New ownership and a new era begins for your ‘Irish Examiner’

The Irish Examiner kicked off a promising new era last night as the newspaper set about taking on the challenges of the changing media landscape under new ownership.

The Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, regional newspaper titles, and radio assets owned by Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH), which went into receivership yesterday, have been acquired by a new Crosbie family-owned company, Landmark Media Investments.

The purchase has secured the jobs of 554 staff across the country. New company chief executive Tom Murphy informed workers that those employed in the purchased companies will transfer to Landmark Media under their existing employment terms and conditions.

The Sunday Business Post, which employs 76 people, will continue to trade and is to seek the protection of the High Court through examinership. Landmark Media hopes to be in a position to acquire the Post from a High Court-appointed examiner.

Mr Murphy disclosed that the financial re-structuring, carried out with the support of the group’s banker AIB, provides working capital and resources for investment in a new computerised cloud-based editorial production system as well as new advertising and accounts systems.

He also stressed that all print titles would continue to publish as normal and all radio stations would continue to broadcast as normal.

Mr Murphy said: “Following a prolonged period of uncertainty, today’s developments represent an important opportunity for the Irish Examiner and associated titles and media to make a fresh start. That is very welcome news. In a challenging environment, this restructuring and consequent acquisition provides a stable platform from which to build a sustainable business. I look forward to working closely with the management and staff to review and improve operations to successfully achieve this aim.”

The complex restructuring process will result in the loss of 12 jobs at TCH subsidiary Thomas Crosbie Printing, with the printing of the Irish Examiner and other titles handled by the Irish Times. Tom and Alan Crosbie and Mr Murphy expressed their profound regret to the people losing their jobs, and thanked them sincerely for their years of service and professionalism.

TCH had significant bank debts, owing secured creditors AIB €20m and Ulster Bank €7m, and close to €1m to unsecured creditor printers Webprint Concepts.

Landmark Media Investments Ltd is a holding company established and joint-owned 50:50 by Tom Crosbie and his father Ted Crosbie. Tom will chair Landmark Media and the former management team of TCH under chief executive Tom Murphy will run the company. Former shareholders in TCH, chairman Alan Crosbie and board member Billy Crosbie, have chosen not to invest in the new company.

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