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Rory McIlroy now worth £280m after setting up firm to handle royalties

By Gordon Deegan

Published 01/12/2015

Rory McIlroy is in the money
Rory McIlroy is in the money

The new firm that operates four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy's business affairs has placed a whopping book value of £280m on assets associated with the golfer's brand.

Rory McIlroy Management Services Ltd, trading as Rory McIlroy Inc, was established towards the end of 2013 by McIlroy as part of the golfer's expensive break from Conor Ridge's Horizon Sports Management.

The split from the Dublin firm cost the Northern Ireland sportsman in excess of a reported $25m (£16.7m) in an out-of-court settlement in Dublin earlier this year.

The new McIlroy company, headed by Donal Casey, manages all the royalty payments from the golf star's various endorsements for Nike sportswear, Omega watches, Bose, Upper Deck and computer games.

The value of the McIlroy brand - that persuaded the likes of Nike to enter a reported $250m (£166m) 10-year deal with the 26-year-old - is underlined by the Dublin firm placing a $422.13m (£280.65m) book value on the firm's intangible assets connected to the golfer's brand. McIlroy works in many countries but opted to locate everything to do with his brand and intellectual property in Ireland by setting up the firm here as part of a strategy to simplify his business affairs.

McIlroy is listed as the sole shareholder in the firm and provides an address in Dubai as his place of residence.

Last year McIlroy earned £4.13m in earnings on the European tour alone boosted by his British Open win with a further $8.2m (£5.45m) on the US PGA tour.

However, prize money and other such earnings are not part of the Irish company's revenue because they tend to be treated as income, and taxed accordingly by the country where the championship was won.

Along with the prize money, Forbes magazine earlier this year estimated that McIlroy earned $32m (£21.27m) through endorsements in the past 12 months.

Casey sits on the board of the firm with McIlroy's father Gerry and Barry Funston, who is president and CEO of the Rory McIlroy Foundation.

Now, the first set of accounts lodged by McIlroy's firm with the Companies Office show that the company made a loss of $2.14m (£1.42m) for 2014. However, the accounts only provide an abridged balance sheet and the loss could be attributable to high write annual write-off costs of the firm's intangible assets valued at $422m at the end of 2014.

In setting up the firm in the Republic, McIlroy spurned the route often taken by superstar sports personalities by creating a complex structure that would have located his management company in the US while protecting his wealth with tax havens such as the Virgin Islands or Bermuda.

Belfast Telegraph

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