MOTEL ONE LOOKING TO OPEN IN DUBLIN - Motel One, the pan-European low-cost boutique hotel chain, is actively looking at the Irish market and expects to open at a location in Dublin soon.

Founded by Dieter Müller in Munich in 2000, the company, which opened its first hotel in Offenbach, near Frankfurt, now operates 56 hotels with 15,165 rooms across Germany, Austria, the UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Switzerland. Although the company initially focused on opening design-led budget hotels near urban centres, it soon changed strategy to concentrate on hotels that were in central locations in many of Europe’s biggest cities, says the Irish Times. The company offers flat rates for hotel rooms rather than fluctuating day-to-day prices. Still run by Mr Müller and his wife Ursula Schelle-Müller, Motel One intends to open at least eight hotels with about 3,000 rooms in 2017, with the company expanding into three new countries. The expansion is part of a plan to increase the total number of properties it has to 83, with 24,100 rooms.

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ARDAGH GLASS 'USD RIVAL'S SECRET DATA' COMPETITOR CLAIMS - Global packaging giant Ardagh is being sued in the United States by a smaller rival amid claims that the company, which has its roots in Irish Glass, benefited from the use of illicitly obtained information and acted with "reckless" and "outrageous indifference".

Saxco International, headquartered in Pennsylvania, claims that one of its own employees, Carson Wright, "intentionally and systematically misappropriated" Saxco's proprietary information before leaving the firm, in order to benefit Ardagh Glass, writes the Irish Independent. Saxco, owned by Texas private equity firm The Sterling Group, claims that Ardagh Glass was aware the information had been misappropriated. "Ardagh acted intentionally, with malice, and has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm to Saxco, and has acted with a conscious indifference to Saxco's welfare," Saxco claimed. A spokesperson for Ardagh, which is headed by executive chairman Paul Coulson, declined to comment. Mr Wright was hired by Saxco in 2013 as its sales manager for its US north-west wine region. "Wright had access to Saxco's confidential and proprietary information," Saxco claims.

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WARNING ISSUED ON UPCOMING GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION - Two thirds of Irish businesses are unaware of their obligations under the impending "game-changing" general data protection regulation (GDPR) which comes into law next May, a report has found.

The research, undertaken to mark the Data Summit Dublin event on Thursday and Friday, found that 66% of 150 businesses surveyed across the country did not realise what they would have to do regarding the GDPR, an EU regulation with major implications for companies that do not comply. The research was carried out by iReach on behalf of the Department of the Taoiseach and the Government Data Forum, says the Irish Examiner. The regulation was ratified following four years of negotiation, replacing the existing data protection directive. Unlike an EU directive, which can be implemented over a certain time, the regulation is made law once it begins in May 2018, meaning penalties can be imposed from day one. The regulation is designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe and to protect citizens’ data privacy. It not only applies to organisations within the EU but also to firms that do business inside member states. If companies fail to comply with the regulation, they can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20m.

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CLUBS AND BROADCASTERS SEE RED AFTER PREMIER LEAGUE TV VIEWING TAKES DIVE - Premier League football suffered the biggest drop in viewing on Sky TV for at least seven years, raising questions over the popularity of live sports as well as the sustainability of a lucrative source of funding for English clubs.

Average viewing on Sky's live TV channels fell 14% over the past season even after it paid two-thirds more to show the matches under the latest three-year deal with the Premier League at about £10m per game, writes the Financial Times. Total viewing hours also fell 6% over the course of the season for Sky, which spent a total of £4.2 billion to show 126 Premier League games every year, according to figures from Sky and BT based on the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (Barb). BT, which paid £960m for its share of the rights to show 42 games per season, recorded a more modest fall of 2% in average viewing across a season in which Chelsea regained the Premier League title. Any evidence of a sustained fall could deal a critical blow to TV networks and sport groups that have become reliant on live sport to drive revenues for their businesses. Broadcasters are under pressure as "cord-cutters" switch off their set-top TV boxes in favour of internet-based rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile, the English Premier League's position as one of the world richest sports leagues is based on the ever-rising value of its broadcast rights.