Investor seeks early approval of Sunday Business Post deal

High Court to consider plan to rescue newspaper next week

The High Court will  consider a plan to rescue the Sunday Business Post  next week

The High Court will consider a plan to rescue the Sunday Business Post next week

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 17:50

The investor poised to take over the Sunday Business Post will put €750,000 into the newspaper if the High Court approves the rescue buyout package.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly will next week consider whether to approve the plan which could safeguard almost 70 full time jobs.

Under its terms, staff at the newspaper have accepted revised terms and conditions and nine voluntary redundnacies have taken place. It is understood media executive Paul Cooke is involved in the investment plan.

Today, Rossa Fanning, for the examiner, said both his client and investor were anxious for an early hearing of the application for court approval for the survival scheme.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said an early hearing was desirable and fixed that for Wednesday. He extended protection for Post Publications Ltd, owner of the Sunday Business Post, until then.

Under the plan, super preferential creditors including the Revenue will be paid the agreed debt in full while unsecured creditors — the largest being Irish Life owed nearly €2m in relation to the newspaper office premises at Harcourt Street, Dublin — will get 2.5 per cent of the agreed debt.

Freelance contributors to the newspaper will get 15 per cent of what they are owed, including Vincent Browne, who is owed €25,000.

Examiner Michael McAteer said in an affidavit the investment agreement is subject to conditions including High Court approval. He was not responsible for some media reports which had erroneously given the impression the success of the examinership process is assured and court approval was a formality.

As it had been necessary to disclose the terms of the investment agreement to the entire staff of the newspaper, there was from his perspective no realistic way of preventing dissemination of the terms, he said.

The investor had agreed to waive the condition in relation to Competition Authority approval as that did not appear to be reguired and was also satisfied nine employees had confirmed they were accepting a vountary redundancy package. The investor required all the remaining employees would agree to revised terms and conditions and all but four, who are out of the country, had done so.