Dublin’s two rival free morning newspapers, Metro Ireland and Herald AM, have announced plans to merge.
Metro Ireland joint owners Associated Newspapers and The Irish Times, and Herald AM publisher Independent News and Media, said in a joint statement today that they had agreed to join forces.
The new venture, Metro Herald, is subject to competition authority approval. Each of the three companies will own an equal stake in the merged business.
A spokewoman for the papers said it was not possible to give any indication of the timescale involved in getting competition clearance.
“There is nothing else we can say about the merger at the moment as it is subject to investigation,” she told Press Gazette.
Herald AM was set up in 2005 and is distributed in train stations and bus stops in the Irish capital each weekday. It had an average daily circulation of 72,489 in May according to ABC.
Metro Ireland, which also launched in 2005, had a daily circulation of 70,321 in May.
Associated Newspapers free division managing director Steve Auckland said of the proposed merger: “This is a great development for all three parties.
“This combination of two quality free daily titles ensures that despite the difficult market conditions, Dublin commuters will continue to enjoy a free daily newspaper and advertisers will benefit from access to a young, urban audience.”
Independent Newspapers Ireland chief executive Vincent Crowley added: “The strong local brand of Herald AM, merged with Metro Ireland, creates a unique free daily newspaper.
“Readers and advertisers alike will welcome this development, which meets the needs of Dublin’s morning commuters for a light yet informative read, and serves effectively those advertisers that seek to engage with them.”
Irish Times managing director Maeve Donovan said: “The merger will build on the success of Metro in creating a strong newspaper brand for young urban commuters.
“It will provide a powerful platform for advertisers as a single unified title looking to maximize the effectiveness of advertising spend to this valuable audience.”