Opening Bell: CityJet-Stobart deal collapses, social media giants fighting hate speech, INM pensions fallout

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CityJet executive chairman and founder Pat Byrne has said he is "flabbergasted" that a planned merger with Stobart Air has been called off.

He told the Irish Independent of the collapse of the €80m deal:

"It's disappointing. It would have been a very good fit for all parties concerned, including staff."

Following a weekend board meeting, CityJet had given Stobart an ultimate to accept the merger, with the deadline expiring yesterday.

Byrne said:

"You are either getting married or you're not. You don't want to be left waiting at the altar."

The decision casts doubt over Stobart Air's future direction and whether it will continue to operate with an Irish Air Operator's Certificate or a UK equivalent.
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Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google's YouTube are teaming up to help identify terrorist propaganda and redouble their efforts to stop it from spreading online.

They are creating a shared database that will allow them to swap information on things such as terrorist imagery or videos so they're easier to identify and take down.

In a joint blog post, the companies said:

“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services.

"When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.”

The European Commission released a report on Sunday that revealed those four giants of social media were not satisfactorily complying with the EU’s code of conduct for dealing with hate speech.

In the summer, tech giants were accused of not doing enough to stop extremists using their sites for recruitment.

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Independent News & Media (INM) shareholders have approved a capital restructuring of the group that should lead to the resumption of dividends.

Two motions enabling a capital reduction and share deletion, related to the write-off of €1.1bn of historic losses, were given the nod during a volatile meeting in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin, on Monday.

Though overwhelmingly opposed by shareholders in the room, the restructuring was carried with the support of major shareholders like Denis O'Brien and Dermot Desmond. It will have to now be ratified by the High Court.

An even stronger point of contention was INM's decision to wind up a defined benefit pension scheme.

Chairman Leslie Buckley refused to answer question on the matter, raising the ire of a number of angry shareholders. Buckley would also not comment when questioned about his dispute with INM chief executive Roberrt Pitt over a proposed bid to Newstalk.

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Irish banks finished trading comfortably on Monday, despite concerns for their Italian counterparts following prime minister Matteo Renzi's defeat in Sunday's constitutional reform referendum on Sunday.

The Irish Times reports that Bank of Ireland's shared closed up 2.8% at 22.4 cent, while Permanent TSB was up 1% at €2.56.

AIB's stock was down nearly 9%, but as it's owned 99.9% by the State, this is irrelevant.

Speaking in Mayo yesterday evening, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that he is confident that the EU is big and strong enough to deal with the fallout from the Italian referendum and subsequent resignation of Renzi. He argued that the result reflected the people's views on the specific proposed constitutional change and not the European Union.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said last night that the blip in the markets had already ended.

"When Mr Renzi resigned last night, I think it was expected once the referendum was lost," he explained.

"This morning the markets went down significantly on all fronts, but they recovered very, very quickly, and by midday they were back to where they were."