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Saturday 24 March 2018

Millionaire investor swoops to rescue of Residence club

Businesswoman Olivia Gaynor has confirmed she is in advanced discussions over A-list socialite haunt, writes Niamh Horan

MILLIONAIRE businesswoman Olivia Gaynor has come to the rescue of the Residence, the Dublin private members club. The Killiney entrepreneur, who is married to technology businessman Brian Long, has confirmed her Jersey-based investment company Tarrango Limited, is in "advanced discussions" with the receiver Jim Stafford regarding the acquisition of the Stephen's Green club.

The move follows months of speculation surrounding the takeover of the socialite haunt, which is favoured by A-list celebrities such as Bono and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as well as many of Dublin's high-profile set.

Ms Gaynor, who also owns an exclusive restaurant and private members club in the trendy village of Soho, New York, is expected to finalise the deal in June.

The development will come as a relief to the Stokes brothers, who are expected to work closely with Ms Gaynor in the day-to-day management of the club.

As a source close to the brothers explained: "Chris and Simon are very keen to continue working in Residence. This is a way in which the club can continue to stay open and they can continue to manage it, albeit under a new tenure. That's all the boys want at this stage."

The pair were lambasted in court earlier this year after it was discovered they had not been passing their 58 employees' tax and PRSI payments to the Revenue Commissioners, to whom they owe €1.2m.

Now sources say the pair will have to wait several months to discover their fate as a result of the non-payments. "It has yet to be decided how the brothers will be reprimanded but the findings should be out within the next six months."

Although ownership of the club will be handed over to the entrepreneur, sources say Ms Gaynor understands the importance of the brothers' input in the success of the popular hangout. "It is hoped she will sit down with Chris and Simon in the coming weeks to discuss their roles.

"Although she will be sole owner, they are expected to have involvement and will help Ms Gaynor build on its success to date" said the source. "They are, after all, the face of the club and are known to its members. The big changes will be behind the scenes."

Sources close to Tarrango say that "nothing has been finalised yet but there will be inevitable discussions with the Stokes brothers regarding their potential involvement. However nothing can be decided in that regard until the deal has been finalised".

Since opening its doors in May 2008, Residence has attracted 1,450 members, each paying a joining fee of €250 and an annual subscription of €1,600 at the height of the boom. The rent of the building, owned by Treasury Holdings boss Johnny Ronan, still stands at more than €200,000 a year.

Ms Gaynor, who is already a member of the private St Stephen's Green club along with her husband, is involved in property investment and has previously graced the social pages due to her charitable work.

For several years the high-profile couple has held an annual fundraising ball in their Killiney mansion, Kenah Hill.

Hundreds of the rich and famous are invited to the annual black-tie affair, where Bono, a neighbour of the couple, has previously donated drawings, which were auctioned in aid of Darfur.

Ms Gaynor's husband Brian Long made his €38m fortune from the sale of Ceva, a microchip business that he co-founded.

He currently invests in and chairs BridgeCo, a California technology company in the networked entertainment sector and is also involved as a director of venture capitalists Atlantic Bridge Ventures. He will not be involved in his wife's new investment.

Sunday Independent

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