Potential impact on editorial independence and media plurality cited
The culture secretary, Matt Hancock, has said he is “minded to" intervene in Trinity Mirror's proposed purchase of the Daily Express, Daily Star and a number of other titles on two public-interest grounds.
He cited the potential impact the transfer of newspapers would have on editorial decision making and independence, as well as the need for a sufficient 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.
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Mr Hancock said he had taken into account that the merged entity would own 9 out of 20 national UK newspaper titles.
It would become "the second largest national newspaper organisation in circulation terms, with a 28 per cent share of average monthly circulation based on circulation figures for 2017 among national titles, including daily and Sunday titles," he said.
Any decision to intervene would require Ofcom make an assessment and report to the culture secretary on public interest considerations.
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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) would also have 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 national 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.
It announced a £200m deal with Northern and Shell to buy its publishing assets in February in a move it said would help
A tie-up will bring left-leaning Mirror under the same roof as the Daily Express and Sunday Express, which both backed the Leave campaign in 2016’s Brexit referendum.