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The world of Castlemartin, Co. Kildare, was reeling after the news that Tony O'Reilly had successfully made a hostile bid for the lawnmower operations of his next door neighbours, the Byrne Family plc.

Analysts had expected that O'Reilly (seen posing with his acquisition, left) would make a 'White Knight' offer sometime next week, what with the disgraceful state of his 18 acre back garden. But this early move has stunned even seasoned commentators, given that the neighbours' lawnmower branch was expected to move up a gear this summer with their recent purchase of a Dixie Cutter from Power City.

The surprise bid was made at 10am local time, just an hour after trading opened on the London Stock Exchange. O'Reilly, acting in a strictly personal capacity, made a call to the Byrnes' premises and laid out a stark offer before CEO Declan Byrne.

Byrne said O'Reilly's opening gambit - "Can I borrow your lawnmower please?" - left no doubt in his mind as to what to do. "I've been in this business long enough to know what he meant." He went on to explain how the takeover was necessary to clear outstanding debt to O'Reilly plc. occasioned when the Byrnes availed of burger options in a summer barbecue last July.

Declan Byrne is believed by many to attach particular importance to the lawnmower operations, but not everyone at Byrnes is in agreement. Smaller shareholders, among them Cillian (12) and Aisling (14), were particularly delighted that the task of servicing and realising the lawn maintenance branch could finally be unbundled. They also stressed that they would not support a move for fresh acquisitions in the area and would be seeking to further trim their garden portfolios.

Their CEO finally acquiesced, admitting that the operations have put smaller shareholders under considerable strain during the summer months. "I have to put aside any personal attachment I may have to our lawn maintenace operations and act in the interests of all our shareholders", he said.


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