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RIM report deadline extended

The Competition Commission has put back the date by which it will report to the Department of Trade and Industry on the proposed take over of newspaper publisher Regional Independent Media (RIM) from September 27 until October 6.

Gannett UK, owners of Newsquest, and Johnston Press want to buy RIM and their proposals were referred to the Competition Commission on July 12.

The Guardian Media Group (GMG) entered the race and its interest was referred to the commission on July 21.

RIM launched a new title, Blackpool Now, after July 12, so that had to be referred to the commmission separately in August.

The commission said it cannot now meet the September 27 deadline and has announced a new later date.

Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers will ultimately make a decision on whether or not a sale would be allowed under competition regulations.

The acquisition of newspaper assets is automatically referred if a company has paid-for circulation of 500,000 or more.

GMG already owns regional newspaper titles including the Manchester Evening News. Gannett UK owns Newsquest, which publishes titles like the Northern Echo, the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, the Brighton Evening Argus and the York Evening Press. Johnston owns a host of smaller newspaper groups which publish titles including the Derbyshire Times, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Falkirk Herald, Scarborough Evening News and the Wakefield Express.

RIM has seven daily and 40 weekly titles and is one of Britain’s largest remaining independent regional newspaper groups. It could be worth between £500m and £650m.

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