Allure of Emerald Isle

Ryanair chairman, David Bonderman, seems well and truly enamoured with the island of Ireland as a location to invest.

This week, Mr Bonderman and two of the founding partners of his investment vehicle, Texas Pacific Group, joined with the US venture capital group, Atlas, to take a $6 million (€5.8 million/ £4.6 million) equity stake in the Belfast-based Internet video company.

Together TPG and Atlas have taken a 33 per cent holding in the Northern Ireland company which is toying with the idea of floating either on the London market or Nasdaq in the next year to 18 months.

The bulk of TPG’s investments are in the airline sector with substantial holds in the US Continental and America West airlines. In the Republic, TPG is a shareholder in Ryanair and is the biggest shareholder in the Irish aviation group AerFi. TPG also has investments in a range of companies in the entertainment and e-commerce sectors with shareholdings in groups such as Virgin Entertainment.

Mr Bonderman’s introduction to BlackStar was undoubtedly through his Ryanair boardroom colleague, James Osborne, who is chairman of the Belfast-based group. His involvement is a boost for BlackStar which is rapidly becoming one of the biggest Internet retailers of videos and digital video disks in Britain.

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