Irish Financier Quietly Ramps Up Stake in INM

Desmond's 2% stake comes as surprise

Dermot Desmond, one of Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen, made headlines this morning with the news of his more than 2 percent stake in Ireland’s Independent News & Media. He now owns 11 million shares of the company, making him one of its biggest shareholders.

Desmond’s stake comes as a surprise to most, but sources reveal a quiet and calculated acquisition strategy. Using his private equity company, International Investment Underwriting, Desmond started acquiring shares of the media organization in January, with purchases quickening in the past few weeks. The secretive purchasing indicates that perhaps Desmond has a plan for his shares, but recent poor performance at INM has analysts confused as to what that plan might be.

This is not Desmond’s first foray into the world of strategic investments and his specialty seems to be homegrown Irish operations. INM shareholders will be keeping a close eye on the financier, with power plays at Greencore, Esat Digifone, and Barlow in his portfolio. The Irish Times reports that Desmond could be "trying to position himself strategically in the event INM becomes a takeover target."