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IPDC - Independent News & Media News Story

€0.105 0.0  1.0%

Last Trade - 30/07/19

Sector
Consumer Cyclicals
Size
Micro Cap
Market Cap £n/a
Enterprise Value £n/a
Revenue £164.9m
Position in Universe th / 1821

UPDATE 1-Irish court appoints inspectors to Ireland's largest newspaper group

Tue 4th September, 2018 4:52pm
* Inspectors to examine data breach, disputed deal
    * Judge says "considerable mystery" still surrounds issues  
    * INM was "gravely concerned" over potential appointment

 (Adds details)
    By Graham Fahy
    DUBLIN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Ireland's High Court on Tuesday
granted an application by the state's corporate watchdog to
appoint inspectors to investigate potentially unlawful conduct
at Independent News & Media (INM)  INME.I , the country's
largest newspaper group.
    Ireland's Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement
(ODCE) made the request in March following an investigation into
issues at INM, including allegations that journalists' data
might have been accessed for an "improper purpose".
    INM had opposed the application and had also said it was
prepared to take action if there was any wrongdoing.
    INM, which owns Ireland's highest selling daily and Sunday
newspapers, did not have an immediate response to the judgment,
a spokesman for the company said. 
    INM chairman, Murdoch MacLennan, told shareholders in May
the board was "gravely concerned" that the appointment would
significantly damage the company and lead to very considerable,
ongoing financial costs.
    In a lengthy judgment that took more than one hour to
deliver, Justice Peter Kelly told the court that a good deal of
reputational damage had already occurred and that it was highly
desirable that the ODCE get to the bottom of the matters.
    "Considerable mystery still surrounds many of the issues,"
he said.
    The ODCE's initial probe was prompted by a clash in 2016
between the company's then chief executive, Robert Pitt, and
former chairman Leslie Buckley over the terms of a possible
acquisition of Irish radio station Newstalk.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1R60M3 
    Newstalk's parent group Communicorp is owned by Irish
billionaire Denis O'Brien, INM's largest shareholder with a
stake of 29.9 percent. 
    Pitt alleged that Buckley pressurised him to agree to pay an
excessively high price for the station. His account was
supported by a disclosure by INM chief financial officer Ryan
Preston, the court heard.
    Buckley, who represented O'Brien on the board before
becoming chairman in 2012, wanted to buy Newstalk "no matter
what", Kelly said on Tuesday, quoting a submission from the
ODCE, and acted in a way that was advantageous to O'Brien and
not the company.
    The ODCE also alleged that an external IT group was hired on
behalf of Buckley to download data from INM's servers belonging
to 19 people, some of whom were journalists and lawyers that had
acted in opposition to O'Brien in the past.
    In a statement issued in April, Buckley said he would
"robustly defend his position against each and every
allegation". 
    Shares in the group were 2.8 percent higher at 0.08 euros by
1510 GMT, unchanged following the judgment.

 (Reporting by Graham Fahy, writing by Padraic Halpin; editing
by David Evans)
 ((padraic.halpin@thomsonreuters.com; +353 1 500 1504; Reuters
Messaging: padraic.halpin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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