Culture Secretary could intervene in Trinity Mirror purchase of the Express and Star

Potential impact on editorial independence and media plurality cited

Ben Chapman
Monday 23 April 2018 17:06
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The merged media group would own nine out of 20 national newspaper titles
The merged media group would own nine out of 20 national newspaper titles

Culture secretary Matt Hancock has is “minded to” intervene in Trinity Mirror’s proposed purchase of the Daily Express, Daily Star and a number of other titles, on the grounds of public interest.

He cited concerns about editorial decision-making and independence, as well as the need for plurality of views in newspapers.

Trinity Mirror also plans to buy the Sunday Express, Daily Star and celebrity magazine OK!, among other titles, from Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell media group.

The merged entity would own nine out of 20 national UK newspaper titles, with a 28 per cent share of monthly circulation, Mr Hancock said.

Media regulator Ofcom will need to make an assessment of the public interest concerns and report to the culture secretary before he makes a final decision on whether to intervene in the deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will also be required to report on whether it has jurisdiction to review the merger.

Mr Hancock said he had invited written representations from the parties and will aim to make a final decision on whether to intervene “shortly”.

Trinity Mirror owns the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People newspapers, as well as the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Scotland. It also owns in excess of 100 regional titles including the Manchester Evening News.

The media group announced a £200m deal with Northern and Shell to buy its publishing assets in February.

A tie-up will bring left-leaning Mirror newspapers under the same roof as the Daily Express and Sunday Express, which both backed the Leave campaign in 2016’s Brexit referendum.

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