Sunday 22 October 2017

Rival bidders to launch a joint offer for Sunday Business Post

Tom Lyons

Two of the potential bidders for the Sunday Business Post have combined to launch a joint bid for the newspaper which is now 87 days into the 100-day examinership process.

A consortium led by Michael Brophy, the former chief executive of Independent News & Media (Northern Ireland), has combined with corporate financiers Key Capital to make a joint bid for the paper. Paul Cooke, the former managing director of Independent Star Ltd, is also involved with this group. Both Brophy and Cooke are well known to each as former employees of Independent News & Media, publishers of the Sunday Independent.

Brophy, best known for being managing director of the Sunday World, declined to comment on Friday.

Meanwhile a rival consortium led by former Newstalk chief executive Frank Cronin is also preparing to submit a bid for the newspaper. Cronin is understood to have an overseas investor interested in the paper. This investor will visit Ireland next week to discuss a bid.

The price of the Business Post was pitched at €2m when it entered examinership – but it is now expected to sell for under €1m. Any new owner will have to present to Grant Thornton, the paper's examiner, a plan to both invest in the business and implement a redundancy programme. On Friday last, examiner Mick McAteer told the High Court that talks were now at a "critical stage". McAteer said there was three parties interested in buying the paper but did not disclose the name of any party.

McAteer told the court he believed he would find a credible buyer for the paper complete with a survival plan for its future by Friday, June 7, with a view to updating the High Court the following week.

Irish Independent

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