Dart finances Hurley’s TV purchase

| 11/08/2015 | 70 Comments
Cayman News Service

Randy Merren

(CNS): The islands’ biggest developer has helped to finance the purchase of CITN by Hurley’s Entertainment, the new owner of the TV station, Randy Merren, has confirmed, though he stressed that the Dart Group has not directly invested in the TV station. When CNS contacted Dart about its interest in the station following the move by Hurley’s to Camana Bay, officials stated: “Dart frequently engages in discussions with parties relating to business opportunities. Dart’s practice is to neither confirm nor deny interest in such opportunities and on this basis Dart declines to comment on this matter.”

However, Merren told CNS that Dart Finance Ltd had provided some of the funding for the purchase of local television station CITN, which he said could have been lost if had not been able to finance the purchase. The previous owners, telecommunications firm Logic, were keen to offload the station since they purchased WestStar, the cable company that previously owned it.

“When WestStar came under new ownership last year, they made clear their intent to divest themselves of CITN,” Merren told CNS. “Unless there was a willing buyer, Cayman could have found itself without regular TV coverage of local news, sports and community events. As a 20-year veteran in broadcast media, I understand the importance of having regular production of original, local TV content and was invited to enter into negotiations with the new owners.”

Merren said he was pleased that Dart Finance Ltd was able to help with the financing to make the deal possible.

“Too often good opportunities are missed because business people cannot access financing. Dart was interested in having a media presence in Camana Bay to expand the array of activities there, and after some discussions about relocation of opportunities and synergies, it provided some of the financing to achieve near-future consolidation of the radio and TV studios in a single new location,” Merren said.

However, he was emphatic that Dart does not have a share or control over the new station. “Dart is not a shareholder and does not have any operational involvement in either the radio or TV station.”

Speculation about Dart’s involvement in the TV station has been mounting since the much-anticipated announcement recently that Hurley’s had taken over CITN. But this is not the first time that the Dart Group has been linked to possible investments in the local media.

Despite emphatic denials that no one else was involved in the purchase of Cayman Free Press, which publishes The Cayman Compass, other than David and Vicki Legge, speculation in the community about the involvement of Dart, among others, in the purchase of the country’s oldest daily paper has not gone away.

CNS asked Dart to confirm or deny its involvement in the Compass or if the group had any interest in acquiring a local media house, but officials declined to answer either question.

Although he is one of a number of investors (including Merren) in C3 Fibre, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton categorically denied any connection with the purchase of CITN by Hurley’s Entertainment. Panton told CNS that his investment in C3, the only locally owned cable provider, was clearly set out in the MLAs’ Register of Interest, as are all of his business interests and the property he own.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think dart is building a waste treatment plant, hopefully that will be recycling as well

    http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/cighome/find/organisations/azagencies/env/publicbills

    the television station arnt lookin good these days

  2. Dart's Trojan TV Station says:

    Ho ho ho, now I have a TV station. For your viewing pleasure I present to you DTV, and no the D doesn’t stand for Digital. We aim to bring you the very best in Dart venture propaganda, and Camanian programming, with just a slight hint of Caymanian content for flavor, not flava or flavour. Our program selection aims to target all classes of the population and will be specially geared towards gradually assimilating all detractors into our wonderful collective.

    Enjoy and …. Believe!

  3. Ron says:

    CNS if Dart is into financing on island can you confirm, he is actually paying financial fees to Cima? Is he also subject to external audits like the banks and regulatory standards?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the Caymanians that have tried to live with the big boys. How does it feel to have sold out your country to the highest bidder?

  5. CaymanStar3 says:

    Well … people have been warned about him long ago. A market that’s competitive with many businesses and where lands are not bought out to a few single big shots, means a market that is affordable for everyone and people get decent salaries. Why? Because again, there is competition, the businesses are trying to save their customers and employees from joining the other businesses. And that situation is good for the country.

