite the negative reaction to the adverts, Mr Kennedy believes there's nothing wrong with offering odds on a major news event. And while companies such as Paddy Power play on irreverent mischief, there seems little doubt that this marketing ploy has backfired.

Mr Kennedy yesterday held his hands up at a media briefing in relation to Paddy Power's sponsorship of US basketball player Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea in January.

It's easy to use such despots as figures of fun, but try justifying it when the regime executes its citizens for misdemeanours such as having a DVD of a foreign soap opera. Mr Kennedy admitted Paddy Power erred in sponsoring Rodman's trip. The Punt wonders if he'll be forced to backpedal on Pistorius.

Forget about 'free' interns

WHAT does the word "intern" mean? In Ireland, it appears to mean one of two things. For some firms, it's a management executive's 17-year-old nephew or niece, taken on "as a favour", who sits around blank-faced all day. For a struggling SME, it's someone young (and naive) who's worked to the bone "to give us a hand" and "help us over the hump" before being let go four months later.

Both scenarios usually have one thing in common in the classic Irish business psyche: free labour.

But if you work in the tech sector, you can forget about free interns. A report from career website Glassdoor.com shows that tech interns are starting to make good money. In fact, it found that many tech interns in tech hotspots such as San Francisco were earning up to $7,100 (€5,350) per month, considerably higher than any country's average industrial wage. The reason is simple: 19-year-old tech interns often have as much skill as 27-year-old staffers. That means they can code with the best of them.

There appears to be scant evidence of interns in Dublin making that kind of money. However, there are now very few tech firms (genuine tech firms, as opposed to re-badged marketing firms) that pay nothing to interns. Even as kids, coders now wield leverageable financial power. It's just supply and demand.

Goodbody puts rivals in shade

YOWSA! A&L Goodbody has scooped another gong out from under the noses of rivals like Arthur Cox, William Fry and Matheson. It has been named Irish Law Firm of the Year 2014 by legal industry bible 'The Lawyer'.

Now the Punt reckons it's a little early to be celebrating 2014, but A&L Goodbody certainly had a busy 2013. In particular the Dublin firm advised on M&A deals with a combined value of €20bn last year.

For some that might be a sad reflection of the great Irish sell-off, but "every cloud . . ." as they say.

A&L Goodbody can certainly boast a serious client list right now.

It is head legal adviser to the liquidators of IBRC on their sell-off programme; acted for Elan in helping see off last year's takeover approach from Royalty Pharma; and subsequently to seal its sale to Perrigo.

The firm also advised on IBM's takeover of The Now Factory; on AIG's disposal of aircraft leasing giant ILFC to AerCap; and for Telefonica on the sale of 02 Ireland.

Managing partner Julian Yarr, expressed his delight at his latest award with a none-too-subtle reminder to rivals that it isn't the first he's picked up.

"Coming on the back of a number of other recent awards and accolades, it is a testament to the quality and talent of our people who provide the highest level of service to our clients on a daily basis," he said.

The award itself was handed out at a black-tie dinner in London. At the event, hosted by BBC broadcaster Mishal Husain, the Irish legal eagles rubbed shoulders with their European peers and rivals.

Irish Independent

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