Live News

Live News: WeWork to exit bankruptcy and Flutter the ‘pioneer’

Bite-sized servings of the latest in business, tech and current affairs

Bite-sized servings of the latest in business, tech and current affairs

Welcome to the Business Post’s Live News section. We’re here all day to keep you up to date on the latest developments in business, tech and current affairs.

16.57 - Philip Nolan granted temporary injunction to halt dismissal

The High Court has granted a temporary injunction restraining the dismissal of Professor Philip Nolan from his position as director general of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

It comes amid a public row over the Nolan’s - who rose to prominence as a member of the Covid-era National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) - dismissal from the state body this week after five allegations of misconduct were made against him.

As reported by RTÉ, The court was told the dismissal was truly astonishing and extraordinary without any conceivable justification.

The orders prevent SFI from dismissing Prof Nolan, from treating him as having been dismissed, or from appointing anyone else to the position.

Catch up on the story here.

16.20 WeWork to exit bankruptcy

WeWork has won bankruptcy court approval to shed billions in debt, drop unprofitable leases from its office workspace portfolio and leave behind the legacy of its co-founder Adam Neumann.

US bankruptcy judge John K Sherwood said he’d approve the co-working company’s restructuring plan, clearing WeWork’s path the exiting bankruptcy.

Neumann had earlier expressed interest in buying the company out of bankruptcy. The restructuring approval formally closes the door on that possibility.

16.00 Web Summit and the Sheikh

Web Summit hopes to increase the number of start-ups participating at its 2025 Qatar summit by 50 per cent, according to Paddy Cosgrave, as the Arab country seeks to strengthen its ties with the tech events firm.

It comes as the Web Summit chief met with Qatari delegates at the company’s Dublin headquarters on Wednesday.

During the visit, Sheikh Jassim bin Mansour Al Thani, the director of the communications office of the Qatar government, said that the event’s Qatar debut was a “milestone” that embodied the state’s ambition to become a leading global centre for technology and innovation.

Cosgrave, who last month returned to the tech events company six months after his resignation, said: “We had the largest number of start-ups participating in a first-year Web Summit event, anywhere in the world.

“Their eyes were certainly opened when they came to Qatar.”

Read Eoin O’Hare’s full report.

15.03 Barclays IPO hope

Barclays is seeing signs that the yearslong drought in IPOs is slowly coming to an end as corporate chiefs and investors alike have gotten more clarity on central banks’ plans to lower interest rates.

The British bank — which recently helped CVC Capital Partners Plc raise €2.3 billion in Europe’s third-biggest initial public offering this year — sees “more to come” from clients looking to do such deals, said Tom Swerling, who leads the stock underwriting business globally at Barclays.

“We are coming off a low-volume environment because the market was still concerned about interest rate visibility,” Swerling told Bloomberg.

“But with more conviction on that both in Europe and in the US, investors are increasingly looking at IPOs as a source of alpha.”

13.48 Flutter named on Time100 companies for 2024

Flutter has been named on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential companies of 2024.

The Paddy Power-owner - which has seen rapid expansion across the US market in recent years, leading it to move its primary listing to Wall Street - was recognised under the ‘pioneers’ section, alongside global heavy weights such as OpenAI and Epic Games.

“A surging U.S. market is bolstering what was already the world’s largest betting company,” Time wrote of the firm.

“Flutter had 13.7 million monthly players as of March 31 and revenue grew 25 per cent to $11.8 billion in 2023, though it made a $1.2 billion loss after tax. It’s the parent company of online-gaming powerhouse FanDuel, which, amid a sports-betting boom, has made and expanded deals with leagues including the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB, as well as teams.

“Flutter plans to switch its primary stock listing from London to New York to capitalize on the U.S. market, which opened up after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law in 2018 that barred sports betting in several states.

“But Flutter’s growth comes at a time when betting scandals and U.S. gambling addiction are in the spotlight. FanDuel and other companies formed the Responsible Online Gaming Association in March, in an attempt to self-govern.”

13.41 Half a billion customers at risk in reported Ticketmaster cyberattack

Ticketmaster has been the subject of a cyber attack, with hackers allegedly stealing the personal details of more than half a billion customers, it has been reported.

The ShinyHunters hacking group is said to be demanding around £400,000 in a ransom payment to prevent the data being sold on the dark web.

