O’Brien sets record straight

BILLIONAIRE businessman Denis O’Brien has succeeded in having statements by Independent News & Media, branding him a “dissident shareholder”, removed from the records of the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges.

This was confirmed last night by a spokesman for Mr O’Brien.

As the battle for control of the group smoulders on, Mr O’Brien has built up a 22% stake in the media group controlled by Tony O’Reilly Snr.

Mr O’Brien has attacked the group’s corporate governance practices and wants it to sell its British-based Independent titles, which have run up millions in losses over the years.

Furious at O’Brien’s allegations, IN&M issued a letter branding him a dissident when it published results on March 27.

Mr O’Brien then wrote to both exchanges after the group accused him of trying to destabilise the company. The group said Mr O’Brien’s actions “run counter to the principles of a fair and orderly market for IN&M’s shareholders”.

Mr O’Brien described the letter as “a highly personal and unwarranted attack”, and wrote to both stock exchanges demanding the letter be struck from their records. According to a report in the MediaGuardian.co.uk the London Exchange said as a distributor of information rather than a publisher, it was not required to make a ruling about the validity of its content.

However, Mr O’Brien’s determination to purge the text from the records highlights the animosity between both sides.

Yesterday Cameron O’Reilly, a son of O’Reilly Snr, purchased 103,902 shares pushing his stake to 0.13%. The IN&M board &now holds 29.4%.


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