Communicorp has acquired the classifieds website and print title, Buy & Sell, from the liquidator of the company for an undisclosed figure.
Buy & Sell was published by a company called Buzreel which collapsed into liquidation in March, following a petition by a creditor, Midland Web Printing, to wind the company up. Following the appointment of a liquidator, Midland Web Printing made several attempts to buy the assets of the business but was eventually outbid, in a sealed-bidding process conducted through the Supreme Court, by a company called Dermica, a subsidiary of Communicorp. At one stage the bidding went as high as €311,000 and the final bid is likely to have been in excess of €400,000, according to sources.
The acquisition marks Communicorp’s first foray outside its core radio business, although it does own the digital advertising agency ICAN. Communicorp’s owner, Denis O’Brien is also the largest shareholder in Independent News & Media.
Although the classified advertising market in Ireland has enjoyed strong growth in recent years, particularly online, Buy & Sell has had a troubled history ever since it was purchased by financier Niall McFadden from Associated Newspapers back in 2007 for an jaw-dropping €28m. While the acquisition at the time was funded by cash reserves of €7m and borrowings from National Irish Bank amounting to €21m, the subsequent collapse in adspend and the inability of the company to service its debts led to a restructuring of the group which ended up in a change in ownership in 2010.