Opening Bell: Noonan's final EU trip, LinkedIn's Irish investment, TPP without US

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan has signalled that Brexit won't persuade the EU to loosen its strict budgetary rules, according to the Irish Independent.

Noonan said that while he wants to spend money on capital investment, he is hamstrung by the EU's limiting regulations.

The minister travels to Brussels today for his last meeting with Eurogroup finance ministers.

A more formal meeting with all EU finance ministers will take place on Tuesday, before he heads for Luxembourg on Wednesday to lobby the European Investment Bank for infrastructure loans.

Noonan commented that while there is an "unusual event" clause in the Stability and Growth Pact allowing for exceptional spending, it would require Ireland demonstrating that Brexit has had a "major impact on the financial position of the general government."

He said:

"Notwithstanding the fact that the sharp appreciation of the euro-sterling bilateral rate has been the most immediate impact from Brexit and is one of the principal factors behind the decline in the value of merchandise exports to the UK last year, no material impact on Ireland's general Government balance has been observed to date."

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Irish fantasy sports gaming company PlayOn has valued itself at £30 million (€35m) as part of drive to raise funds.

The Irish Times reports that the business, founded by former Merrion capital analyst Killian Jones, is in the middle of the first of two fundraisers this year, aiming to raise roughly £9m.

Jones told potential investors in Dublin that he hopes to build the startup into a business worth £250m.

It has already signed partnerships with the NBA and European Tour.

Jones said:
“Following the recent announcement of our partnership with the NBA, we have launched an EII [Employment and Investment Incentive] eligible fundraising round for Irish investors.

"This will be followed by a larger institutional investment round in the second half of 2017, which will fuel our continued expansion into regulated markets.

“We expect that to be our last fundraising round, as we move towards profitability thereafter.”

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 LinkedIn is set to spend €180,000 to help Irish jobseekers.

The professional social network has announced a new partnership with Jobcare and will invest the money over the next two years in connecting communities in need with economic opportunities through improved digital skills.

LinkedIn's senior director of international operations Sharon McCooey said:

"LinkedIn exists to help people find economic opportunity, so we are very excited about the chance to partner with Jobcare to help people across Ireland get into rewarding careers.

"With our EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) headquarters in Dublin, we recognise that we have a great responsibility to be a positive part of this community, and our team are delighted to be able to support a cause that they are passionate about."

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Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have agreed to pursue their proposed trade deal without the United States.

Talks were underway on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday.

Malaysia's trade minister said that there is still some hope for the eventual return of the US to a deal abandoned by US President Donald Trump, due to his readiness to shift position on other issues.

New US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, however, said:

"TPP-11 can make their own decisions and the United States makes its decision, but we expect to stay engaged and I believe at some point there will be a series of bilateral agreements with partners in this part of the world."

New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay, who led discussions, told Reuters:

"Eleven countries have shown a lot of unity and a desire to move through some of the equations that will be required to look to put the agreement into force."