Newspaper executive Paul Cooke and Key Capital have reached an agreement in principle to save the 'Sunday Business Post' newspaper, buying it from its court-appointed examiner Michael McAteer.
The Irish Independent reports that the offer will buy the newspaper for €750,000 ($991,400) which will be used to pay off debt. The takeover plans include proposals for further investment in the business once the acquisition is completed.
The proposal was made just ahead of the deadline of midnight on Friday night, rescuing the newspaper from collapsing into liquidation.
The Paul Cooke-led offer edged out rival bids led by two other media executives, Frank Cronin and Michael Brophy.
Cooke is a former managing director of Independent Star Limited, which publishes the 'Irish Daily Star' newspaper, while Key Capital is an Irish finance house led by Conor Killeen. Key Capital, which acts as a financial advisor to businesses and wealthy clients is, in this case, understood to be investing on its own behalf.
Under the terms of the proposal, which was still being finalized as of Friday night, newspaper staff were forced to agree to sacrifice their right to previously agreed redundancy terms in order for the deal to go ahead.
Anyone losing their job in future will only be entitled to the statutory minimum redundancy package set out in law, capped at €1,200 per year of service. Also, nine of the 75 staff at the newspaper who have agreed to accept redundancy packages in recent weeks will see their payouts reduced to one-and-a-half times the statutory rate instead of double the rate as previously agreed.
Staff, who were offered a 6 percent stake in the newspaper in exchange for agreeing to change the redundancy conditions, were called to a meeting on Friday to be told of the offer and given only a few hours to agree to the terms.
Once the deal has been formally agreed to by the examiner and the buyers, it will be put to a vote at a meeting of creditors, which is likely to take place at the end of next week, clearing the way for the agreed arrangement to be presented to the High Court the following Monday.
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