Independent News & Media
|Traded as||ISEQ: IPDC LSE: INM|
|Founded||Dublin, Ireland (1904) by William Martin Murphy|
|Key people||Vincent Crowley, CEO, Dr. Brian Hillery, Chairman|
|Products||Newspapers, magazines, radio, education and other media activities.|
|Revenue||€ 605.3 million (2010)|
Independent News & Media plc (INM) is a media organisation based in Dublin, Ireland, with interests in 22 countries on 4 continents 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. The INM group of companies has been dominated by Tony O'Reilly and his family since 1973 – O'Reilly was CEO until early 2009, one of his sons, formerly COO, Gavin O'Reilly, became CEO in early 2009, and two others were non-executive directors for many years.O'Reilly resigned as CEO on the 19th of April 2012 and was replaced by the current COO, Vincent Crowley. O'Reilly had come under pressure in recent months from two of INM's largest shareholders; businessman Denis O'Brien and financier Dermot Desmond. On April 26 2013 the company announced it had struck a deal with its bankers to exchange part of its debt for up to 20% of equity. The deal is subject to the sale of its South African newspapers, a reduction in staff levels of 10%, a capital raising, and the restructuring of the company's pension plan. 
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.
The group owns a number of national newspapers in Ireland, the Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and 50% of 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.
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.
The Belfast Telegraph Group was bought for around 400 million euro in 2001, and is highly profitable, making perhaps 30 million euro annually.
Until March 2010, the company published The Independent and the Independent on Sunday. The newspapers were sold to a company controlled by Alexander Lebedev. The company also owns the Belfast Telegraph group which publishes the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life, Ads for Free, and also owned the now-defunct Ireland's Saturday Night. It also produces the widest-distributed jobs magazine in the London area.
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.
Until 2013, the group is the second biggest 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 Mercury, Post, Isolezwe, Daily News, 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, 22% of all newspapers sold in the country, and 63% of the English language market.
In mid-2012, speculation began that INM would sell their South African operation. This was later confirmed. INM had initially hoped for 250 million EUR for INM SA, however bids came in at around 150 million EUR. Cape Town businessman Iqbal Surve's Sekunjalo Investments consortium were the front-runners to purchase INM SA. Inititally Sekunjalo was set to take a 75% stake in the consortium, but this was changed to 55%, with the remainder going to two government entities. The first of these is the investment arm of the SA government, and the second, an investment arm of the Chinese government. Commenting on the deal University of the Witwatersrand journalism professor Anton Harber said that "the ANC is working with their Chinese allies – ruling party to ruling party, in the way the Chinese government so often works – to increase their influence in our local media and counter what they view as a hostile media sector."
Bloomberg reported that Denis O'Brien met Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, during a private meeting at the Hotel on 24 January 2013. He also met the broker negotiating the sale of INM SA.
Australia and New Zealand
The company owns a stake in APN News & Media Limited, a large newspaper publisher in Australia and New Zealand, which owns The New Zealand Herald and other newspapers, 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. The subsequent bid to take APN News & Media Ltd private in May 2007 was unsuccessful.
INL owned approximately 30% of APN at mid-2012.
INM previously entered into the Indian market, purchasing 20% 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 deepened its involvement by buying 20% of the radio business of Dainik Jagran. The intention is to establish eight radio stations in the so-called "Hindi Belt".
In August 2010, INM sold its entire stake in Dainik Jagran. INM no longer have any Indian interests.
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 chief executive is Vincent Crowley having succeeded Gavin O'Reilly in the role on 19 April 2012. O'Reilly had been CEO since 2009. 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.
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).
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.
The groups' failure to cover the controversy surrounding INM director Brian Mulroney has also been criticised. Mulroney was the subject of an inquiry by Canadian Privy Council because of his part in a scandal involving the purchase of Airbus by Air Canada, and also his relationship to German arms' dealer Karl-heinz Schrieber.
The group's relationship with a variety of entertainment and public relationships firms via Clear Channel Independent has also been seen as problematic.
- "Annual Report 2010".
- Dublin, Ireland: Company website, group profile, retrieved 16 June 2008
- "INM strikes deal with banks". Irish Sun. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Dublin, Ireland: The Phoenix, Stocks & Shares, Moneybags: 25 Jan 2008, "Tony O'Reilly outmanoeuvres Denis O'Brien"
- "Independent titles sold to Lebedev family company". The Independent (London). 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Independent News & Media PLC (30 September 2006). "Interim Report 2006" (PDF). Archived from the original on 15 January 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
- [dead link]
- Craig McKune (15 August 2013). "Chinese companies scoop shares in Independent News". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Geoffrey York (September 11, 2013) Media agenda: China buys newsrooms, influence in Africa The Globe and Mail
- Independent News & Media PLC (12 February 2007). "APN BOARD RECOMMENDS OFFER OF A$6.10 PER SHARE BY INM LED GROUP" (PDF). Archived from the original on 17 February 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
- "The Unauthorised Chapter". CBC News.