BoI withdraws funding for purchase of Desmond adult titles

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The Independent Online

Bank of Ireland yesterday confirmed it had pulled out of a deal to finance the £20m acquisition of 45 of Richard Desmond's adult magazines by the publisher Remnant Media following protests from its customers.

Bank of Ireland yesterday confirmed it had pulled out of a deal to finance the £20m acquisition of 45 of Richard Desmond's adult magazines by the publisher Remnant Media following protests from its customers.

Bank of Ireland had agreed to lend about £7m to Remnant, an acquisition vehicle, to help it buy the titles from Mr Desmond, who also owns the Express newspaper group.

Mr Desmond recently announced he had offloaded his top-shelf titles, including Asian Babes and Big Ones, to Remnant in what was widely seen as an attempt to smooth the waters ahead of a possible bid for The Daily Telegraph.

Bank of Ireland signed up to financing the acquisition as part of its plan to raise its profile among corporate clients and in the City.

However, it backed out after a backlash among customers and interest groups in Ireland. It received a series of complaints, including some from the National Women's Council of Ireland, which threatened a boycott of the bank if the deal went ahead.

A spokesman for the bank said it was "was never its intention to cause offence".

"In the light of this reaction, and as Bank of Ireland values the views of its customers, the bank has informed Remnant Media that it does not wish to continue with its participation in the deal," the spokesman added.

The move will not cause problems for Mr Desmond, who has already received the cash for the sale of the titles into his bank account. But it is thought that the owners of Remnant, Simon Robinson and Aroon Maharajh, will have to look elsewhere for financing. The Bank of Ireland is believed to have provided about £7m of an £11m loan package.

Remnant has ambitious plans to use Mr Desmond's titles to become the first adult publishing company to float on the Stock Exchange.

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