DUBLIN, Ireland - In a deal that has been speculated for months, The Irish Times and the owners of Landmark Media Investments have signed a share purchase agreement.
As part of the deal, The Irish Times is set to acquire all of the publishing and media interests of the Landmark Media group.
The deal is subject to a number of conditions including receipt of regulatory approvals from The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and The Environment as well as The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
According to reports, these approvals could take at least four months to procure.
Reports noted that employees of Landmark Media were apprised of the sale of the media group by management at meetings on Wednesday.
Tom Murphy, LMI Group CEO is set to exit the business at legal completion of the transaction.
Murphy said, “Following a prolonged period of speculation today’s announcement brings clarity to the Group’s future. I would like to place on record my appreciation and the appreciation of the board of Landmark Media to all staff members for their support, understanding and particularly for their patience.”
He added, "We acknowledge that throughout this delicate and sometimes public process that it has been a difficult period for all staff members, reading and listening to commentary, much of it uninformed and speculative. For our part, we believe we have done everything possible to make and implement the right decisions in relation to the Landmark business and all of its stakeholders, particularly our very valued and loyal staff colleagues.”
Murphy said, “I believe that a sale of the Landmark Media business to The Irish Times is in the best interest of all of the stakeholders, including staff, in Landmark Media and that it is the correct outcome also for The Irish Times and the Newspaper and Media industry generally in Ireland.”
Adding, “Consolidation within the industry is an inevitable outcome and both Irish-owned groups will be best positioned to survive and prosper as part of a larger, stronger and better resourced and unified entity. The Irish Times has been in existence since 1859 and its Management, Board and Trust are well aware of and suitably resourced to enable them to meet and navigate the challenges of the industry today.”
He said, “Our Bank, AIB have been with us on this journey for some time now and I must acknowledge and thank them for their support, resourcefulness and patience in enabling us to pursue and achieve the outcome being announced today.”
Meanwhile, Liam Kavanagh, Managing Director of The Irish Times DAC said, "The opportunity to acquire Landmark Media is an important strategic decision for The Irish Times. It is the intention to retain the core identity and independence of the respective news publishing titles. Each will retain their editorial integrity. 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.”
Kavanagh added, “If the application to the CCPC and to the Minister is successful, The Irish Times are fully committed to working with the respective Union groups in each company on any restructuring proposals that will need to be made. The Irish Times has a proven track record of achieving cost savings, maintaining quality content while also working with staff and their representatives in a consultative partnership model.”
He said, “The combination of the two groups brings together two organisations with a quality focus and strong ethos. The combined scale provides opportunities for consolidation, secures existing revenues and provides a platform to build and grow new digital readers and revenues. It is a positive step in the protection of two Irish-owned media organisations, and will help ensure their long-term futures.”