According to reports, authorities in Australia and the US are engaging with Ticketmaster to understand and respond to the incident, with the hackers said to have gained access to the names, address, phone numbers and partial payments details of 560 million of the site’s customers.

Ticketmaster has not yet publicly confirmed the breach.

12.07 New statistics chief

Jennifer Banim has been named the new director general of the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Banim was appointed following nomination from Taoiseach Simon Harris and President Michael D Higgins, and is the first female to lead the organisation since its establishment in 1949.

She takes on the role in her 32nd year of working at the CSO. She joined the state’s stat body in 1991 as a statistician, working her way up to assistant director general with responsibility for economic statistics - the position she has held since 2013.

11.05 Inflation rate increases during May

The rate of consumer price inflation actually increased in May according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office. Releasing its flash estimate for consumer price index in the 12 months to the end of May, the CSO said inflation stood at 1.9 per cent in the period, which is a 0.5 per cent increase on the previous month’s figures.

The statistics body said the rise in the consumer price index during May was driven by a 1.5 per cent jump in transport costs, while food inflation remained sticky at 2.3 per cent.

10.50 Vast majority of restaurant owners expect profits to fall this year

A new survey commissioned by the Restaurants Association of Ireland has found that more than 90 per cent of restaurant owners expect their profits to fall in 2024. The survey also found that more than half of restaurants expect their revenues to fall this year due to lower customer numbers, while close to two thirds (64 per cent) of restaurants plan to cut jobs this year.

The survey, which was conducted by Interpath Ireland, come after there were 47 insolvencies in the food-led hospitality sector in the first quarter of 2024.

“Following this survey, it is now beyond doubt that restaurateurs are seriously concerned for the future of their businesses. My hope is that the government acts before it is too late and we lose so many cherished restaurants and cafés that play a vital social role in local communities,” Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said.

“The time has come for the 9 per cent VAT rate to be reinstated for food-led hospitality businesses. It is the only way to stop the closures and ensure long-term viability for our industry,” he added.

10:06 Irish gender pension gap more stark than pay gap

Irish women have to work for eight years longer than men to retire with the same pension pot, figures from Irish Life have indicated.

According to a new report from the wealth management firm, there was a 36 per cent gender pension gap in Ireland in 2024.

The pay gap between men and women, meanwhile, was 22 per cent.

The pension gap is primarily due to maternity leave and family caring responsibilities, according to Irish Life.

Shane O’Farrell, the director of employer solutions at Irish Life, said that the gender pension gap was not as well understood as the pay gap.

“This is despite the gender pension gap being much larger and having a significant long-term impact,” said O’Farrell.

09.59 Personal data of 560 million Ticketmaster customers hacked

The Australian government is “engaging” with Ticketmaster after a hacking group accessed the personal data of over half a billion of its customers.

According to a screenshot widely circulated on social media, ShinyHunters, an online hacker group, obtained personal and credit card information for 560 million Live Nation and Ticketmaster customers.

The group sought a “one-time sale” of $500,000 for the information.

08.50 Flutter weighs layoffs at its Dublin office

The Irish Times also reports that Flutter Entertainment, the owner of Paddy Power, confirmed that 31 jobs are at risk, including some at its Dublin office, as it seeks to move posts to different locations.

A spokesman for Flutter said the group had made the “difficult decision” to move procurement posts from its office in Cluj, Romania, to Hyderabad in India.

“In addition, HR operations activities will no longer be delivered from our Dublin and Isle of Man offices with these roles moving to other locations,” he added.

“There are up to 31 roles at risk of redundancy, with impacted colleagues notified and now entering a minimum 30-day consultation process,” the spokesman confirmed.

08.45 Mortgages start-up Nua plans to start offering home loans by June

Nua Money, a mortgages start-up backed by the Allen beef barons of Wexford, has secured a licence from the Central Bank and plans to start offering loans through an initial group of 10 brokers around the end of June, according to a report in today’s Irish Times.

The paper reports that the company, co-founded in late 2021 by bond market veterans Fergal O’Leary and Mark Watson, is close to finalising a wholesale funding line from a major international bank. It is expected to diversify financing over time. Bert and Lance Allen, former owners of beef processor Slaney Foods in Wexford, acquired a 40 per cent stake in Nua Money last summer for €4 million.