O'Brien rules out Digicel IPO in near future

Friday 27 September 2013 14.25
Denis O'Brien said Digicel had the best practices of a public company
Denis O'Brien said Digicel had the best practices of a public company

Denis O’Brien has ruled out selling shares in Digicel Group to the public “at the moment”, saying management like to run the company on a private basis.

However O’Brien, who was speaking to news agency Bloomberg, said Digicel still maintained the best practice of a public company as it sells bonds in Europe and the US.

O’Brien said “we were crying our eyes out” after Digicel failed to secure a mobile licence in Myanmar “but you wake up, you keep moving. We are probably going to end up having a very large tower business [there]”.

However he described Vodafone’s decision to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications as “good news for everybody.”

He said the $130 billion sale hit a benchmark and shows a recovery in the value of mobile phone companies.

Separately, O’Brien told Bloomberg that he wants to bring the Ryder Cup to his PGA Catalunya resort in Spain.

He said he had sold a number of properties at the Girona resort last year “anywhere from $1 million up to $3 million”, and expected to sell another 40 to 45 this year.

In relation to Ireland, O’Brien said the economy was improving and there was “much more consumer confidence”.

“We’re seeing that the housing market has bottomed out now and is recovering, particularly in urban areas.”

O’Brien owns Communicorp, which operates a number of radio stations including Today FM, Newstalk and 98FM. He is also the biggest shareholder in Independent News & Media.