By Pádraig Hoare
Communications Minister Denis Naughten has given the final regulatory approval needed for the takeover of the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, and other media assets owned by Landmark Media by the Irish Times.
The clearance by Minister Naughten means the deal will go through in the coming weeks, once necessary legal and compliance issues are resolved.
CEO of Landmark Media, Tom Murphy, told staff he was “delighted” the minister “has unconditionally approved the proposed transaction by the Irish Times”, adding: “This marks the successful completion of all regulatory processes in the transaction which now moves to the legal completion process and this is expected to take a further short period.”
The department said “the media merger proceeding as proposed will not be contrary to the public interest in protecting plurality of the media in the State.”
The Irish Times said in a note to employees that it “looks forward to meeting and working with all staff and their representatives to discuss the acquisition”.
“We will be making arrangements to do that as soon as possible. This will include briefings to staff in Dublin, Cork, the regional titles and radio stations,” the firm said in a note to staff.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) gave the deal the go-ahead in April, saying it found no evidence substantial competition between the two entities would lessen.
The Waterford News & Star, Western People, Carlow Nationalist, Roscommon Herald, Kildare Nationalist, Laois Nationalist, and websites Breakingnews.ie, Recruitireland.com and Benchwarmers.ie are also included.