Derek Quinlan

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Derek M Quinlan is an Irish businessman prominent in the field of real estate investment and development. A former tax inspector at the Irish Revenue Commission, he formed investment syndicates of high-net-worth individuals and to buy properties across the world. His principal investment vehicle was Quinlan Private, a private equity firm with offices in Dublin, London and New York. Quinlan's period of greatest prominence and success coincided with the peak of the global real estate bubble in 2004-7.[1] In 2009, he resigned from Quinlan Private and moved to Switzerland on the advice of KPMG.[2] His loans have since been transferred to Nama (National Asset Management Agency of Ireland) and various assets have been sold, including artwork from his private collection.[3] In September, 2014, it was reported that he had reduced his debts by more than €3bn through a series of asset sales over the prior 5 years.[4] In 2017 Quinlan returned to the European property market acting as an adviser for several deals, including one of the largest property bids in European history worth an estimated €1.3 billion.[5] In 2018, Quinlan’s wife secured a multimillion euro profit from the sale of a stake that she held in the AIB Bank Centre site in Ballsbridge.[6]

Early life and career[edit]

Quinlan was born in Dublin in 1947, the son of an Army Officer. He attended Blackrock College and University College, Dublin. He began his career as an accountant with Coopers & Lybrand before joining the Irish Revenue Commissioners as a tax inspector. In 1989 he went into private practice, founding Quinlan Private as an asset management firm for high-net-worth individuals.[7] He specialised in investing in tax designated areas in the 1990s in Ireland supporting Irish government policy in relation to property renewal, regeneration and job creation.

Notable transactions[edit]

In 2003, Quinlan's car parking company Park Rite saw a turnover increase of 60% from €876,995 to €1.4m. Founded in 1975, Park Rite managed approximately 25,000 spaces in Dublin, Wicklow and Galway. It operated many of Dublin's biggest city centre car parks, including Arnotts, Irish Life and Drury Street.[8]

In 2004, Quinlan gained 1% ownership of Wentworth, one of the most exclusive gold courses in Britain, through the Savoy deal.[9] Also in 2004, Quinlan headed an investment syndicate that bought The Savoy Group for £750 million, giving it control of landmark London hotels including Claridges, The Connaught Hotel and The Savoy Hotel. Quinlan outbid competing buyers, including Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Some months later, Quinlan sold The Savoy Hotel to the Saudi prince for £250 million,[10] while retaining the other hotels in the group, subsequently renamed The Maybourne Hotel Group.

In 2005, Quinlan Private won the financier the deal of the year award at the Variety Club property awards for the Knightsbridge Estate acquisition.[11] The same year, a group of investors led by Quinlan outbid the Abu Dhabi royal family to acquire a £530 million Knightsbridge estate, including retail, hotels, offices and residential properties.[12]

In 2006, it was reported that Quinlan had more than €5 billion worth of assets under management. Quinlan Private joined up with Chicago property company Golub to set up Quinlan Private Golub, an investment fund targeting eastern Europe. He acquired the Chelsea Harbour Hilton, a landmark hotel frequented by English Premiership football clubs for £53.5m. Quinlan Private purchased the €300m Diagonal Mar shopping centre in Barcelona in 2006, representing Spain's largest yet single property transaction.[13] That year, Quinlan was investor in another syndicate that bought the Irish Glass Bottle development site in Dublin's Ringsend for €413 million. Anglo-Irish Bank was the principal lender. As of 2009, the site remained undeveloped and the value was written down to €60 million. In 2010, Anglo-Irish Bank's loan on the site was transferred to Ireland's National Asset Management Agency.[14]

In 2007, Quinlan Private acquired Irish hotel chain Jurys Inns for €1.165 billion. Some months later, Quinlan obtained a €200 million investment in Jurys from the sovereign wealth fund of Oman, as part of a plan for further international expansion of the chain.[15] The same year the firm acquired the Citigroup headquarters at 25 Canada Square for £1 billion, in a joint venture with PropInvest.[16] In April 2007, Quinlan's investment firm acquired a portfolio of 47 Marriott hotels in the UK for £1.1bn.[17] Also in 2007, Quinlan was a co-investor in the acquisition of the Madrid headquarters building of Banco Santander for €1.9 billion.[18]

In 2008, Quinlan led a consortium that acquired the Bank of Ireland Headquarters in Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, for 180 million euros.[19]

