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Cameron speaks out on scrapped Kent merger plans

The Prime Minister has said he shares the frustration of the KM Group after its bid to buy seven newspapers in Kent from Northcliffe Media was scrapped after being referred to the Office of Fair Trading.

Speaking at the Newspaper Society’s annual lunch on Thursday, David Cameron denied it meant a failure of the government’s supposed relaxation of merger rules to help struggling local publishers.

The Guardian reported that he told newspaper executives “not to give up” on merger deals but backed the UK’s competition authorities.

Mr Cameron said:  “I’m afraid though that through the OFT we have a competition authority in place to make very difficult decisions. Don’t give up on those arguments.

“You clearly face a challenging time which [will] involve some companies coming together. You have to make a case to the OFT [but] competition authorities have to be independent.”

Geraldine Allinson, the KM Group chairman, who sat next to the PM at the Newspaper Society lunch, argued that her company could not afford the ‘completely unreasonable’ costs to see the deal through.

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  • October 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Merger? This proposed deal was never a merger. Try takeover.

    And how can the KM continue to bang on about ‘growth’ when, if this deal had gone ahead, they would have closed titles and made staff redundant? How is that growth?

    Also, not surprised to see a Tory PM come out on the KM’s side, as a newspaper group they have always been distinctly blue in hue, despite the ghastly yellow logo.

    PS. And I’ve also noticed the ‘pro-sale/ anti OFT decision’ views expressed by the Independent and Independent on Sunday. Titles that just happen to be based in the Derry Street HQ of the Daily Mail group, who were also eager for the deal to go ahead.

    Strange that.

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