    But we Caymanians are not smart. We are giving away important lands, and the best parts to Dart enterprise. So we boast and praise Dart as he is some god, who has brought alot of good things, and we should just make him takeover the market … What a dumb move, Cayman! Our politicians should know better and have tough laws to prevent monopolies on this very small island. If the few big shots have there way, there will be less competition in the Cayman Islands, the private dogs will control the cost of living, how much people should be paid, and more control over the hiring and firing of Caymanian wrongfully. Our politicians will be influenced by the few. So it will affect our democracy and economy. All like Dart will be the only entity to give us food on our tables and activities for our young … and that friends is something to be very concern about.

    Cayman, money is not everything!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes 3.04 and there has never been a Cayman cartel for shops or fuel stations for example, right? Sort that out and we might get real competition here and the much needed lower prices. Dart appears to be financing this deal. With tv you have a choice, if you think he is influencing content and you don’t like it, you can change channels. It will not starve you. Shop prices might, so concentrate on what’s real will you instead of your whinging wining jealousies of a successful man which will have no effect on you whatsoever

  6. Ebanks says:

    I raise my Styrofoam cup to you Mister Dart! Then I immediately throw it away with no hope of recycling and get another one.

    • Debunk Ebanks. says:

      I too raise my polystyrene cup to Mr. Dart. Instead of contributing to the landfill like yourself however, I ensure it is recycled appropriately.

      • Ebanks says:

        Hey, who knew. Well him/his companies are helping to save local TV I guess with the financing.

        • Anonymous says:

          So when Randy cannot make the tv station work who will own it? Dart of course. Look, no one blames Dart for investing but he is owning our best land, our most needed businesses and entertainment centres; building roads that are specifically for best access to his businesses and every Caymanian with a piece of prime Cayman land when approached by Dart’s well paid gurus, see the $ sign because they pay well for the land, give it up and then when the money is finished, they wonder what the heck did they do! Dart is smart and his gurus do nothing without a major benefit and pay back for Dart. What is left for our next generation or generations to come? As I sad before, we may one day receive eviction notices from Dart to leave the Cayman Islands, his country that he will soon own lock stock and barrel!

          • Anonymous says:

            but who is selling… no point having a go at the buyer, if you have an issue it should be with the Caymanian Seller

    • OMG says:

      Unfortunately Dart will soon own everything & that is not good. The sad part is that we are allowing him to. We’ll all soon be working for Dart, & we will get paid what he tells us he will pay us, because if we run from that job we will simply be running to another Dart company, & will have to accept what little he gives us. That is what the Cayman people want, & that’s what we are going to get, yet some say that it’s such a great thing!! Dart eat our supper

      • Anonymous says:

        @4:43 – by all accounts I’ve heard Dart is a good employer. No issues with him not paying pension or health.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can always use a glass..

  7. Rice and beans says:

    I have heard it said on more than one occasion by more than one Caymanian that as the divide becomes even greater and Dart seeks more control of the island a great revolt will arise.

    I am hoping it does not get that bad, but I see the storm blowing in our direction.

    • Anonymous says:

      The technical term for this is “utter bollocks of the highest order”.

    • Anonymous says:

      @rice and beans – if it takes any more effort than posting anonymous comments on CNS we’re in no danger of a revolt.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It would have been better to let them close than to let Dart have yet another piece of our culture..They should have been forced to deal only with the a Cayman owned bank.

    • Turok - Caymanian Dinosaur Hunter says:

      Are you hearing what you’re saying? Forced to deal only with a Cayman-owened bank?

      A bank – Caymanian owned or not – can say no to financing any project that they calculate may not be profitable for their business. Continuing from my earlier comment, it would not be unreasonable to assume that this was the case here.

      Furthermore, forcing businesses to obtain financing from a Cayman-owned bank only is discriminatory and far from business-friendly.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is r….., have you thought this through? don’t you know that retail banks in Cayman already have less local deposits than local lending effectively using foreign volatile deposits to give mortgages? have you even considered what would happen if you now force more business to seek money from those?
      In case you don’t get it more foreclosures and higher rates on mortgages, basic economics (just to be polite and not say basic common sense)

    • Anonymous says:

      @12:19 – since when has a TV station been part of our ‘culture’?

  9. Anonymous says:

    As much as I can’t stand the Dart spread, you can’t blame Randy. Hurley’s has been in a tough spot for a while, why do you think they haven’t rebuilt the walker’s road Hurley’s? This isn’t about banks being the bad guys either. The Hurley’s debt load has been toxic and no traditional lending is going to service them. Looking at the other side of this, them trying to pretend that Dart has no control of the station is ridiculous. Who Holds the money holds the power. Just calling it like it is.