In June 2017, it was reported that Quinlan was advising a consortium of European investors on an estimated €1.3 billion bid to buy the Brussels building that houses the Belgian finance ministry. His firm Quinlan Real Estate is leading the bid, which involves one of the largest property transactions in Europe in recent years.[20] The deal will be the largest in Belgian history and the second largest single-property sale in Europe in recent times after the sale of Coeur Défense in Paris.[21] The Finance Tower includes a 10-storey block that was built adjacent to the original 31-storey building and it houses more than 4,500 office workers in more than 2.4 million sq ft of floorspace.[22]

In 2017, Quinlan also acted as an advisor for an €8m deal for the acquisition of the former motor tax office in Dublin. Office agents expect the new block to be of particular interest to UK legal firms planning to relocate to Dublin as a result of Brexit.[23]

In 2018, Quinlan’s wife Siobhán emerged as a joint shareholder of a multimillion euro prime site in Ballsbridge that is earmarked to become Facebook’s international headquarters.[24] The site had been acquired in 2015 for €67.5 million. Planning permission to build a high-end office block was subsequently secured and the value of the site increased to €120 million. Quinlan then sold her stake to Los Angeles-based real estate investment group Colony Capital.[25][26]

Business difficulties[edit]

The financial crisis of 2007-2010 severely impacted Quinlan's liquidity.[27] He has since reduced his debts by €3 billion.[28] In 2009 Quinlan resigned from Quinlan Private and moved to Switzerland on the advice of KPMG.[29] In April 2011 a receiver was appointed on behalf of the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) to take charge of a number of properties owned by Quinlan, after he had failed to repay loans to the agency totalling hundreds of millions of Euros.[30] In September, 2014, the Sunday Independent reported that he had reduced his debts by more than €3bn, the biggest single repayment of debt by a single borrower owed to the National Asset Management Agency and other banks.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Quinlan has lived in Dublin, London, Switzerland and Abu Dhabi.[32] As of 2016, he resides in Monaco.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Hipwell, Deirdre (4 March 2005). "Quinlan private". Property Week. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  2. ^ "'Hotel sale was massive success, I am working hard to repay my debt'". Irish Independent. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Nama sells more of Derek Quinlan's art – at massively reduced prices". Irish Times. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Derek Quinlan slashes debts by €3bn through major asset sales". Sunday Independent. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Well-known Celtic Tiger financier Quinlan eyes dramatic return to European property market -". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Financier Derek Quinlan's wife eyes millions from sale of stake in AIB Bank Centre site -". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Quinlan Private Corporate Brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Park Rite drives up profit". The Sunday Times. 21 December 2003. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Quinlan group bids for Wentworth". The Sunday Times. 4 July 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  10. ^ Stevenson, Rachel (20 January 2005). "Savoy hotel bought by Saudi prince for £250m". The Independent. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Ireland: Quinlan hits US roads to raise funds". The Sunday Times. 8 October 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  12. ^ "The tax inspector calls, again". The Telegraph. 20 April 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Ireland: Quinlan hits US roads to raise funds". The Sunday Times. 8 October 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  14. ^ Legal proceedings have been brought against property developer Bernard McNamara
  15. ^ "Oil-rich Oman invests €200m in Jurys Inns". The Irish Times. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Citigroup tower sold in £1bn deal". The Telegraph. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Quinlan considers expanding exclusive hotel group". Irish Independent. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Quinlan completes €1.9bn deal for Banco Santander's Madrid HQ". Irish Times. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Department of Health set to move to former BoI HQ". Irish Times. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Irish financier Quinlan advising on €1.3bn Brussels deal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  21. ^ Lyons, Tom. "Derek Quinlan returns advising €1.2 billion Belgian deal |". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Irish financier Quinlan advising on €1.3bn Brussels deal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Derek Quinlan an adviser on €8m deal for former motor tax office". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Colony Capital buys Johnny Ronan loans secured on Ballsbridge site". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  25. ^ O'Connell, Hugh. "Siobhán Quinlan put €7.5 million into prime Ballsbridge site deal |". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Wife of Derek Quinlan to net windfall from Bankcentre site". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Derek Quinlan reveals personal debts of €600m". 28 March 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  28. ^ "Derek Quinlan slashes debts by 3bn". Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  29. ^ "Hotel Sale Was Massive Success". Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  30. ^ Receiver appointed to Derek Quinlan, Newstalk, 14 April 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011. Archived 15 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Derek Quinlan slashes debts by €3bn through major asset sales". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  32. ^ "Derek Quinlan slashes debts by €3bn through major asset sales -". Retrieved 25 April 2016.