Monday 21 October 2019

Court to consider INM takeover later in July

Takeover: INM CEO Michael Doorly (left) with chairman Murdoch MacLennan
Takeover: INM CEO Michael Doorly (left) with chairman Murdoch MacLennan

Shane Phelan Legal Affairs Editor

The proposed €145.6m takeover of Independent News & Media (INM) by Belgian-Dutch newspaper publisher Mediahuis will be considered by the High Court later this month.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton set July 30 as the date for a hearing, which is one of two remaining hurdles that must be cleared before the takeover can be completed.

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The other is ministerial approval, a decision that is expected by August 1.

INM publishes several leading newspapers, including the Irish Independent.

The takeover has already been approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. 

At a brief hearing in the Commercial Court, counsel for INM, Brian Kennedy SC, said the company was back before the court to seek directions regarding its application to confirm the scheme of arrangement under which the purchase is taking place. 

The scheme is a mechanism to complete a corporate transaction even if not all shareholders agree.

In INM’s case, the agreement of the holders of at least 75pc of the shares in the company was needed before remaining shareholders could be forced to sell to ensure a full takeover. 

Mr Kennedy said a meeting of shareholders was held on June 26 and the requisite votes were obtained.

He said 85pc of shareholders voted in favour of the resolutions. Their shareholdings represented 94pc of the value of shares in the company. Mr Kennedy also said INM was hopeful ministerial consent for the takeover would be given before August 1.

Mr Justice Haughton said he was satisfied that previous orders he made in May had been complied with. He also said he was satisfied there had been substantive notification of creditors regarding the passing of the resolutions.

The judge set July 30 as the date for the hearing and gave a deadline of July 22 for parties who may wish to oppose the takeover to make themselves known. Mr Kennedy said he was not aware of any such parties at present.

Irish Independent

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