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Competition watchdog to further investigate mooted Irish Times takeover of Irish Examiner

The investigating team has until 1 August to deliver its decision.

File Photo THE IRISH TIMES has agreed to buy the Cork-based media company that publishes the Irish Examiner. Source: RollingNews.ie

THE COMPETITION AND Consumer Protection Commission has decided to carry out an investigation into the proposed transaction which would see the Irish Times acquire the Irish Examiner newspaper.

Last December, agreement was reached on a deal which would see the Irish Times buy the company behind the Examiner, Sappho Limited.

Sappho publishes newspapers including the Examiner and the Evening Echo, together with the websites BreakingNews.ie and Benchwarmers.ie and radio stations WLR FM and Beat 102-103 (both Waterford).

Clearance by the CCPC was expected to take four months initially, however the new investigation has until 1 August to deliver its findings.

“Following a preliminary investigation, the CCPC has determined that further analysis is required to establish if the proposed transaction could lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services in the state,” the Commission said in a statement.

Had the deal been cleared in its entirety it was expected that the Irish Times would take ownership of Beat, a 75% stake in WLR and a near 18% share of Cork’s Red FM.

It would also take ownership of Breakingnews.ie, Irishexaminer.com, Recruitireland.com and a majority share of sports site Benchwarmers.

The deal also requires clearance from both the government and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

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