Receiver appointed to Thomas Crosbie Holdings media group

A copy of today's edition of the Irish Examiner

A copy of today's edition of the Irish Examiner

Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 00:00

A receiver has been appointed to the media group which owns the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post.

As part of a complex restructuring plan, most of the assets of Cork-based Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) are to be bought from the receiver, Kieran Wallace of KPMG, by a new company, Landmark Media Investments.

The newly established Landmark Media is a holding company owned by Tom Crosbie, and his father Ted, who were both shareholders in TCH.

The plan appears designed to allow the group exit an onerous printing contract.

The newspapers being bought by Landmark Media are the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, Waterford News & Star and the Wexford Echo.

TCH's radio stations WLR, Beat 102 FM and Red FM will also be acquired by the new company.

The 554 people employed in the group’s operations to be acquired will transfer to Landmark Media Investments under existing employment terms and conditions and, where appropriate, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings legislation, the group said in a statement.

As part of the plan, the group will tomorrow petition the High Court to appoint an interim examiner to the Sunday Business Post so the title can be sold off as a going concern.

The 76 staff at the Sunday paper will continue to trade under the protection of the High Court and with the input of the interim examiner, if appointed, the group said.

The financial restructuring is being carried out with the support of the group’s banker, Allied Irish Bank.

The group will apply to the High Court to have a liquidator appointed to Thomas Crosbie Printers Limited (TCP), which the group said was “insolvent and cannot continue trading”. The liquidation of TCP will result in the loss of up to 12 jobs.

“Following a prolonged period of uncertainty, today’s developments represent an important opportunity for the Irish Examiner and associated titles and media to make a fresh start and that is very welcome news," Landmark Media's chief executive Tom Murphy said.

"In a challenging environment, this restructuring and consequent acquisition provides a stable platform from which to build a sustainable business."

As part of the deal, the Landmark Media titles will now be printed by the Irish Times printing press at City West in Dublin.

Liam Kavanagh, managing director of The Irish Times Ltd, said: "The Irish Times has agreed a print contract with the new owners commencing tonight, March 6th."

The employees of TCH and TCP were informed of the restructuring by management at meetings this afternoon.

The deal will also see Landmark acquire the group's new media business, TCM, and its recruitment arm, Recruit Ireland.

The Nationalist series, Western People and Roscommon Herald will also be purchased by Landmark through share sales.