  10. Turok - Caymanian Dinosaur Hunter says:

    Cayman 27 was subsidized by ad revenue from WestStar’s other channels because by itself it wasn’t profitable. In other words, employing all those people to produce local news for Cayman 27 was not possible from the ad revenue of Cayman 27 alone. That is why Logic, the new owners were quick to get rid of it.

    I’m guessing because the channel was not self-sustaining, no bank would finance its purchase. It’s likely that this why Hurley’s Entertainment sought financing from elsewhere.

    • Ebanks says:

      Very good point. And look how many people have been let go or resigned at Cayman 27 in the past month! That place is operating on a skeleton crew, which it has to to even be within the realm of breaking even, let alone making any money.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Darts march to total control of Cayman continues. I am very disappointed in Randy and the Hurley’s group for this move. This again makes it important that we have laws in place to prevent this. Most successful first world countries have fair trade/anti trust laws to protect from this type of economic take over. Long term it is the Cayman people who will suffer as their country is allowed to be taken over by one man’s empire.

    • Anonymous says:

      By the time those laws are put in place they will own it all anyway..

    • Anonymous says:

      Whether Dart has an interest in the Compass or not, we know that someone has made a huge investment. And he who pays the piper calls the tune. We see from the tone and content of the Compass what results from huge business investments with little altruism — the concerns affecting the people of the country as a whole take a back seat to what business wants and needs to secure the best economic climate for themselves to continue to make money — regardless. In the process objectivity and journalistic integrity take a back seat.

      Unfortunately, the same thing will happen to the TV Station — what little shred of journalistic integrity CITN had will soon dissipate.

  12. Bob says:

    The real problem here is the banking system. Lets say this is a normal commercial loan backed by historic cash flows and revenue. A fair rate of interest would be 8 – 10%. Any banks want to step forward and put that money for a re-fi? thought not! Thank you once again Mr. Dart and Mr. Merren.

  13. Troots says:

    I’d like to thank Mr. Merren and Mr. Dart for together saving local television and in turn many local jobs.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Control the press and you control the people.

  15. dart is dirt says:

    CITN has always been a part of the Dart propaganda machine, now it will be even more insipid. The possibility of even the remotest sense of journalistic integrity at CITN has now been degraded to impossible. The same tripe that is the “compost publication” is what can be expected to worsen exponentially.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Corporatocracy

  17. Anonymous says:

    LOL, “officials declined to answer either question,” which rather suggests they’re hiding something? Don’t they realise that ‘no comment’ is as good as admitting it?

    • Turok - Caymanian Dinosaur Hunter says:

      You say hiding as if they’re supposed to tell CNS everything! about their operations when asked. They are a private not public company and therefore don’t have to share any operational or strategic plan with any journalist when asked.

      As such, declining to answer the probing question was the right thing to do.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Many people think that Dart Corp is s great…….they have no idea what their true agenda is. You think they do these things out of the goodness of their hearts and just want to see Cayman prosper? No my friends, there is a much bigger picture……most people just seem to want to overlook it. Total domination is one of the objectives. Caymanians will soon live like the Aboriginies. All these politicians and business men who seem to think that they have “made it” and they are part of Dart’s inner circle, think again. You all are mere puppets that will eventually become useless and will be discarded when no longer needed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I may not live to see it but it is going to happen. Good help us all. Most of the people of

    • Anonymous says:

      We all know Dart is the person best positioned to the greater slice of the pie- even whole ones!

      Your right: “Caymanians will soon live like the Aboriginies”.

