Enda O'Coineen, the businessman who is in the final stages of negotiating the acquisition of the Sunday Business Post newspaper, is being advised on his bid by Galway-based media investor Declan Dooley.
Mr Dooley, who previously operated the Galway Independent freesheet and co-founded the Independent Free Newspaper group, has emerged as a director in a new entity Mr O'Coineen has established to close out his bid for the Post.
Kicullen Kapital, Mr O'Coineen's investment vehicle, has in recent weeks set up a new company, Encircle Business Post 365. Its directors include Colm O'Reilly and Roger Courtney, two senior executives at Kilcullen, as well as Mr Dooley.
The ultimate ownership of the company is hidden behind a nominee entity, Herbert Nominee Company, which is linked to corporate law firm Flynn O’Driscoll.
Mr O'Coineen stressed at the weekend that "nothing has been agreed yet" as he enters the final stage of negotiations with the Post's current majority owner, Key Capital. He confirmed Mr Dooley's involvement with his bid, citing his fellow Galwayman's experience in the sector. It is as yet unclear whether Mr Dooley will take up an executive role at the paper once the deal closes.
When asked how much longer it would take to complete the deal, Mr O’Coineen said it was difficult to predict but insisted “you have a willing buyer and a willing seller”.
It is understood that a price has been agreed to buy the publishing assets of Sunrise Media, the Key Capital company that owns the Post. It is believed that the final sign-off on the due diligence part of the transaction could come as early as this week.
The transaction would then have to be notified to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and, ultimately, the Government for approval, although these would essentially be considered formalities for the deal.
It is understood that Mr O’Coineen intends to continue the full operation of the printed newspaper, which has been up for sale since last September.
Ian Kehoe, the paper's editor, recently announced he intends to leave as soon as a replacement is found. Investigative journalist Tom Lyons has since been appointed as executive editor of the Sunday Business Post.