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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Smurfit now willing to buy up Nama's 49% share of K Club

Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Michael Smurfit has made it known to Nama that he is willing to buy back Gerry Gannon's 49 per cent share in the prestigious K Club.

The packaging tycoon, who holds the remaining 51 per cent share in the club, is said to be interested in taking over the Ryder Cup venue, which has been trading losses for the past four years.

The move comes as sources close to the two men say they have not spoken for two years.

A source close to the K Club owner explained: "Dr Smurfit is not exactly jumping at the chance to buy the remaining share from Nama but his people have made it known to the agency that he would be willing to take it on.

"No figure has been put on the table and Dr Smurfit is waiting for a response from Nama but they have yet to get back to him."

Mr Gannon and Mr Smurfit bought the Kildare golf club in June 2005 from the then Jefferson Smurfit Group for €115m. As part of the deal, the businessmen also acquired 100 acres of farmland adjoining the course.

The estate became a mecca for Ireland's mega-rich --including racing tycoons John Magnier and Vincent O'Brien, businessman Ben Dunne, property developer Seamus Ross and Ballymore boss Sean Mulryan, each of whom purchased properties on the land.

Things turned sour when Roscommon-born Mr Gannon, who is rarely seen without his trademark hat, stopped paying his side of the costs towards the business venture.

In December 2009 Mr Smurfit, who is based in Monaco, shocked members of the private club when he revealed he was shouldering the entire costs of the business venture he took on with Mr Gannon in 2005.

The claim was made in a letter that was read out on behalf of Mr Smurfit at an extraordinary general meeting at the club.

Sunday Independent

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