Denis O'Brien takes his stake in Independent News & Media above 25%

Denis O'Brien has taken his stake in Independent News & Media above 25%, giving him the power to block special resolutions. By Katie Allen

Denis O'Brien has ratcheted up the pressure on Independent News & Media by taking his stake in the newspaper publisher above 25%, giving him the power to block special resolutions.

The Irish billionaire, who has been at odds with INM chief chief executive Sir Anthony O'Reilly over both strategy and corporate governance at the company, now has a 25.04% stake according to a stock exchange announcement today.

That means he can block special resolutions at extraordinary general meetings.

O'Brien has been building his stake in INM over the past two years and his increased investment now gives him substantial clout as an investor.

Taking his shareholding above 25% does not give O'Brien any significant extra power at INM's upcoming annual general meeting on June 11 but it is likely to prove an irritation to the company's management, given the increased impetus to engage with the man it recently branded a "dissident shareholder".

A spokesman for O'Brien said last night that he had yet to decide if he or any of his representatives would be attending the upcoming AGM.

O'Brien has attacked the company for worsening corporate governance and says he wants the size of the INM board halved. He claims other shareholders are becoming increasingly concerned about the close ties of directors to O'Reilly.

His advisers, the Davis Group, are putting the finishing touches to a report on INM's governance.

In an interview with the Guardian last week O'Brien said: "They need to restructure the board entirely. Instead of having 20, best practice would be to have 10 to 11 people and they need to put maybe four or five people under 30 on the board. I'm talking about a complete mind change."

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Contributor

Katie Allen

The GuardianTramp

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