Maurice Regan, the US-based construction tycoon, has agreed to buy the trophy property Barne Estate in Co Tipperary for more than €20m, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.
The 751ac residential estate on the outskirts of Clonmel is at the centre of court proceedings between bloodstock billionaire John Magnier and the Thomson-Moore family and Barne Estate trust, who put the estate on the market last July.
The court case centres on an alleged €15m deal agreed in August 2023 between John and Sue Magnier and Richard Thomson-Moore and his wife Anna, in the company of auctioneer John Stokes and Coolmore’s farm manager Joe Holohan.
John Magnier, along with his son John Paul and daughter Kate Wachman, launched court proceedings in October aimed at forcing the Barne Estate owners - Richard Thomson Moore, Barne Estate Ltd, and associated companies - to follow through on what the Magniers maintain was a binding deal.
The Thomson-Moore and Barne position is understood to be that while a tillage agreement was signed, an exclusivity contract with the Magniers lapsed and no sale contract was completed.
The Thomson-Moores and their legal team have declined to comment on matters which are before the courts.
Similarly, a spokesman for the Magnier family declined to comment on matters before the courts when contacted by the Irish Farmers Journal. Auctioneer John Stokes, one of two agents appointed for the sale of Barne Estate, also declined to comment.
The Magniers also registered a lis pendens in October - a legal warning to other people that there is a dispute in relation to the property.
The case returns to court on 18 December again, when the Coolmore side will be seeking to have their August dinner deal declared binding, while the Barne Estate side will be seeking to have that argument struck out.
Meanwhile, negotiations between the Barne Estate owners and Maurice Regan continued, culminating in the agreement to sell in recent days. The price agreed is over €20m, at least €5m more than Coolmore had agreed to pay.
Land and horses
Maurice Regan founded US-based construction firm JT Magen and is behind the pub and hospitality Mercantile Group. He owns a 550ac stud farm - Newtownanner Stud - only a few miles from Barne Estate on the Waterford side of Clonmel.
The two Tipperary-based billionaires Regan and Magnier have common interests in more than just land.ADVERTISEMENT
Regan has had multiple Group 1 winning horses, including Fascinating Rock and Laganore, and in recent years kept horses in training with Joseph O’Brien, son of Coolmore’s training maestro Aidan O’Brien.
Interestingly, last August, Regan’s Newtownanner Stud sponsored the Irish EBF Stakes, worth a total of €65,000. The winner was Opera Singer.
The filly’s owner picking up the prize money? The Coolmore consortium of Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and George von Opel’s Westerberg.
In second place was Brilliant, also owned by the same well-heeled quartet.