The owners of the Irish Times have agreed to buy Landmark Media, the Cork-based company that owns the Irish Examiner in addition to a number of other Irish newspapers and media properties.
The deal had been rumored since September, when the Irish Times’ parent company, The Irish Times DAC, expressed interest in The Examiner. It was signed yesterday, on December 5, for an undisclosed amount.
Subject to approval by Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Minister for Communications, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, it will take an estimated four to six months to complete.
In addition to the Cork-based Irish Examiner, which had average daily sales of 28,338 for the first six months of 2017, and IrishExaminer.com - which, according to their own media kit gets close to 4 million unique readers monthly - the Irish Times stands to acquire the Evening Echo, and regional titles the Waterford News & Star, the Western People, the Nationalist, the Kildare Nationalist, the Laois Nationalist, the Roscommon Herald, and the Naas and Newbridge Nationalist.
The online properties are Breakingnews.ie, Recruitireland. com, and 75% of Benchwarmers.ie.
Three radio stations are also part of the deal - a 75% stake in WLR in Waterford and regional station Beat, and a 17.6% holding in Cork station Red FM.
This will greatly expand the reach of The Irish Times DAC. The Irish Times newspaper averaged 62,423 daily sales for the first six months of 2017, RTE reports, and IrishTimes.com claims 8.2 million monthly users. The company also currently owns the property website MyHome.ie.
Liam Kavanagh, the Irish Times’ managing director, described the deal as a move to safeguard the future of both of the major media properties.
“We don’t underestimate the challenges ahead but this combination could underpin the future of two long-standing, Irish-owned media organisations…that are like-minded editorially,” he said.
He added that the “intention was to retain the ‘core identity and independence’ of the respective news titles. Each would retain their editorial integrity and the overall increase in audience would allow the group to build a digital platform with a strong reach at home and abroad.”
Tom Murphy, Landmark’s managing director, echoed Kavanagh’s statement in a letter to his staff - which numbered 436 people as of 2016 - describing the deal as being in the “best interest of all of our newspaper and other media companies and assets.”
“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 resource and unified entity,” he said.
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