Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 18 May 1993

Vol. 430 No. 8

Written Answers. - Sunday Tribune Shareholding.

Eamon Gilmore


25 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he has been approached by representatives of the Independent Group regarding its reported interest in acquiring control of the Sunday Tribune newspaper; if so, the basis of these discussions in the light of the order made following a report by the Competition Authority blocking a previous application to increase the Independent shareholding in the Tribune; his views on the desirability of one commercial group being allowed to control such a substantial share of the Irish Sunday newspaper market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Minister for Commerce and Technology has had some general approaches from representatives of Independent Newspapers plc regarding the application of the Competition Act.

I wish to point out that no proposal has been received by my Department under the mergers and take-over legislation in respect of the Independent Group increasing its shareholding in the Tribune Group, since the order prohibiting such an increase was made.

As the Deputy is aware, in January 1992 Independent Newspapers plc made a formal notification under the Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978 (as amended) of its proposal to increase its shareholding in the Tribune Group from 29.99 per cent to a possible 53.09 per cent. This proposal was referred to the Competition Authority by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Competition Authority, in a majority decision, recommended that the proposal be prohibited.
When the Minister made the order in March 1992 prohibiting the proposal, the reasons were that the proposal would operate against the common good, and that in particular competition in the market for Irish Sunday newspapers and, to a lesser extent, in the market for all Sunday newspapers and for advertising in all Irish newspapers could be so restricted as to operate against the common good.
I should point out to the Deputy that Independent Newspapers plc and Tribune Newspapers plc have initiated legal proceedings by means of an appeal to the High Court. In these circumstances I feel constrained from saying anything further until the High Court makes its decision.