Today in the press
TV3 MAY REBRAND AS VIRGIN MEDIA - Irish broadcaster TV3 could be rebranded using the name of its parent company Virgin Media under a plan being considered by the cable TV and telecoms groups.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Virgin Media Ireland’s chief executive Tony Hanway confirmed that it was considering a name change for TV3. "It’s definitely something that we’re looking at," he said. "It has been on the agenda for quite some time. We look at the equity that we’ve built up in TV3 and wonder what it would look like as Virgin Media. There’s nothing to say that there wouldn’t be a Virgin Media [television] station at some stage." Mr Hanway said any rebranding would happen in 2018, which would mark the 20th anniversary of TV3 first going on air. It is understood that TV3 has briefed advertising agencies about the possible branding change. The Virgin Media brand was introduced here in 2015 by Liberty Global, its American owner. The company previously operated as UPC Ireland. TV3 was acquired by Virgin Media in 2015 for €80 million, with UTV Ireland added a year later. It operates three free-to-air channels - TV3, 3e and be3. Mr Hanway said Virgin Media has since invested more than €5 million upgrading TV3's facilities.
DUNDRUM VALUE HIT BY STAMP DUTY RISE - UK property giant Hammerson, which owns 50% of the Dundrum Town Centre mall in Dublin, has warned that recent stamp duty changes unveiled in October's Budget will hit the value of its Irish assets.
Apart from its stake in Dundrum Town Centre, Hammerson also owns a 50% share of the Ilac Centre in the capital, and a 50% share of the Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords, north of the city. It also owns a swathe of development land in Dublin around the Ilac Centre, and a stake in the Kildare Village retail outlet mall, says the Irish Independent. "Following the changes to stamp duty in Ireland as part of the recent Government budget in October this year, stamp duty for commercial property in Ireland has increased from 2% to 6%," Hammerson pointed out in a trading update as it also held an investor day in the UK. "This will directly impact the value of commercial property assets in Ireland, including the carrying value of our own Irish assets albeit income returns are unaffected and remain positive for our portfolio."
COURT AGREES SCHEME WHICH WILL ALLOW GOLDEN PAGES PUBLISHERS TO EXIT EXAMINERSHIP - The High Court has approved a scheme allowing the publishers of the Golden Pages exit examinership and continue to trade as a going concern and securing the jobs of 73 employees.
Mr Justice Robert Haughton approved the scheme put together by examiner Neil Hughes in respect of Dublin based FCR Media Ltd, which publishes the Golden Pages directory, and a related firm FCR Tech UAB. FCR Tech UAB is incorporated in Lithuania and is the Irish based company's sole shareholder and holder of the intellectual property rights to the Golden Pages, says the Irish Examiner. Ross Gorman Bl for Mr Hughes told the court there were no objections to the examiner's scheme, which had secured the approval of the majority of creditors. The trustees of the firm's pension scheme, who had at an earlier stage of the examinership process expressed their concern about the situation, were supporting the scheme of arrangement. Revenue was adopting a neutral stance to the application, counsel added. Counsel also said the publisher had secured fresh investment during the period it was in examinership. The business had employed 103 workers. However, as it has decided to cease publishing the print version and focus on its online business a number of employees that have been working in the printing section had been made redundant. In total some 73 jobs have been saved, counsel said.
UK OFFERS $2 BILLION CREDIT LINE AMID BATTLE FOR SAUDI ARAMCO LISTING - The British government is poised to sign off a $2 billion loan guarantee for Saudi Aramco as London seeks to host the stock market flotation of Saudi Arabia’s state energy group, billed as the largest ever initial public offering.
The UK Treasury said it had carried out substantial due diligence and was now "finalising" the credit backstop with the world’s largest oil producer through its UK Export Finance (UKEF) group. UKEF provides overseas purchasers of UK goods and services with credit lines and guarantees in order to buy British, says the Financial Times. But the Saudi Aramco loan would be one of its biggest ever - the largest was last year’s $2.1 billion guarantee to Oman to support the purchase of BAE Systems military hardware - and one person familiar with the transaction described it as a "desperate" attempt to secure the Saudi Aramco IPO. Another said the timing was "suspect" as it coincides with the UK bid. London and New York are in an increasingly high-profile battle to win the international offering, which Riyadh believes could value the company at $2 trillion, making it the largest ever. US President Donald Trump made a public plea for the listing last week, writing on Twitter that choosing the New York Stock Exchange would be "important to the United States".