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Watchdogs rule out inquiry into MEN sale

Competition watchdogs have given the final all-clear to Trinity Mirror’s purchase of the Manchester Evening News and other titles.

The Office of Fair Trading had previously invited representations on whether to refer the £44m deal to a Competition Commission inquiry.

But the OFT announced yesterday that it will be taking no further action over the sale of the GMG Regional Media titles, which was completed on 28 March.

A one-line statement on its website read: “The OFT has cleared the acquisition by Trinity Mirror plc of the regional newspaper titles of Guardian Media Group plc. The full text of the decision will be available shortly.”

The decision will disappoint the National Union of Journalists which had made clear its view that the deal raised “plurality issues.”

At the time of the deal, deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet expressed concerns about the “diversity of information and media in the North West” given Trinity’s ownership of the Liverpool Post and Echo along with numerous weekly papers in Cheshire and Merseyside.

However the decision will be seen by the industry as giving the green light to other possible mergers and asset-swaps between regional publishers with interests in geographically contiguous areas.

Trinity Mirror has yet to issue any comment on the OFT decision.


Subreporter (05/05/2010 16:18:35)
Will Sly be cracking open (another) bottle of champers?

Cliff (06/05/2010 11:16:15)
The NUJ comments on this are laughable. The sale doesn’t have any impact on ‘diversity of information and media in the north west’ because the MEN doesn’t cover the circulation areas of any existing Trinity Mirror titles. Even in Cheshire, TM has titles in the West, while the MEN weeklies are in the east. Surely this would only be an issue if they were going head to head? More nonsense from the NUJ.