Wednesday 21 August 2019

Minister clears Mediahuis to buy INM

INM’s headquarters in Dublin’s Talbot Street
INM’s headquarters in Dublin’s Talbot Street
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, has approved the takeover of Independent News & Media (INM) by Belgium-headquartered buyer Mediahuis.

In a statement, Mediahuis said it was pleased to announce that the minister had unconditionally cleared the takeover.

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Ministerial sign-off was one of two final hurdles to the deal's closing and is a requirement for all media mergers.

A majority of INM shareholders had previously approved the sale at an investor meeting in June.

Irish competition authorities had also already cleared the €145.6m sale of the country's leading private sector media operator.

INM publishes Ireland's leading news titles, including independent.ie, the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and Sunday World, and a number of regional titles.

The final hurdle for the sale comes today when the High Court will be asked to decide whether to approve the scheme of arrangement, a legal technique used to execute the financial terms of complex corporate actions.

If the court accepts the scheme, it will clear the way for INM's stock to be bought from all shareholders at the 10.5 cents per share price struck by Mediahuis in April this year and recommended by the INM board.

The process to buy up all of INM's outstanding shares from around 7,000 shareholders is expected to take roughly a month.

The shares will be de-listed from the stock exchange and INM will become a private company and a subsidiary of Mediahuis.

INM is Antwerp-headquartered Mediahuis's first major move beyond its core markets in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Belgian-Dutch firm was formed in 2013 from a merger of established Belgian newspaper groups. Its titles now include De Standaard in Belgium and Dutch newspapers De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad.

The group has three main shareholders.

They are the Van Puijenbroek family, who had a Dutch media business for 70 years before merging with Mediahuis; the Belgian Baert family, whose publishing business dates back 120 years; and Mediahuis chairman Thomas Leysen, whose father led a rescue of Belgium's De Standaard 40 years ago.

Irish Independent

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