Independent News and Media (INM) has accepted a takeover offer from a Belgium media group in a deal worth £125.7m. INM shareholders will receive 9p a share under the terms of the acquisition.
Mediahus, the Belgium company is a private European group was founded in 2013 and employs more than 3,200 people with a turnover in 2018 of £707.2m.
Mediahus brands include NRC Handelsblad, De Telegraaf, NRC Next, De Limburger and Noordhollands Dagblad, with newspaper sales of almost 900,000.
INM accounts for more than 50% of the daily market, over 65% of the Sunday market in the Republic of Ireland. In the last financial year INM had revenues of £164.9m, and the company employs around 800 people.
Murdoch MacLennan, INM chairman said: “We are pleased to be announcing this transaction today and believe it represents an excellent outcome for both the company and its shareholders.
“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.
“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.”
Gert Ysebaert, chief executive of Mediahuis, said, “We believe that there is a clear rationale for the acquisition and that INM will thrive under Mediahuis’ ownership.
“Furthermore, Mediahuis can contribute the relevant experience, skills and resources to invest in INM’s brands and significantly enhance its operational and digital capabilities.
“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.”