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COLLAPSE OF THE VIDEO STAR

Richard Curran’s column in The Sunday Business Post focuses on the life and times of Richard Murphy, whose Chartbusters video rental chain went into voluntary liquidation last week.

Curran synopsises Murphy’s business career from the time the then 21-year-old motorcycle courier set up Xtra-vision in 1982 from a small rented shop in Ranelagh, a leafy southside Dublin suburb. By the time he was 29, Murphy was worth around €26m on paper – he was the dotcom entrepreneur of his day in more ways than one.

Then it all went sour. He parted company with the firm he had founded in 1990, receiving a fraction of his paper worth, something that would sound very familiar to many a dotcom paper millionaire.

It subsequently transpired Xtra-vision had grown much too quickly and it ended up going into receivership in 1993 before being bought by new investors and subsequently by US chain, Blockbusters.

Murphy set up Chartbusters to compete and did well for a while. Now aged just 49, he must start again but given the increasing popularlity of downloads and competition from the likes of Tesco, there is unlikely to be a sequel in the rented movies business.

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