Business World

Monday 18 November 2019

O'Reilly gains in Heinz buy out

Tom Lyons

SIR Anthony O'Reilly was one of the beneficiaries of the $23bn sale of Heinz – the bean-maker he once led – to Warren Buffett and 3G Capital.

O'Reilly declined to confirm how much he gained from the sale, but it is understood to be in the tens of millions when shares owned both personally and via his pension are combined.

The former CEO of Independent News & Media is among the so-called "special situation" clients of IBRC who have significant debts with the bank, now in liquidation.

O'Reilly owed IBRC €70m when it was nationalised but he has since reduced this to about half that when using cash he made from selling energy monitoring business Landis+Gyr.

O'Reilly owes a significantly larger sum to other banks, including AIB, BoI and ACC. The former rugby star is being advised on his financial affairs by Bernard Somers, the noted restructuring expert. He has committed shares in Providence Resources and other assets to his bankers.

Mr Buffett said one of the reasons why he bought Heinz was because he had become fascinated with the iconic company after hearing O'Reilly tell tales of the ketchup maker at the house of the former Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham.

Meanwhile O'Reilly's son Gavin, the ex-chief executive of INM, has become chairman of Red Flag Consulting, a lobbying firm set up by Karl Brophy, who previously worked in corporate affairs at INM.

Irish Independent

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