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Sale agreed for Irish media publisher

The €145.6m (£125m) sale of publisher Independent News and Media (INM) has been confirmed. INM’s board has unanimously agreed to its purchase by Belgian newspaper owner Mediahuis.

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Mediahuis publishes a range of newspaper titles and will take over the operations of Irish publisher INM if the sale goes ahead

According to the Independent.ie, the offer is conditional on acceptance by shareholders. The publication, which is owned by INM, reports that INM shareholders will be circulated details of a proposed scheme of arrangement for the sale of the business within 28 days.

It has also been reported that INM’s largest shareholders, Denis O’Brien and Dermot Desmond, have committed to the terms of the deal.

Mediahuis publishes a range of newspaper titles including Dutch titles De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad, as well as Belgian titles De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad.

Following the sale, INM’s portfolio of titles, which includes the Irish Independent, Independent.ie, Sunday Independent, Sunday World, The Herald, and the Belfast Telegraph, will be added to its list of publications.

Chief executive officer of Mediahuis, Gert Ysebaert is confident that INM will “thrive” under Mediahuis’ ownership due to a “clear rationale for the acquisition.”

Ysebaert adds: “Mediahuis is optimally positioned to facilitate the continued development of INM as a leading Irish media company.

...we are optimistic about the combination of Mediahuis and INM and its potential contribution to the Irish media landscape

“Underpinned by our unreserved belief in independent and quality journalism, we are optimistic about the combination of Mediahuis and INM and its potential contribution to the Irish media landscape.”

Founded in 2013, Mediahuis has grown rapidly through acquisitions to become what it describes as a “leading media player in both Belgium and the Netherlands.”

As well as the running of its publications, in recent years the Belgian group has been committed to accelerating the digitalisation of its news brands without compromising the print editions.

Commenting on the acquisition, Murdoch MacLennan, chairman of INM says: “INM has a proud and illustrious history stretching back to the start of the twentieth century and the INM Board believes that this offer from Mediahuis, if approved, will herald an exciting new chapter for our employees, readership and customers.

“Mediahuis already has a strong track record in newspaper and digital media development in Europe, which we feel will provide INM with the best opportunity to achieve its strategic objectives, while continuing to enable it to deliver journalism of the highest quality to the island of Ireland and our readers abroad.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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