Ireland's largest newspaper group, Independent News & Media, said on Thursday that it had received an approach in relation to a possible offer for the company.
INM, which owns Ireland's highest selling daily and Sunday newspapers, said discussions were at a preliminary stage and advised shareholders not to take any action as there was no certainty that any offer will be made or what the terms may be.
The group's shares rose 23% to 0.09 euros after the statement.
The Irish Times reported earlier on Thursday that INM Chief Executive Officer, Michael Doorly, raised the prospect of a sale in meetings with the Dublin investment community this week. INM noted the recent press speculation in its statement.
The Irish Times quoted sources as saying German media group Axel Springer had taken a look at INM in the past, while Norwegian group Schibsted has also been rumoured to have an interest.
INM, which has a market capitalisation of just over 100 million euros, has struggled with flagging profits in recent years and is currently subject to a court-ordered investigation into corporate governance issues.
Ireland's High Court approved an application by the state's corporate watchdog last September to appoint inspectors to investigate potentially unlawful conduct at the group, including allegations that journalists’ data might have been accessed for an "improper purpose." (Reuters)