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Watchdog invites comments on newspaper takeover bid

A government watchdog is inviting comments on the proposed sale of one of the country’s biggest free weekly newspapers to regional publisher Northcliffe Media.

Last August the company, owner of the daily Nottingham Post, announced that it wanted to buy the independently-owned Nottingham and Long Eaton Topper.

The Office of Fair Trading is now asking for comments on the proposed sale, saying written representations about any competition or public interest issues need to be submitted by Wednesday 21 March.

The Topper, based in West Bridgford, is the only free weekly title distributed in the city since Northcliffe closed the Nottingham Recorder last June as part of a wider review of its portfolio.  The Topper has a circulation of 212, 787

Northcliffe managing director Steve Auckland said at time of the announcement that he thought it would make an excellent addition to the Nottingham Post businesses.

The company had initially hoped to finalise the deal by the end of last year.

Diana Peasey, chair of the Nottingham branch of the National Union of Journalists, said the union will be seeking guarantees that whoever takes over the Topper ensures its survival and doesn’t immediately close it down with the loss of jobs.

Said Diana: “It is a very successful weekly and obviously very attractive to newspaper groups like Northcliffe.

“However, the branch has concerns about Northcliffe particularly with the scale of structural changes at the Nottingham Post in the past few years and whether the Daily Mail and General Trust will still attempt to sell off it regional interests, namely Northcliffe Media.”

Northcliffe Media had not commented at the time of publication.


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  • March 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    They close one – with major impact of the market place and staff!!
    They then look to purchase another old rival at much, much less than the last time that they made an offer!
    If they had kept the Recorder going they would not have been needing to spend money that they don’t appear to have! Oh I nearly forgot – they do have money as they have sacked thousands of staff – silly me!

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  • March 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Northcliffe have always been desperate to create a monopoly in this area by eliminating the competition – surely the OFT’s role is to prevent this?

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  • March 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    With sales down 17.2 per cent to 33,940 in the second half of 2011 it won’t be long before The Post goes weekly – hence the desire to kill any competing weekly in the area.

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