Denis O'Brien (left) and Alex White: What are the Media Mergers Guidelines really all about?
Communications Minister Alex White has published the department's 'Media Mergers Guidelines' an initiated a consultation therein. Much public attention has shifted to Mr Denis O'Brien, whose empire has recently extended to include the top two non-RTE national radio stations as well as a significant (though according to the courts non-controlling) stake in Independent News and Media. It has been suggested that perhaps Mr O'Brien's acquisition of Today FM in particular would not have passed a new 'undue control' test that the department proposes to introduce. Whatever the wrongs and the rights of it, it remains unlikely that the BAI would ever seek retrospective enforcement, and force a breakup of the O'Brien empire; for one thing, such a process would outlast any Chairman so brazen as to initiate it, so one is bound to wonder what the point would be.