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Publisher attacks government ‘inaction’ over Local World buyout

Trinity Mirror plcThe chairman of a family-owned newspaper group has hit out at what he describes as Trinity Mirror’s “profoundly disturbing” takeover of Local World.

In an open letter to government watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority, Bullivant Media chairman Chris Bullivant senior has warned a lack of ministerial overview into November’s buyout has “stymied future competition in the cities of the UK”.

Bullivant Media owns 11 weekly newspapers in the Midlands, a region in which Trinity Mirror now owns the vast majority of daily papers.

In his letter, Chris said an opportunity to break into the regional monopolies which he says now exist in all of England’s major cities has been “thwarted by Government inaction”.

He wrote: “In my opinion the transaction was not only for the transfer of newspaper titles but, in reality, ownership of the majority of news and advertising sources in the cities, towns and regions of mainly England.

Chris added: “Just as new technology made regional newspapers vulnerable to competition from the 1970s, which broke most of the monopolies then in existence and created thousands of new jobs, so the new technology of the 2010s makes the 90 odd regional daily newspapers vulnerable to attack by entrepreneurs, thus creating many more jobs and, more importantly, a variance of editorial views within each competing marketplace.”

In his letter, Chris added he may look for a “legal remedy” if any “collusion” between the CMA and the government could be established over the deal.

The CMA says it looked into the deal but decided not to investigate after considering the case, while Trinity Mirror has declined to comment.


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  • April 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Hmmm. Feels a bit like sour grapes because despite his best attempts, Bullivant still can’t get a foot hold back into Birmingham? As the journalists who supported his last attempt will remember, when the chips are down it doesn’t matter whether you are a PLC or small independent like Bullivant, the guys at the top look after themselves.

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  • April 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I do sagree.

    Newspapers simply don’t compete with each other these days. The only real competitors are non or low-tax paying Facebook, Google and Twitter who are hoovering-up advertising revenues.

    The UK-based regional press needs to be allowed to compete with these organisations if the treasury is ever going to collect sufficient tax. Consolidation, though not perfect, looks like the only way they’ll ever have the scale to do that.

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