The purchase of Independent News and Media by Belgian-Dutch group Mediahuis has moved a step closer after the deal was cleared by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

An offer to buy the group for €145.6 million was unanimously recommended by the board of INM in late April.

The offer was given a significant boost after Denis O'Brien and Dermot Desmond agreed to sell their shares in the company.

Mr O'Brien was a 29.9% shareholder while Mr Desmond owned 15% of the company.

The takeover remains subject to the approval of INM shareholders as well as the Minister for Communications and the High Court.

Some shareholders expressed their opposition to the sale at the company's AGM on the day the deal was announced.

They claimed the company was being under-valued as it has significant cash reserves on its balance sheet.