Daily Mail buys out Bristol press group

DAILY MAIL & General Trust, the newspaper publisher, agreed yesterday to buy out the 70 per cent of Bristol United Press it didn't already own, valuing the company at pounds 121.5m.

The offer price of 742.5p per BUP share was a 43 per cent premium over the closing mid-market price before yesterday's deal. BUP publishes, prints and distributes newspapers, including the Bristol Evening Post and the Western Daily Press. It also publishes magazines and has interests in electronic publishing, including a stake in a regional press online classified advertising service, Fish4. DMGT already owned 29.9 per cent of BUP through a series of holdings - the maximum stake allowed without launching a full takeover offer.

The buyout boosts DMGT's share of the regional newspaper market from 12 to 14 per cent. Combined with its Northcliffe subsidiary, operating in the Midlands and south-west England, DMGT will rank second to Trinity Mirror, which has 20 per cent of the market.

The buyout is conditional on formal approval being granted by Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who will deliver his verdict next spring. DMGT shares fell by 20p to 3,680p.

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