Irish Times complete purchase of Landmark Media; Pledge to protect 'identity and independence' of titles

The Irish Times has completed the acquisition of all of the publishing and media interests of the Cork-based Landmark Media group, which owns the Irish Examiner newspaper and other titles.

In a statement to staff, outgoing CEO of Landmark Media, Tom Murphy, said he was delighted to announce that The Irish Times had completed the purchase of all of the media assets in Landmark Media by purchasing Sappho Limited.

The Irish Times now owns The Irish Examiner, Evening Echo and all of the group’s regional titles, its websites and radio station interests.

Mr. Tom Murphy, group CEO of of Landmark Media Investments - flanked by Landmark Media chairman, Tom Crosbie and Tom's father and Landmark shareholder, Ted Crosbie - announcing to staff that The Irish Times has completed the purchase of all of the media assets in Landmark Media. Picture Dan Linehan

Mr Murphy described the sale as the "end of an era" as it marks the end of the Crosbie family’s ownership of the Irish Examiner, which dates back to 1872, when journalist Thomas Crosbie took over the proprietorship from John Francis Maguire.

"On the one hand, I’m delighted this sale has gone through because consolidation in the industry is necessary to enable it to compete and we believe that this is the best way to preserve these newspaper brands and the related jobs. On the other hand, it’s the end of an era as the last strand of the Crosbie family exit the business completely.

I would like to pay tribute to the Crosbie family, they have been fantastic supporters of the ethos, concepts and standards of quality journalism in their newspapers in Ireland. They have been a beacon to the industry, leading and setting the standards for others to follow, over that period.

He added that the Irish Times was the company's preferred purchaser.

"The Irish Times were our preferred purchaser but not our only suitor. The reason we selected them originally was because the positioning of the core Irish Times newspaper was consistent with and complementary to the positioning of the Irish Examiner and, secondly because our experiences of dealing with them over the years showed them to be good people to partner with.

We believe this deal will be very good for our brands and our people and that it will also be good for The Irish Times and for the industry as a whole.

The share purchase agreement between the Irish Times and Landmark was signed on December 5. The deal was later approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughton, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Meanwhile in a statement to employees reported on irishtimes.com the Irish Times said it looked forward to working closely with all staff in the combined companies in building a successful media group.

The company said its objective was to create a “dynamic and vibrant business” that could “sustain itself for the longer term and where the respective media assets – national, regional and radio – will contribute significantly to the Irish media market”.

The media group said the combined scale provided “opportunities for consolidation, to secure existing revenues and will provide a platform to build and grow new digital readers and revenues” and said the “core identity and independence” of the titles will be retained under the deal.

“The overall increase in audience allows the group to build a digital platform with a strong reach, countrywide and internationally.”

“The consolidation also presents the opportunity to strengthen and grow existing print advertising revenues and helps to secure contract print revenues.”

The Irish Times also said it was “fully committed” to working with the respective union groups in each company on restructuring in the combined group and will look to meet staff representatives as soon as possible.

Digital Desk

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