Belfast Telegraph

INM takeover by Belgian firm gets approval from watchdog

Michael Doorly
Michael Doorly

By Donal O'Donovan

The proposed takeover of Belfast Telegraph publisher Independent News & Media (INM) has been approved unconditionally by the Republic’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

The €145.6m (£129.8m) acquisition by Belgium-headquartered Mediahuis remains subject to the approval of INM’s own shareholders, the approval of Richard Bruton as Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and the sanction of Dublin’s High Court for an intended scheme of arrangement to effect the deal.

An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of INM shareholders to vote on the takeover offer will be held on June 26 at the Carlton Dublin Airport hotel, where votes to progress the scheme of arrangement to execute the deal will also take place.

INM, which is led by chief executive Michael Doorly, also publishes the Sunday Life, websites Belfasttelegraph.co.uk and NIJobfinder.co.uk. 

The High Court will be informed of the outcome of the shareholder votes on July 4, then the court must sanction the scheme, which will allow INM to be sold with the support of majority shareholder support.

The proposed acquisition requires the approval of shareholders representing at least 75% of the value of INM’s shares, as well as of 50% plus one of all shareholders who vote.

Mediahuis announced its bid to buy INM at the end of April and the sale is expected to close in the second half of this year. The INM board has unanimously recommended the offer.

INM also publishes the Irish Independent, Independent.ie, Sunday Independent and Sunday World is also Ireland’s biggest publisher of regional newspapers.

Mediahuis publishes major newspaper titles, including De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands and De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium.  It employs more than 3,200 people.

It does not own any media assets in Ireland, however, which means there was never likely to be any competition concerns about the deal.

Belfast Telegraph