It’s in The Irish Times (subs req), on RTÉ.ie and breakingnews.ie has it covered too; The Irish Times Ltd. is to pay a whopping €50 million for Irish property website Myhome.ie (€40 million up front and €10 million over a 5-year period).
The Sunday Business Post told us that The Guardian, Irish Times, Rightmove and possibily Independent News & Media were all still in the running as of the 23rd of July; it also stated that “there has been speculation that the site might sell for €40 million plus, but well-placed sources believe that the likely selling price could be closer to €30 million.” which turned out to be a very conservative estimate.
The purchase by The Irish Times Ltd. is another string to the bow of the media group and has the potential to make the company another Irish media empire. The group currently owns 45% of Metro Ireland, has a 5% share in a North-West radio licence bid and has invested heavily in upcoming women’s title ‘Gloss’ (subs req). The group also owns Ireland.com, it’s online news portal and nicemove.ie its classifieds website. It is unclear what changes will be made to nicemove.ie or myhome.ie once this purchase is approved, while nicemove.ie covers Cars and Jobs it also covers Property; perhaps that section will be dropped or the entire site will be integrated into Myhome.ie.
What is interesting about the move is that this is The Irish Times Ltd.’s first business move that didn’t involve them getting in at the ground up; In all other cases they held their shares at launch but this time they’re buying into a tried and tested formula instead.
What’s next for the group? Well Damien suggests Irishblogs.ie might be on their wishlist in a few years time, and it’s entirely possible. Given the fact that some of the money had to be borrowed for this purchase (the cost is double the amount the company made from the sale of it’s historic D’Olier Street offices) however I’d imagine things will calm for a short period but that’s not to be assumed at all. I’ll put my money (and a little bit of hope) on an Ireland.com redesign; perhaps if that happens in the near future and they move towards something a kin to Comment is Free they might get a taste for blogging after all!