from www.irishtimes.com – One of Europe’s biggest internet porn producers moved key parts of its business to the Republic last year.
Luxembourg-based Manwin, which operates some of the world’s most heavily viewed porn sites, set up a number of subsidiaries in Dublin in 2012.
The move came before it bought part of the business of a rival, US-based RK Netmedia, a deal that had to get the Irish Competition Authority’s approval before it went through in the autumn.
Manwin’s purchase of RK’s assets resulted in a number of transactions involving two of the Republic’s best-known commercial law firms, Arthur Cox and AL Goodbody.
Company documents show that following the deal in the autumn, Miami-beach based RK Holdings gave a Dublin company, Manwin Content RK, the right to use thousands of its porn movies.
Arthur Cox advised RK Holdings while AL Goodbody acted for Manwin Content RK. The Dublin company had to give security over some of its assets in return for using the US producer’s copyright.
Neither firm would comment, but it is understood that they were asked by overseas lawyers to act on the Irish elements of the deal.
The agreement, part of which is lodged in the Companies’ Registration Office, has a schedule of more than 60 pages detailing which titles the Irish company can use.
The Manwin subsidiaries include a billing operation, a holding company and a number of other operations.
The copyright transfers and the presence of a billing company indicate that Manwin has moved here to cash in on the Republic’s low corporate tax regimes.
Large numbers of multinationals use similar structures to maximise the benefits of the low corporate tax regime.
Manwin’s move on RK came before the Competition Authority because the watchdog has to approve all media mergers. The deal was allowed to go ahead. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, has the power to block any media merger cleared by the authority in the public interest. However, he did not act in this case.
Manwin is owned by German business man Fabian Thylmann, who is credited with revolutionising the porn business in his home country.