You are viewing the content for Wednesday 29 August 2012

Communicorp must contact regulator

Communicorp has 60 days to inform the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) if it considers the appointment of owner Denis O’Brien ally Leslie Buckley as chairman of Independent News and Media "relevant" to his media holdings.

Communicorp is obliged under its broadcasting licences to inform the regulator of any changes in the structures of media holdings connected to Mr O’Brien.

A BAI spokesperson said that authority needs to be fully informed of all relevant changes in Mr O’Brien’s media holding that could impact on his dominance of the Irish media.

"Communicorp has been requested to ensure that it keeps the (Broadcasting) authority fully informed of all developments in this regard. Under the terms of its contracts, Communicorp would now have 60 days in which to inform the authority of any changes which it regarded as being relevant."

Communicorp is the holding company that controls Today FM, Newstalk, 98FM and Spin FM. Mr O’Brien is also now the largest shareholder in INM and has routed the O’Reilly family from key board positions and forced Gavin O’Reilly to quit or face the embarrassment of being ousted by the board.

In a ruling on June 26 that found that Mr O’Brien did not have undue influence over Irish media the BAI noted: "Mr O’Brien’s interests in Independent News and Media are relevant to the authority in the context of its statutory obligation to consider the desirability of allowing any person, or group of persons, to have control of, or substantial interests in, an undue amount of communications media in an area."

Since then Mr O’Brien has secured the re-election of Mr Buckley to the board and his appointment as chairman. Just 14 months ago, Mr Buckley was removed from the board of INM by shareholders. At the time Mr O’Brien only owned 22% of the company. He now owns 29%.