The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared the proposed acquisition by the owners of the Irish Times of the publishing and media interests of the Landmark Media Group, which owns the Irish Examiner newspaper as well as a number of other media assets.

In its evaluation of the deal, the CCPC said it "found no evidence that The Irish Times and the Irish Examiner are each other's closest competitor in the publication and sale of daily national newspapers or in the sale of advertising".

The watchdog therefore concluded the deal "will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any relevant market in the State".

The deal between the two groups was agreed last December, with the Examiner’s parent company reportedly carrying debt of around €16 million.

The value of the transaction was disclosed, but it is understood The Irish Times paid only a nominal amount to acquire the assets.

It is understood AIB will write off around €10m of the debt as part of the deal. 

ABC circulation figures for the first six months of 2017 showed average daily sales of 28,338 for the Irish Examiner, and 62,423 for The Irish Times.

At the time of the deal, Managing Director of The Irish Times DAC Liam Kavanagh said the company is "fully committed to working with the respective Union groups in each company on any restructuring proposals that will need to be made". 

Landmark Media currently employs around 400 people.

Around 250 of these work from the company's Cork offices and are employed in the Irish Examiner and Evening Echo newspapers and in their related online and digital businesses.

The remainder work in the company's regional titles and radio stations.

Landmark Media is owned by Tom and Ted Crosbie. The family has owned the Examiner since the 19th century and took most of the assets of the old Thomas Crosbie Holdings out of receivership four years ago.

Current Landmark Group CEO Tom Murphy will exit the business at legal completion of the deal.