Lessons from the month of April

Summer is here! We’ve decided to look back on the month that was–and share what we’ve learned from some of the biggest stories in business news.

1. All publicity is good publicity

Following several weeks of Irish supremacy, the tide appears to keep turning up shamrocks as all systems remain go for a 40-shades-of-green 2023. Ireland’s most famous son, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, returned home on the campaign trail to end all campaign trails, stopping off at every Irish deli, pub and ghost estate to shake hands, kiss babies and get a rousing chorus of ‘four more years!’ outside the Knock Shrine. Naysayers will claim he didn’t spend enough time in the North of Ireland (17 hours, allegedly) but considering he was an 80-year-old transatlantic flyer whose only respite upon landing was Rishi Sunak? We can’t really blame him.

His gaffes were largely minimal, but he did manage to mix up the All Blacks (the New Zealand Rugby Team the All Blacks, who were beaten by the Irish Rugby squad in 2016) with the Black and Tans while speaking in a pub in Dundalk. Few things would have been worse to say, most notably in a border county, but I think we can all agree that it gave all of us who have made huge mistakes in work before a bit of a laugh. Hon the town.

2. Never let former scandals get you down

It was the month of April that saw celebrated heads of state mark 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement, the peace deal that essentially concluded The Troubles and allowed Ireland to redeem itself from a senseless war. To commemorate such triumph, everyone and their mother showed up: Bill and Hillary, Tony and Cherie, Ursula von der Leyen and Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič, and even a Kennedy: the new economic envoy to Northern Ireland, Joe, who blagged a lift with Air Force One to look at ways of supercharging US investment in the region. Bertie Ahern was present too, a grand architect of the agreement at the time, to essentially claim back public opinion and throw his face around one more time as he prepares to run for the presidency.

He had a friend in Clinton at the Queen’s University, Belfast celebration–a man with whom he has very much in common. Ahem–who too seemed to enjoy Ahern’s company enormously, finally saying: “Bertie had the kind of BS that I always wished I had. I thought, I wanna be Bertie when I grow up.” Political races in Ireland, the UK and the US almost always bring up some sort of chaos (lest we forget the ‘covfefe‘ years) and with the runners and riders available to race this time next year, we’ve got a hell of a run coming.

3. Mergers and acquisitions are the soup of the day

Death and taxes are said to be the two things in this life you can assuredly rely upon. But tech acquisitions are surely third in place, given the Irish vantage point in recent weeks. Back in mid-April, Zoom announced plans to acquire Workvivo, a six-year-old Irish startup focused on improving companies’ internal communications and culture.

Where Zoom’s bag may be real-time communication, Workvivo (with clients like Amazon, Ryanair and Bupa) is less about project-specific collaboration than it is about a broad fostering of employee engagement, using an activity feed, people directory, surveys and a conduit for critical company communications–not too dissimilar to a modern-day intranet.

Following in the M&A game is Dublin creative agency In the Company of Huskies, which was also acquired in April by Sweden’s Forsman & Bodenfors, owned by Nasdaq-listed Stagwell. The buyer said that Huskies ”has built a powerful digital-first operation that will complement F&B’s creativity and communications expertise”. Huskies’ impressive client list includes Allianz, Slack, Nissan, Smurfit Kappa, Guinness Storehouse, and Fáilte Ireland.

Digital services provider Viatel Technology Group has also acquired the Irish operations of Sungard Availability Services and its data centres in Park West and Profile Park. The acquisition is Viatel’s eighth since 2020 and follows the announcement of 50 jobs at the group as it expands its cybersecurity portfolio.

And finally, Medray Imaging Systems Group, a leading provider of healthcare equipment, has acquired UK-based medical imaging business Hulbert Imaging to strengthen its radiology portfolio and service offering in the UK. The West Dublin firm, which employs over 100 people in Ireland and the UK, provides and services equipment for the radiology, dental, veterinary and associated sectors in both markets.

A great set of moves, shakes and everything in between–leading us right into a different kind of M&A; King Charles’ big day. As the new monarch attempts to merge traditional views with progressive ideas and acquire the public mindset at the same time. Happy Coronation Weekend!

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