O’Brien vs O’Reilly: a decade of bitter rivalry

What had once been purely a commercial skirmish turned personal as Denis O’Brien built a stake in the O’Reillys’ empire, writes Emma Kennedy

14th March, 2009

The rivalry between Tony O’Reilly and Denis O’Brien dates back more than a decade, when the pair clashed over Ireland’s second mobile phone licence, which was later sold to BT. A further dispute over Eircom in 2002 was to cement the animosity between the pair.

O’Brien first began building up his stake in Independent News & Media (INM) in 2006. In January of that year the entrepreneur spent almost €60...

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