Business Irish

Thursday 30 March 2017

Twitter's European HQ still in our reach, IDA claims

Social media giant says decision not made yet as talks continue

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE IDA is still hopeful that Twitter will set up its European headquarters in Dublin, despite the company starting a recruitment drive for a future London office.

The company, which has become an internet phenomenon since it was set up in 2006, has begun hiring for a London office that is set to open later this year.

It is the only country outside the US and Japan the firm is hiring in. That move set off a flurry of reports that London had been chosen as the preferred site for a European headquarters.

The IDA has made no secret of the fact that it is working hard to woo the micro-blogging site, while the British government is known to be aggressively courting the San Francisco-based company.

A spokesman for Twitter last night confirmed it was opening an office in London but said no decision had been made on where the European base would be.

"We are opening an office in London [but the site for the] European Headquarters has yet to be determined," he said.

IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary is out of the country but a spokesman for the agency said they were still hopeful of recruiting Twitter to Ireland.

"What Twitter have done is not unusual for the big multinationals. They are putting in place a presence in that market but we remain hopeful that we can still secure an investment from the company in Ireland.

"It tends to be the nature of these projects that a company's activities can be dispersed across a number of locations," he added.

The state agency held discussions with Twitter before Christmas with a view to attracting the company to Ireland to join the likes of Google, Facebook and LinkedIn who have already established European bases in Dublin. Those discussions are ongoing.



Tax

Company watchers believed Ireland was in the box seat to lure the firm here but now rate the IDA's chances of securing them at no better than 50:50. Ireland's low corporate tax rate would have a limited impact on a business like Twitter.

Despite its enormous profile across the globe, the site is thought to make only $50m (€35m) or so annually -- not enough for a slightly lower rate to make a significant difference.

If Twitter does not invest in Ireland, it would be the latest in a series of blows for Ireland Inc.

Yesterday, business media company UBM said it was relocating back to Britain following cuts in the corporate tax rate there while WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, said it was moving its HQ back to London.

Irish Independent

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