Business Irish

Saturday 18 November 2017

Breon Corcoran lands himself bumper deal from Betfair

Breon Corcoran
Breon Corcoran
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Betting on the outcome of the World Cup final in Brazil is only going to make bookmakers richer. One in particular is doing very nicely indeed.

Breon Corcoran, the former number two at Paddy Power, is getting a Megatron-sized pay deal from listed betting exchange Betfair, including a big cheque to cover the costs of searching for a new house and schools.

While Corcoran's basic pay of €1.1m, including a bonus, was nothing to write home about, the real value was in a bumper €8.2m share deal. During the year he was conditionally awarded 850,000 shares (then worth up to €8.2m) under a long-term incentive scheme.

He's already sitting on potential paper profits of €2.35m on these conditional awards.

He also bagged €179,000 in relocation costs as he moved to the UK from Dublin to run Betfair. "The benefits-in-kind for executive directors include life assurance, private medical care, income protection and critical illness cover. In the case of Breon Corcoran, assistance was also provided to facilitate his relocation by way of shipping costs, help with house and school searches and a contribution towards stamp duty," according to the company.

Corcoran has done a decent job at Betfair, cutting costs and tidying up the business, as well as fighting off a takeover approach. Shares have responded well, rising around 50pc since he took over in 2012.


Bono and the mandarin drinkie

Leather trouser-wearing rock god Bono was spotted having a discreet drinkie with John Moran, the outgoing Secretary-General of the Department of Finance last month.

My spies tell me that the U2 frontman met up with Moran for a Wednesday evening swiftie at Rita Crosbie’s uber slick H Bar down in the Dublin Docklands. The Eagles were playing in the O2 that night. Moran and Bono are “personal friends” and have met on a number of occasions say my sources. They were discussing the development of the film industry in Dublin and were joined by a few movie types. The need for new studio space in Dublin is reaching crisis point and where better than the Docklands for a spot of new development. Bono and Moran have also been involved in the Activating Dublin initiative, which aims to promote a start-up culture and push e-payments in the capital

It’s something Bono knows a bit about. His own business interests are increasingly diverse. He is a partner in the technology-focused venture capital group Elevation Partners, which holds stakes in Facebook and Yelp. He is also a backer, along with U2 guitarist The Edge, in Dropbox. These firms are all IDA clients in Ireland, with Yelp recently announcing Irish expansion. Bono has played a stormer as a sort of one man IDA. Back in 2004, he lobbied his pal Sheryl Sandberg to set up Google operations in Dublin, when she was COO at the online giant.

Bono also teamed up with Paddy McKillen and Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore to try to get the so called €200m U2 Tower off the ground in the docklands in the boom. Nama is making noises about reheating the project. With Moran leaving Finance, will Bono have the ear of the new secretary General...or will the department revert to type.


Collisons' $4bn valued Stripe should be buying a bank

Patrick and John Collison are fast on the way to becoming the country's next billionaires. Their smoking hot online payments technology firm Stripe was valued at $2.7bn following the recent fundraising round.

My spies say that they value the firm much higher, with a current price tag of about $4bn. Given that the Limerick entrepreneurs probably still own a majority stake of the San Francisco-based group, this would put them into the dollar billionaire category already.

The boys still live in a bachelor pad in San Francisco where they keep a couple of mattresses so visiting Stripe staffers can crash on the floor.

Stripe is growing extraordinarily fast and deals with the likes of online retail behemoth Alibaba in China are giving them real oomph. The backers of the four-year-old firm have injected $130m into the business, with Paypal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk putting up the cash.

Apple is said to be taking a really close interest in what the boys are up to. Apple is sitting on $160bn in cash on its balance sheet and a move to get on to the other side of the online payments space could be on the cards. The really, really interesting thing for Stripe to do, say my technology spies, would be to go off and team up with or buy a bank to bulk up their product. Now that would really shake up the sector.

Disruption is what the Collisons are all about. It's something they are said to be thinking about. But will they pull the trigger?


Daughter of Ryanair heir launches movie venture

Danielle Ryan, one of the heirs to the vast Ryanair fortune, is getting a movie project off the ground.

A granddaughter of the late, great Tony Ryan, she is in the process of developing a conglomerate ranging from fragrance, publishing and now film. Ryan's Roads Entertainment was awarded a €28,000 fiction development loan from the Irish Film Board for the A Song of Granite project, written by Pat Collins and Sharon Whooley.

This isn't going to be an all action, superhero movie though. "As with the other companies in the group, Roads Entertainment will offer a high-quality product aimed at a discerning audience. Films will be 'commercial art-house' rather than multiplex blockbuster," says the company. "Roads Entertainment aspires to be an international brand and will not be limited to projects set, or talent-based, in Ireland."

Back in the day, Ms Ryan was a working actor herself, appearing in The Tudors and an episode of Casualty before setting out on the road to becoming an entrepreneur like her grandfather. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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