Today in the press

Friday 26 January 2007 20.43
Today in the press

Irish online DVD rental company sold for €3m - Screenclick, the online DVD rental company, has been acquired by the UK's largest online DVD rental service, Lovefilm.com, in a deal which values the four year old Irish company at €3m, writes the Irish Times. Screenclick has over 15,000 registered users and has been funded by private investors including former Smurfit Group chief financial officer Tony Ritchie. The Dublin Business Innovation Centre also has a 12% stake in the company through its seed capital fund. The founder and chief executive of Screenclick, Frank O'Grady, said that he intends to stay on at the helm of the company, which will be rebranded as Lovefilm.ie. The company was founded in 2001 as DVDrentals.ie. The most recent annual return for DVDrentals.ie, which covers the year to last September, show that Mr O'Grady owns just under 41% of the company. The most recently available accounts state that the company had net assets of €7,060 at the end of 2004 and accumulated losses of €122,968.

***
House prices rising faster in the North - The Irish Independent says that house prices may have risen by close to 10% in 2005, a new report says, but prices north of the Border went up even faster. Property prices in the Republic are accelerating, economists at AIB Global Treasury noted yesterday. The cost of housing has been rising by more than 1% a month since July - four times the rate in the early part of last year. Latest figures show prices in November were 8% higher than the same month in 2004. 'This rate could well have accelerated further, given the low level of price increases in December 2004 and early last year,' AIB says. Even this would lag behind the 14% increase recorded in Northern Ireland house prices last year, according to figures from the UK's biggest mortgage lender, Halifax. Scotland was the only part of the UK to record a faster rate of increase, with prices going up 14.8% during 2005.

***
Deutsche Bank trader was 'high- flyer' - The derivatives trader at the centre of an inquiry by Deutsche Bank into a suspected £30m overstatement of his trading position was a high-flying prize winner at one of India's leading business schools, says the Financial Times. Anshul Rustagi, known as Rusty, was runner-up in the 'Leaders in Making' Award, given out by the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow, when he graduated from the institute in Bangalore in 2003.

***
Lineker kicks Golden Wonder into touch - Golden Wonder, one of the best-known names in the UK food industry, has collapsed into administration, putting 850 jobs at risk, writes the Guardian. The crisps and snack maker has suffered mounting losses. The privately owned company, whose other brands include Nik-Naks, Wheat Crunchies, Golden Lights, Golden Skins and Ringos, had faced fierce competition from the market leader Walkers, which has seen its sales boosted in recent years by a successful television advertising campaign fronted by former England footballer Gary Lineker. Employees were told yesterday that Kroll, the administrators, had been called in by directors. The company is owned by London-based Longulf, a private company that also owns The Snack Factory. No one from Longulf was available for comment yesterday.