THE team that is set to buy the Joe.ie online media business out of Examinership intends to retain all of its brands. The teams sees particular scope to develop Her.ie which is aimed primarily at women.
Pending sign-off from the High Court overseeing the examinership and competition clearance, UK based investor Greencastle Capital has agreed a deal to buy Maximum Media Network Limited (MM), the owner of the JOE, Her, SportsJOE and HerFamily digital media brands as well as MADE, a digital advertising service for brands.
Greencastle has in turn agreed a management contract with Iconic Labs PLC to run the business. The same team has already taken over management of Maximum Media's UK business.
Once a deal for the Irish arm is approved there is likely to be greater integration between operations here and in Britain, but the buyers intend to operate all of the existing brands. "We are keen to get in and steady the ship," Liam Harrington, chief business officer of Iconic Labs told the Irish Independent.
"Her.ie needs more time and more love [from management]" he added, noting that staff numbers are around half the pre-examinership level.
Within Maximum Media the Her brand may be carved out under its own manager, he added.
"Its important that Her is represented by the right person, so you could see a [management] split," he said.
Across the Maximum Media brands, the buyers expect to shift from what they regard as over-reliance on video to a higher mix of written editorial content that can attract digital programmatic advertising despite the current tough ad market, he said.
Brand partnerships formats will also drive revenue, according to Paul O'Donohoe, a partner at Greencastle Capital.
"We will look to develop those formats and potentially to broadcast TV quality," he said.
The new management expect to launch "an aggressive" engagement with stakeholders including the advertising industry, hoping to draw a line under a sometimes fraught relationship.
That saw Ireland's biggest ad-buying agency Core Media pull all advertising from Maximum Media's products for around nine weeks last year after revelations that the engagement numbers for a 2017 podcast had been inflated by a so-called 'click farm', the company insisted it was a one-off and the sides eventually re-engaged.