Ministerial green light for Irish Times purchase of Landmark Media titles

A proposed purchase agreement whereby The Irish Times will acquire all of the publishing and media interests of the Landmark Media group has received ministerial approval.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten, this morning approved the proposed transaction.

A number of legal and compliance steps will now be taken in the coming weeks to finalise the deal but the Department concluded that "the media merger proceeding as proposed will not be contrary to the public interest in protecting plurality of the media in the State."

In a statement to staff the group chief executive of Landmark Media, Tom Murphy, said the approval marks the successful completion of all regulatory processes in the transaction which now moves to the legal completion process.

Mr Murphy said this is expected to take a further short period and that staff would be updated as 'the situation clarifies further'.

In a note to staff in Tara St the Irish Times said: “The Irish Times 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 Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) approved the deal on competition grounds in April suggesting the acquisition “will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition”.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has also approved the change of ownership of radio stations impacted by the transaction, namely majority stakes in WLR in Waterford and Beat 102-103 and a 17.6% holding in Cork based station Red FM.

The acquisition of the group by the Irish Times will also mark the end of the Crosbie family’s ownership of the Irish Examiner which dates back to 1872.

- Digital Desk

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