The UK’s competition regulator has opened an investigation into the merger of the Trinity Mirror group and the parent company of the Express and Star newspapers.
Trinity Mirror, which owns the Daily Mirror and hundreds of regional titles, bought the published assets of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, which includes the Daily and Sunday Express, for £126.7m in February.
At the time, Trinity Mirror said the deal would “improve its print and digital editorial propositions by reducing duplication, sharing content and widening the breadth of editorial coverage with larger combined teams”.
When the deal completed in March, the Competition and Markets Authority said it was looking at the transaction, and on Wednesday, the watchdog said it had launched an investigation over concerns that the merger would substantially lessen competition in the UK media sector.
The regulator also said it had brought the merger to the attention of the secretary of state for digital, culture, media & sport, because the tie-up "may raise public interest considerations", which could include concerns over media plurality.
The CMA said it will announce its decision by 7 June 2018, although this deadline may change during the course of its investigation.
Trinity Mirror could not be reached for comment.
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