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Independent News & Media to be sold to Belgian group

Denis O’Brien to pocket £38m from sale of Ireland’s biggest newspaper publisher

Ireland’s largest newspaper group has agreed a takeover offer from European media group Mediahuis, adding another €44m (£38m) to the fortune of largest shareholder Denis O’Brien, the country’s richest man.

Independent News & Media, which publishes Ireland’s biggest-selling daily and Sunday papers in the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent as well as the Belfast Telegraph and a large number of regional titles, has accepted a €145.6m offer from Belgian media group Mediahuis.

O’Brien, Ireland’s richest man, is the biggest INM shareholder with a 29.9% stake that will see him pocket €43.5m from the deal. O’Brien spent more than €500m buying INM shares to oust former owner Tony O’Reilly.

Dermot Desmond, INM’s second biggest investor and Scottish football club Celtic’s majority shareholder, will make €21.8m from the sale of his 15% stake.

“We believe [the deal] represents an excellent outcome for both the company and its shareholders,” said the INM chairman, Murdoch MacLennan, the former chief executive of the Telegraph group in the UK. “The offer from Mediahuis … fairly reflects the company’s performance and standalone prospects.”

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DylanThomas

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