Business Irish

Monday 15 September 2014

The Punt: TV3's loss is UTV's gain

Published 12/08/2014 | 02:30

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Julie Goodyear as Bet Lynch in a vintage episode of ‘Coronation Street’. UTV has exclusive rights to broadcast the soap in Ireland.
Julie Goodyear as Bet Lynch in a vintage episode of ‘Coronation Street’. UTV has exclusive rights to broadcast the soap in Ireland.
Christine Lagarde

TV3 has suffered another loss to UTV.

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Yesterday it was announced that UTV has appointed Matt Williams as group director of trading for the broadcaster, based in Dublin.

The announcement points out that Mr Williams has more than 20 years of commercial trading experience - most recently as head of trading with TV3, where he was responsible for strategy and commercial revenue talks.

UTV has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast ITV programming in the Republic from 2015, including popular shows such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

The ITV programme rights are currently held by TV3.

TV3 is fighting back and it has tied up the exclusive rights to broadcast the next Rugby World Cup here - in a blow to both RTE and UTV.

But TV3 has suffered a number of staff departures as executives shift loyalties to UTV.

"UTV is an excellent business that has grown considerably in recent years," said Mr Williams.

"The introduction of UTV Ireland is an extremely positive development for the broadcasting industry in Ireland and I am delighted to be a part of the expanding team at UTV's Dublin headquarters."

Ooh. Talk about throwing salt in the wound.

A tale of loyalty in these tough times

Fans of this column (one hopes it's in the plural) might remember The Punt recently highlighted the loyalty shown by workers at a small US supermarket chain to its fired chief executive.

But it's worth touching on it again, because the controversy is still rumbling on - if not worsening - for top brass.

In a decades-old family feud, Arthur T Demoulas was fired in June as chief executive of the Market Basket supermarket chain by a board controlled by his cousin, Arthur S Demoulas.

In response, 25,000 workers have now gone on strike and have held rallies, halting deliveries and leaving shelves unstacked at the company's 71 stores

From warehouse workers to store managers, the striking staff have so far cost the company tens of millions of dollars. As improbable as it seems, they are risking it all for one man. But why?

Employees say the pay is good and the benefits generous. One store manager told financial news wire Bloomberg that she makes $140,000 (€104,000) a year. Her cashiers start at $12 (€8.96) an hour - $4 (€2.98) above the Massachusetts minimum wage, and Christmas bonuses even go to part-timers.

Yet, the money runs a distant second in importance to the intensely-personal bond they say Arthur T Demoulas has fostered with employees during his 11-year reign.

It's a fascinating tale of loyalty in an age - particularly in the US - where corporate managers are at times perhaps more associated with huge executive pay, outsourcing and cut-backs.

This time 
it's different

Baker & McKenzie has become the biggest law firm in the world. Former French finance minister and current IMF chief Christine Lagarde, below, is an ex-chair of the firm. And, like Ms Lagarde, Baker & McKenzie has global reach.

The Chicago-based outfit overtook rivals to become the biggest firm globally, with revenues this year of $2.54bn (€1.87bn). Profits of $910m work out at $1.29m per partner. Baker & McKenzie employs just under 11,000 - of those 4,245 are lawyers, and 1,430 are partners.

Eduardo Leite, Christine Lagarde's successor as head of the firm, is under no illusions about what is driving growth.

"Clients who are very cash rich have finally reached a level of confidence in the market's stability and they are using that cash to do strategic moves," he told trade publication Legal Week.

Not that this splurge is anything to worry about, of course. "All the transactions we have seen lately are very strategic, not like 2007, where it was growth for growth's sake," Leite said.

Well, his hindsight is certainly 20/20.

Irish Independent

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