Today in the pressFriday 21 March 2014 08.50
DUBLIN-BASED GLOBOFORCE PULLS IPO PLANS, CITES CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS - Dubin-based Software firm Globoforce last night postponed its Initial Public Offering plans. It would have been the first substantial Irish listing in a decade, writes the Irish Independent. However, chief executive Eric Mosley said last night the company would look at floating when market conditions are more favourable. Prior to its decision to postpone the IPO, it reduced the size of the offering but later pulled the flotation plans. “Despite receiving overwhelming interest in our initial public offering, we have decided to postpone our offering until market conditions are more favourable for our company and our customers,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “Our growth objectives and market opportunity remain the same." The company, which helps big corporations provide rewards for their employees, originally planned to raise €54m by offering 4.4 million shares on the Nasdaq giving it a market value in the region of €340m.
JOHNNY RONAN BACKED BY UK Plc IN BID TO BUY OUT HIS DEBT - Developer Johnny Ronan is being backed by Development Securities, a €343 million British property investor listed on the London Stock Exchange, as he fights to finally exit Nama by repaying his personal company debts. Mr Ronan, one of the most high-profile developers in Ireland’s boom, has engaged with Nama in recent weeks in relation to his proposed bid to pay off his debts, reports the Irish Times. He has told the State property agency that Development Securities has expressed preliminary interest in buying out his debts at par, the only way a Nama developer can exit the agency. The move follows discussions between Mr Ronan and Nama about the future of his personal property portfolio. Interest among international investors has surged for assets after Ireland’s exit from the EU-IMF bailout. Nama has put a number of loans books associated with individual developers up for sale in the last six months and it is thought to have considered taking this approach with Mr Ronan. Development Securities was founded in 1993 and its experienced management team has a track record in funding projects by itself and with larger investment funds. A spokesperson for Development Securities did not respond to requests for comment. Mr Ronan could not be contacted.
CORK EXPANSION DEPENDS ON BETTER TERMS - RYANAIR - Ryanair has said that it would still “love” to continue growing its services at Cork Airport, but stressed that expansion is wholly reliant on the airport improving its commercial terms, says the Irish Examiner. Speaking yesterday, the airline’s marketing manager, Kenny Jacobs, said the company would seek to continue growing at both primary and secondary airports around Europe. With regards to Cork - and, to a lesser extent, Kerry - he said that customer demand and sufficient airline capacity are in place, but it comes down to the airports having the right “commercials”, with improvements needed. However, he added that Ryanair is always talking with Cork. Last month, Ryanair’s outgoing deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, said the airline was no longer in talks with Cork Airport regarding further growth, claiming its landing charges remain too high. However, he did say that there remains scope for Ryanair to grow at both Cork and Kerry and that it remains open to suggestion on how it can.
AIRBNB VALUATION SOARS TO $10 BILLION - Airbnb is set to join Dropbox and WhatsApp in Silicon Valley’s $10 billion valuation club with a private fundraising that will price the upstart home-rental site at $2 billion more than the InterContinental hotel chain. Worth just $2.5 billion after its last round two years ago, the sharp rise in Airbnb’s valuation to $10 billion is seen by supporters of the sharing economy as a big endorsement of a new business model, says the Financial Times. However it also comes amid increasing concerns that a dangerous bubble is building in the valuations of technology start-ups. Airbnb, which takes a commission on every booking made through its site, has never disclosed its revenues or profitability. Its fundraising follows Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for up to $19 billion and, in January, Dropbox raised $250m in a round valuing it at $10 billion. This month Seth Klarman, the publicity shy manager of the $27 billion Baupost hedge fund, sounded the alarm over the risks of “nosebleed valuations of fashionable companies”. Airbnb’s rise has been meteoric. Founded in 2008 by roommates who rented out beds to help pay for their San Francisco loft, the company said at the end of last year that it has hosted more than 11m guests in 34,000 cities around the world.