End of the O’Reilly era

More ominous newspaper news…“We have no plans to sell – at this stage” says Gavin O’Reilly, announced this morning as his father’s successor as CEO of Independent News and Media, the owners of the creaking media empire including the Independent in London, the Irish Independent in Dublin and its tiring cash cow the Belfast Telegraph. Father Tony ( a.k.a. Sir Anthony) has come under tremendous pressure to wrap up his feud with telecoms tycoon Denis O’Brien who had fiercely opposed Sir Anthony’s strategy of selling off profitable bits of the empire to shore up the Independent. Is it a truce or a final defeat for the O’Reillys as two family members step down from the board and three O’Brien nominees take their place? While the Bel Tel’s position is probably as close to safe as it gets in these turbulent days, strategy for the group is now in the melting pot. Not along ago, Gavin called O’Brien ” a gnat.” o longer. From the Guardian report

O’Reilly is burying the hatched with arch-rival telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien who will be given three seats on a slimmed down board of directors. The move is designed to help INM out of the financial abyss it is facing – its share price continues to be battered on the Dublin stock exchange where it closed yesterday at just 10cents compared to a year high of E2.43.. Tony O’Reilly remains the largest shareholder.

The INM group seems to have been caught in the hop, with the Independent carrying the Press Association’s report rather than their own story. At least the Indy uses one of their own by lines, presumably because of the Dublin newsbreak early this morning.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London