    • Wish I had a crystal ball says:

      You may not be far off. Your comments make me wonder what the end game may look like? Little Cayman and Cayman Brac become the last refuge for Caymanians?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Scenario, Dart tomorrow becomes public enemy #1 in the US for some bad business dealings wanted on various charges of tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes. So, USA long arm of justice quickly puts hands on Dart and he is sent to the USA. Through the various means available to the USA as a superpower they quickly bully Cayman or Dart himself to signing over all of his assets….in a matter of months all Dart’s $$ and Cayman interests are now property of US Gov’t. Oh well you say that is fine….until you realise that the US has no interest in holding the property and puts his vast holdings up for auction. Now, the Cayman market is flooded with real estate and market value tanks. Even if you want to sell your house you can’t ….not enough buyers- your mortgage is underwater. Dart sprawl starts to die and CIG revenue starts to contract rapidly as work permit holders are let go/ locals looking for support, projects are put on hold and the economy starts to contract. Camana bay starts to look run down and a run for the exit starts. This all is followed by a sharp rise in duty and other government fees as Dart has left the CIG budget in shambles (all Minister projections worthless) and the electricity rate starts to rise as Dart is no longer consuming. Newspapers shut down, Liquor stores run empty and everywhere that Dart was is wanting..wanting money that is. Job are lost and political careers destroyed (less likely but they should be).

    This could be the future and it is not a fantasy….happened not so long ago in Antigua with Sir Allen Stamford and his Billion dollar dealings on that island. Goats were eating at what once was the gem of Caribbean Cricket. Camana Bay would likely be infested with Green Iguanas and Chickens in our scenario..

    link to interesting read

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2009/feb/13/west-indies-pitch-farce

    All of this is completely unnecessary but it requires action…an action to prevent any further purchase by Dart in law. Don’t say it can’t be done as the US broke apart Standard Oil under Anti Trust laws. so it can be stopped but greed is getting in the way.

    What happens when Mr. Dart dies and the family does not express interest in his “game” on this island and wants to exit? This is the risk…..

    • Anonymous says:

      And this is the very reason we need a cruise dock. without one Camana Bay becomes the capital of Cayman. Save the REAL Town Cayman and Save our future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting thought. Having been involved in the 20/20 farce l’d also considered the comparison with Allen Stanford.

      One area where Dart is potentially extremely vulnerable is Russia. His ‘investments’ there are dogged with controversy and potentially a target for the Putin government.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:05 I think this story is more appropriate – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17298267

    • Anonymous says:

      The main reason Dart is here is because the opening scene of your scenario already occurred long ago – US would love to have a go at him still.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are completely insane.

    • Anonymous says:

      Keep hustling Randy. This is proof that the local banks aren’t interested in helping locals succeed. If Dart didn’t assist this entity would have been bought by a foreigner. It is good to see a Caymanian being afforded an opportunity.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hahaha You mean the local banks are distancing themselves from the other ‘family business’.
        And rightly so.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:05am, this could very well be Cayman’s reality. It’s interesting to understanding the extend of Stanford’s ponzi scheme and subsequent damages to a small island, like Antigua, who depended (entirely) on one businessman to help develop and improve a small colony.

      ARTICLE EXTRACT
      “…despite [the Antiguan people] having reservations, many people did business with Stanford because of his (US government) connections…Stanford lent millions to the government. He also built new offices for the administration and even paid for a new hospital. Some say he was buying favour…It [Anitgua] was making headway. And without him [Stanford] the country just dropped automatically. In fact it’s broke, dead broke…He did good for the country but he made a mistake in his life,” another man says…Antigua’s financial reputation has been clearly damaged by Stanford’s fraud. The former head of the country’s Financial Services Regulatory body is fighting extradition to the US. It is expected he would face charges related to the Stanford fraud, while its people wait to see if they will pay a heavier price in the future…”

    • WaYaSay says:

      Well…..well…..well. I could not agree more.

      I posted about this Dart Stanford parallel some weeks ago and all I got was some Dart disciple dismissively pointing out that I had left a “t” out of Stanford’s name.

      Glad to see that many more CNS readers have awakened to the “possibility” that could some day become our reality.

  20. Anonymous says:

    That’s right, Keep it moving Dart….

  21. Anonymous says:

    Financed via Equity Interest or Debt?

    Lawwwwwwwd…[Breaking for Prayer]

  22. Anonymous says:

    silence speaks for itself bobo!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    The arms are spreading…..tik tok on total Cayman domination.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s already done bro. Just cleaning up details now.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Dartinator will be back!! So what? Give me his management over CIG any day, they know what they are doing and where they are going and I only see good for Cayman.

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