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London titles can be sold to Newsquest

The two remaining London newspapers targeted by Newsquest in a bid to expand its portfolio in the capital have been given the go-ahead to be sold to the group.

They were part of a bid for 27 weekly papers owned by Independent News & Media, eight of which the Competition Commission felt might operate against the public interest if sold to Newsquest.

Competition Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has now agreed to the transfer of the Hornsey Journal and North London Weekly Herald.

He said: “I have concluded that the Hornsey Journal and North London Weekly Herald series are unlikely to be viable on a stand-alone basis.

“If consent to transfer these titles to Newsquest was refused, there is a likelihood that the titles would be closed which is too strong to be ignored.”

After the sale of all 27 titles together was blocked by the Commission, rival publishing company Northcliffe tested the water over whether it might be able to buy them. The Department of Trade and Industry has asked third parties to comment.

The original deal with Newsquest was made in March and sent to the Commission in May. It is possible that Independent News & Media may wish to dispose of all titles to one buyer rather than split the portfolio.

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