Sunday Business Post examiner due to update court on hunt for investor

30-day extension to newspaper’s court protection from creditors expires next week

The Sunday Business Post on Harcourt Street, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The Sunday Business Post on Harcourt Street, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 


The examiner for Post Publications Ltd, the publisher of the Sunday Business Post, is due to give a key update to the High Court today on efforts to secure the newspaper’s future.

An initial eight expressions of interest has been narrowed to three possible investment groups in recent weeks. It is understood that as of yesterday no deal had been formally agreed.

A 30-day extension to the 100-day examinership process runs out next Friday.

The examiner, Michael McAteer of the accountancy firm Grant Thornton, told the High Court via his legal representatives last Friday that he was in ongoing talks with three separate companies about acquiring the title and that he was confident an investor would be found before today.

Mr McAteer was this week due to hold direct talks with the “US-based principal” of an Irish-US consortium, which was said in court to combine financial strength with Irish media sector experience.

The second interested party is another Irish-US consortium that came late into the process and was still conducting due diligence on the company as of last week.

The third potential investor is a consortium spearheaded by an individual with Irish print media experience and backed by an Irish finance house.

Post Publications Ltd sought protection from its creditors in March after its owner, the media group Thomas Crosbie Holdings, went into receivership.


Assets
Most of TCH’s assets, including the Irish Examiner and a number of radio stations, transferred to a new company called Landmark Media Investments controlled by Tom Crosbie.

However, the Sunday Business Post, which employs 76 people, was part of a different structure. Some nine members of staff have since accepted a redundancy offer made as part of the examiner’s wider efforts to reduce the company’s cost base by an annual €1.8 million.

Such restructuring would help to make the publication more attractive to potential investors or buyers.

Mr Justice Kelly said last month that the affidavit made by the examiner as part of the application for an extension was “light” on detail about the prospects of a buyer.

He imposed a condition that Mr McAteer secure an outline offer for the company by the week of May 27th.

However, the examiner was unable to reach an agreement with an investor within that timeframe.