Friday 22 November 2019

Quinn, FitzPatrick put €21m in bombed-out EMPG

Nick Webb

Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn is thought to have invested up to €16m in Barry O'Callaghan's EMPG publishers, which was involved in crisis talks over its €8bn debt mountain last week. Mr Quinn, who banked up to €400m from the sale of his Superquinn empire to property developers at the peak of the boom, is understood to have been one of the largest Irish investors in Mr O'Callaghan's publishing outfit.

Mr Quinn did not respond to a query from the Sunday Independent.

Tarnished former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick is also believed to have invested as much as €5m in the company. The investments were made through financier Domhnaill Slattery's Claret Capital, which put up nearly €52m as part of an earlier EMPG fund raising.

It is not clear if other Claret clients, including the Barry's Tea family or former Flextronics boss Finn O'Sullivan, were also investors in EMPG.

The crisis at EMPG has seen Mr O'Callaghan's wealth evaporate. Just over a year ago his stake in EMPG was valued at somewhere "north of $1bn" on paper. Now his equity and that of many investors has been decimated by the financial restructuring which has seen holders of some of its €8bn debt take control of the company. Hedge fund boss John Paulson, who has endorsed Mr O'Callaghan's management of the firm, is in the driving seat at EMPG.

It is likely that Mr O'Callaghan will try to negotiate a new multi-million dollar stock options package to rebuild his fortune.

Last week, Mr O'Callaghan insisted that he would honour his debts to state-owned Anglo but has dismissed suggestions that he owed the bank more than €200m.

Sunday Independent

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