O'Brien vs. O'Reilly: Has the fat lady done her bit?

Is everything done and dusted at Independent News & Media? To judge by the press coverage, it looks that way.

The O’Reillys appear to have triumphed over Denis O’Brien. We’re told that the bondholders owed €200m will take a 45% stake in the company. Surely, INM’s banks will follow up with the renegotiated debt package that we’re told was agreed in principle months ago.

The Indy and the Sindy will remain within the fold. And after paying off €350m-worth of debt, Gavin O’Reilly will carry on as chief executive.

And yet, something feels not quite right. The silence emanating from Denis O’Brien’s side since INM’s board approved the O’Reilly plan on Monday night has been deafening.

O’Brien’s experience as an investor in INM has been nasty, brutish and short. He has lost an estimated 80% of the value of his original investment. Now, in order to make room for the bondholders, his remaining stake will be halved in value.

Historically, O’Brien has struggled to remain quiet in the face of defeat. Has the fat lady sung her last?

A piece in today’s Irish Times suggests not. According to Leslie Buckley, one of O’Brien’s representatives on the INM board, we’ll be hearing “plenty of news about INM over the next few days”.

What could he mean?

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