Shareholders in Independent News and Media have overwhelmingly backed the €145.6 million takeover of the company by Belgian-Dutch group, Mediahuis.

It follows a series of votes at an Extraordinary General Meeting in Dublin earlier this morning on a scheme and resolutions that collectively give effect to the takeover.

In a statement the company said a majority of shareholders representing nearly 94% of the share value of INM had voted in favour of the scheme.

Six resolutions also voted on were approved by shareholders who collectively hold 96% of the firm's share value.

The takeover remains conditional on approval from the Minister for Communications and the High Court.

The company said it is anticipated that permission will be sought from the court in the third quarter of the year.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has already given the green light to the takeover.

Earlier, the chairman of INM told shareholders that the board has every faith in the plans for the company that are being put forward by Mediahuis. 

Speaking at the EGM, Murdoch MacLennan said the Dutch-Belgian group has the experience, expertise and skills to drive the business forward faster, at a time of rapid change in the media industry. 

The short meeting, which took place in a hotel in North County Dublin, was attended by around 50 shareholders, as well as the board of the company and advisors to the deal.  

Not everyone attending the meeting was happy with the deal on the table, though. 

One shareholder claimed the 44% premium being offered by Mediahuis on the share price at the time of the offer was not a true reflection of the company's value because the share price was depressed as a result of the ongoing investigation into INM by High Court inspectors. 

"This is a catastrophic deal," he told the meeting. 

However, INM Chairman Murdoch MacLennan, said the company's shares had not traded above that point for 18 months prior to the offer being made. 

Another shareholder said it was a sad day and called for other interested parties to be given more time to put together alternative offers for the company. 

Mr McLennan told him any such offers should be put in writing to the board.


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Speaking to the media afterwards, INM chief executive Michael Doorly said it was a day of mixed emotions as the meeting represented the end of an era, as it likely marked the end of INM as a public limited company. 

He also said it was a sad day for a lot of shareholders who have been aligned with the company for many years and loyal supporters of it. 

"It is also an exciting new chapter for the business, and I think for the other stakeholders and particularly the employees, this is the start of a new beginning and we are excited by it," he said. 

Speaking about the general media landscape to reporters afterwards, board member Kieran Mulvey strongly criticised the significant threat being posed by large technology companies. 

He said over-the-top (OTTs) media services like Facebook and Google are hoovering up to 80% of advertising revenue and not paying appropriate tax in the countries where they operate. 

Mr Mulvey said the issue was something that the Government needs to be more involved in. 

He added that there is need for concerted action to investigate whether some technology companies have almost reached monopoly status. 

Mr Mulvey said existing regulators here are not equipped to deal with the challenge and that it is something that should be examined by collective action at European level and through the OECD. 

"You are up against companies that are bigger than most economies in he world, not alone in their annual turnover but some of them in their quarterly turnover," he said. 

He said the issue goes back to the "age old multinational problem - don't upset the multinationals because they will leave."

"We need a better approach, we need a more equitable approach. We need a more medium to long-term approach, that we cannot have media outlets that are supranational and not subject to country regulation or not amenable to it," he claimed.