Monday 21 January 2019

The Punt: Varoufakis on manoeuvres

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

Heard the one about the guy who had almost no public profile outside his own country, then became a senior figure in government before hitting the speaking and writing circuit after he was forced out of office?

No, we aren't talking about Tony Blair. Instead we are talking about former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Varoufakis has become a darling of the left since he resigned as Greek finance minister after a stormy six months. Now the firebrand left-wing economist has joined the George Soros-backed Project Syndicate roster of opinion writers.

It is his latest move on top of various interviews that have popped up since he was elbowed out of government in Athens. The Punt can't blame him for Das Kapitalising on his new-found fame.

After all, a quick perusal of the database Nexis shows "Yanis Varoufakis" mentioned 150 times in the English-speaking press between December 2012 and December 2014, and many thousands of times since then. It's ironic though to see Yanis take his motorbike to a website that was part funded by a billionaire currency trader, even if Soros is more left-wing than most billionaires.

Fernandes hits turbulence

Bad news this week for Dublin Aerospace investor Tony Fernandes.

The Malaysian's budget hotel business saw half of its estate evaporate after a partner exited the venture, called Tune Hotels.

Red Planet owned and managed 21 Tune Hotel properties in countries around Asia. But Red Planet has pulled the plug on the partnership and launched its own hotel chain.

Fernandes, right, is the founder or AirAsia, which Dublin Aerospace founder and chairman Conor McCarthy helped to establish many moons ago.

McCarthy still has a tiny stake in the airline, it's understood. Fernandes, who also owns Queen Park Rangers, invested millions of euro in the highly successful Dublin Aerospace, the aircraft maintenance firm, when it was established in 2009.

Last year, Dublin City Council scuppered a €15m plan by a firm in which Fernandes was involved to demolish the Ormond Hotel in Dublin and replace it with a new hotel. It's understood it would have been a Tune Hotel.

Shares in AirAsia tumbled last month as the company's accounting practices were called into question. Fernandes said he'll spend more time focusing on the airline.

Jetting in to putter around

Who won the British Open? Easy, Warren Buffett. At least according to sponsorship and analytics firm Apex Marketing Group.

The Sage of Omaha's NetJets private air travel service got about €6m of airplay during Monday's final alone, Apex reckoned, because its logo featured on the shirts worn by all three golfers in Monday's four-hole playoff. Zach Johnson picked up the Claret Cup, but he, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman each have sponsorship agreements with NetJets, meaning it got a clean advertising sweep.

NetJets gained the most exposure of any sponsor on Monday, but sportswear brand Under Armour got the best bang for its buck in the overall competition.

The Baltimore-based business has big money sponsorship deals with golfers including wonder kid Jordon Speith. But Under Armour also had the remarkable good fortune to have some of its clobber worn by amatuer Paul Dunne during his (almost) fairytale run of good play that on Sunday saw him lead the competition outright. Having the eyes of the golfing world on Dunne was worth a whopping $1.725m to Under Armour, for no cost at all.

Irish Independent

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