Archant completes London buy-up

Archant has completed its £62m deal to buy 27 weekly London newspapers from Independent News and Media.

The Norfolk-based regional newspaper publisher completed the first part of the deal in early December, paying £52m for the North London, East London and Essex IN&M newspaper divisions.

The second stage of the acquisition went through on 30 December, when Archant paid £10m for the remaining North West London and Kent divisions.

Archant bought the group in two stages due to competition regulations. Under the rules that applied last year, deals had to be referred to the Competition Commission if a company’s total combined daily and weekly sale was more than 500,000.

Although the second part of the deal pushed Archant’s circulation above 500,000, the Communications Act, which passed into law on 29 December, created a more liberal regime for newspaper mergers and superseded the old rules.

Titles in the latest deal included the Kentish Times series, the Hammersmith Times and the Wembley Chronicle.

Archant chief executive John Fry said: “This transaction leads to Archant moving to fifth place in the league table of regional publishers, but we remain a relatively small player in the London market.

By Dominic Ponsford

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