Irish promoter Denis Desmond has agreed to pay former financial partner Shane Reihill euro 6 million for his 8 percent share in Gaiety Investments.
The issue was settled as Reihill was preparing to take the matter to Dublin’s High Court. Reihill bought into Gaiety before it teamed with Clear Channel Entertainment to buy Mean Fiddler Music Group for £37.9 million ($71.3 million) in 2005.
The MFMG deal gave Desmond a sizeable chunk of the U.K. festival business and considerably increased the value of Reihill’s Gaiety holding.
Gaiety Investments, often in cahoots with Live Nation, now has an interest in most of the U.K.’s major outdoors, including Reading and Leeds, the V Festivals, Latitude, T In The Park, Isle Of Wight and Oxegen, with a total seating capacity of more than half a million.
Desmond told Pollstar there was no dispute over the value of Reihill’s investment, which had been brokered by Price Waterhouse, but admitted that he and his former partner had “disagreed over the details.”
He wouldn’t comment on why he felt Reihill was prepared to take legal action, although Desmond’s business relationship with his former partner looks to have been strained for some time.
A year ago, Reihill resigned as non-executive chairman of LN Gaiety Holdings, a joint venture between Gaiety Investments and Live Nation. Reihill’s stake in Gaiety was through a privately held investment company called Blue Hawk.
The case, which was being brought by Blue Hawk, was scheduled for Dublin’s High Court Dec. 8, although the previous weekend’s Irish papers were reporting that a settlement had been reached.
Reihill almost doubled his money, as he bought for £2.7 million and sold for £5.23 million. His departure means Desmond and his wife now have total ownership of Gaiety.
Apart from the festivals, Gaiety has a stake in Academy Music Group – the national venue chain that’s just struck a branding deal with O2 – and various Dublin venues including the now-defunct SFX, which is being knocked down to make way for a five-story housing development.
Reihill, whose family owns the Tedcastle fuel group, is a serial investor and is executive head of TVC Holdings, which is helping to drive up the share price of Northern Ireland media group UTV by upping its stake to 15 percent. UTV’s share price has risen from euro 84 to euro 92.5 in the last couple of weeks.
Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes, who are best known for their ownership of the Racing Post newspaper, have also helped the price hike by upping their stake to 11.4 percent.
Blue Hawk and Gaiety Investments were also part of the unsuccessful Legend FM consortium that bid for Ireland’s multi-city radio license.