Independent News & Media: Wikis

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Independent News and Media plc
Type Public, ISE & LSE
Founded Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland (1904) by William Martin Murphy
Headquarters Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland
Key people Republic of Ireland Gavin O'Reilly, CEO, Dr. Brian Hillery Chairman
Industry Media
Products Newspapers, magazines, radio, education and other media activities.
Revenue EUR 1900m (FY 2007)
Employees 9,600 (2007)
Website www.inmplc.com

Independent News & Media plc (INM) (LSE: INM, ISEQ: IPD) is a media organisation based in Dublin, Ireland with interests in 22 countries on 4 continents[1]worldwide. The company owns over 200 print titles, more than 130 radio stations, over 100 commercial websites and many billboard locations, and is a leading press player in five countries[1]. The INM group of companies has been dominated by Tony O'Reilly, CEO until early 2009, and his family (one of his sons, formerly COO, became CEO in early 2009, and two others were non-executive directors for many years), since 1973.

Contents

History

The company was formed as Independent Newspapers Limited in 1904 by William Martin Murphy, as the publisher of the Irish Independent.

In 1973 Sir Tony O'Reilly acquired 100% of the "A" shares of the company from the Murphy and Chance families, and was later forced to bid for the "B" (non-voting) shares. The company was later floated on the Irish Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.

The group expanded overseas, acquiring interests in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

In 1999, the company name was changed to Independent News and Media plc. While the O'Reilly family and close allies still have a controlling interest (over 29.5% at July 2008), their shareholding is being diluted and a significant shareholding is being built by Irish entrepreneur, Denis O'Brien (over 27% at May 2008). 5% of the holding company is held by Clear Channel Communications, transferred in return for control of a South African outdoor advertising firm.

Markets

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Ireland

The group owns a number of national newspapers in Ireland: the Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and the Irish Daily Star, as well as 14 regional titles, two free newspapers, and a magazine. It has a substantial central website, independent.ie, which includes much regional as well as national content, and an archive, though this can only be browsed, not searched. It also claims to have Ireland's "no. 2 job site" and the "largest property website on the island.

In 1993, the group bought into the Sunday Tribune, in which it now owns 98% of the issued share capital and over which it has considerable influence. As INM technically only holds 29.9% of voting shares and so lacks management control, it does not consolidate the results of the Tribune, which is loss-making, with accumulated losses of around 45 million euro since acquisition[2].

Some INM titles, especially the Sunday Independent and Irish Independent, are perceived to have a pro-British slant by republicans.

For many years, the main printing facility was in Abbey St. in Dublin but this is now at Citywest.

The group launched Independent Colleges, which has its base on Dublin's Dawson Street in 2007.

United Kingdom

In the UK the company publishes The Independent and the Independent on Sunday. The company also owns the Belfast Telegraph group which publishes the Belfast Telegraph, Ireland's Saturday Night, Sunday Life and Ads for Free. It also produces the widest-distributed jobs magazine in the London area.

During 2007, INM opened a new full-colour Goss printing press facility in Newry, Co. Down. The press the Goss Flexible Printing System known as the FPS was the first FPS sold by Goss Preston. [3]

The Independent (of London) was bought for around 100 million euro in 1997 and has been loss-making throughout, with accumulated losses of at least 150 million euro.

The Belfast Telegraph Group was bought for around 400 million euro in 2001, and is highly profitable, making perhaps 30 million euro annually[2].

South Africa

The group is the largest newspaper publisher in South Africa, owning 14 newspapers including The Star and Pretoria News in Gauteng, the Daily Voice, Cape Times, Cape Argus and Weekend Argus in Cape Town, the The Mercury, Post, Isolezwe, Daily Tribune, Sunday Tribune and Independent on Saturday in Durban, the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley, as well as the national Sunday Independent and 13 community newspapers in Cape Town. The group's titles account for 48% of the total advertising spend in paid newspapers[1], 31% of all newspapers sold in the country, and 58% of the English language market.

Australia and New Zealand

The company owns a 39.1% stake in APN News & Media Limited, a large newspaper publisher in Australia and New Zealand, which owns, for example, the New Zealand Herald, and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

On 12 February 2007, INM announced that the board of APN had recommended an all-cash revised offer of A$ 6.10 per share for the entire issued share capital of APN.[4] The subsequent bid to take APN News & Media Ltd private in May 2007 was unsuccessful.

India

INM has also entered into the Indian market, purchasing 20% (reduced to 13% in July 2009) of Dainik Jagran, the publishing company behind India's best-selling paper. This market has been identified by INM as being a key element of its move into non-English speaking media markets with huge growth opportunities and potential for advancement. Since the initial investment INM has deepened its involvement by buying 20% of the radio business of Dainik Jagran. The intention is to establish 8 radio stations in the so-called 'Hindi Belt'.

Other interests

INM also held stakes in the Unison ISP and the iTouch electronic payments and premium rate telecoms operator, the controlling stake in the latter later being sold to a Japanese firm.

Cable

The company formerly held a 50% stake in Chorus Communications, the second largest cable television and MMDS operator in Ireland, having acquired this with a merger between Cable Management Ireland, and their own Irish Multichannel . However this was sold in 2004.

The Group

The chief executive is Tony O'Reilly, who has been CEO and/or Chairman since 1973. The chairman is Brian Hillery, former Fianna Fáil politician and now a governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. The holding company website is inmplc.com.

Controversies

There have been questions about the policy of not consolidating the 98%-owned but loss-making Sunday Tribune, and on the other hand the practice of consolidating entirely the massively profitable APN, which is less than 41%-owned. In the half year to June 2007, for example, the group reported operating profits of 155 million euro - but this excluded 1.5 million euro of losses from the Tribune, and included 85 million euros from APN (whereas a proportionate share of profit would have been, at that time, 32 million euro)[2].

There have also been questions about APN, which was acquired in transactions involving both the group and the O'Reilly family, and profited the latter greatly, and about the massive level of group debt (over 1.3 billion euro). Furthermore, there have been complaints about the level of power of the O'Reilly family, the independence or otherwise of the board, and about the costs of O'Reilly as CEO, with second-largest shareholder Denis O'Brien and others having noted travel costs from O'Reilly's primary home in the Bahamas, company payments towards his now second home in Kilcullen, near Dublin, on top of large salary and other contributions[2].

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ a b Dublin, Ireland: Company website, group profile, retrieved 16 June 2008
  2. ^ a b c d Dublin, Ireland: The Phoenix, Stocks & Shares, Moneybags: Jan 25 2008, "Tony O'Reilly outmanoeuvres Denis O'Brien"
  3. ^ Independent News & Media PLC (2006-09-30). "Interim Report 2006" (pdf). http://www.inmplc.com/interim_report_2006.pdf. Retrieved 2007-03-03.  
  4. ^ Independent News & Media PLC (2007-02-12). "APN BOARD RECOMMENDS OFFER OF A$6.10 PER SHARE BY INM LED GROUP" (pdf). http://www.inmplc.com/inm_announcement_apn12feb07.pdf. Retrieved 2007-03-03.  

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