Largest shareholders in INM have agreed to the terms of a deal with Mediahuis.
The board of Ireland’s largest newspaper publishing group, Independent News and Media (INM), has agreed to sell the company to Belgian media network Mediahuis for €146m.
All that is needed for the deal to go ahead is approval from INM’s shareholders and it is understood that the company’s largest shareholders, Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien, have already agreed to the terms.
‘Mediahuis can contribute the relevant experience, skills and resources to invest in INM’s brands and significantly enhance its operational and digital capabilities’
– GERT YSEBAERT
Antwerp-based Mediahuis publishes a number of Belgian and Dutch newspapers, including De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad and De Telegraaf. It was formed in 2013 through the merger of establish Belgian publishers Mediahuis Partners and Concentra, and employs more than 3,200 people, reporting a turnover of €819m last year.
The company has been investing in the digitalisation of its news brands and has successfully implemented paywalls and digital subscription services across its news sites. It also operates a number of classifieds platforms in Belgium and the Netherlands, including Jobat, Vroom and GroupDeal.
“Mediahuis can contribute the relevant experience, skills and resources to invest in INM’s brands and significantly enhance its operational and digital capabilities,” said Gert Ysebaert, CEO of Mediahuis.
INM publishes the Independent.ie website as well as the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World, The Herald, Belfast Telegraph and several provincial newspapers.
“We are pleased to be announcing this transaction today and believe it represents an excellent outcome for both the company and its shareholders,” said INM chair Murdoch MacLennan.
“The offer from Mediahuis represents a compelling opportunity for shareholders to realise cash for their shareholding in INM, at a price which fairly reflects the company’s performance and standalone prospects.”
“INM has a proud and illustrious history stretching back to the start of the 20th 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.”