Sunday 21 January 2018

Peter O'grady Walshe

ROISIN BURKE

The financier turned around collapsed nineties' video rental brand Xtra-vision and led it to a €22m sale to US giant Blockbuster. A decade-and-a-half on, he was part of a group that bought Xtra-vision from Blockbuster for €32m last year.

From a banking family, he graduated from UCD in the early Eighties and worked for accountancy firm Stokes Kennedy Crowley. He joined NCB, where he worked on the flotations of both Greencore and Golden Vale.

He became NCB's corporate finance director in 1989, and it was in this role that he turned around floundering Xtra-vision. It had defaulted on €14.9m bank repayments.

He steered it out of examinership in 1993 and a year later Xtra-vision was bought by a venture capital consortium. He became MD and is thought to also have been an investor. Three years later it was sold to Blockbuster for €22m.

He married Roseanne Corcoran, daughter of Paddy Power founder John Corcoran, in the mid-nineties. He joined the bookie's board in 2000 as finance director and played a key role in priming it for market floatation. He sold 50,000 Paddy Power shares in 2002 for €227,500 and left the group that year.

That year he also assisted a Lehman Brothers fund-vehicle in an audacious bid for Arnotts. It didn't succeed, but it jolted Arnotts' owners into mounting their own buyout.

In August last year, his investment firm Pageant Holdings and a fund run by NCB bought Xtra-vision from Blockbuster. The new owners plan to expand it further into electronic goods and gaming.

The native Dubliner, 48, has interests through Pageant in other media businesses, property development and a health-monitoring technology company.

Sunday Independent

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