Sunday 25 February 2018

'Business Post' given an extra week

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE 'Sunday Business Post' has been given an extra week to find a corporate rescuer after missing a High Court-imposed deadline to secure investment by 4pm yesterday.

The newspaper will be published as normal tomorrow.

At the Commercial Court in Dublin yesterday, lawyers for examiner Michael McAteer, of Grant Thornton, said the deadline had "proved incapable of being met".

However, he said three bidders were still actively in discussion that could lead to an offer.

"I am confident that I will achieve agreement with one of the three consortia," Mr McAteer said in an affidavit.

The court allowed an extra week to secure the investment.

One of the three potential bidders still in discussions with the examiner has lodged "significant investment monies" with an Irish law firm as a demonstration of serious intent, the court was told.

A bid led by Frank Cronin, the former chief executive of radio station Newstalk and before that the 'Sunday Tribune' newspaper, is now thought to be the frontrunner to buy the 'Business Post'.

Mr Cronin's bid is backed by private investors based in the US. A second US Irish bid is also still possible, the court was told – though it is not as far advanced – while an approach has also been made by an all-Irish consortium understood to be made up of Key Capital and former 'Irish Daily Star' executive Paul Cooke.

Post Publication, which owns the Sunday newspaper, has protection from creditors until June 13 under its extended examinership. However, Mr Justice Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court had made the continuing examinership conditional on a bid for the business being made this week.

If no investment proposal is made in the coming week, Mr McAteer must return to the High Court to seek further instruction, including potentially being ordered to liquidate the business.

A cost-saving plan has been agreed by staff at the newspaper and its landlord, and other parties affected, in order to make the business more attractive.

Irish Independent

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