Associated welcomes OFT ruling on second London free daily

Associated Newspapers has “welcomed” the long-awaited result of an
Office of Fair Trading inquiry into whether a second free paper can be
allowed at Transport for London stations.
 
The result clears the way for Daily Express owner
Richard Desmond to launch his long-threatened free daily evening paper
for London.
But there is no guarantee the contract will go to Desmond.
 
Last month London Mayor Ken Livingstone started
an open tendering process for a second free daily in London.
The OFT report means Associated Newspapers continues to have the
exclusive right to distribute its morning freesheet Metro on London
Underground.
 
But it opens the way for a rival publisher to launch an afternoon free daily paper distributed at tube stations.
 
In a statement the Metro publisher indicated that
the OFT announcement is the compromise it was looking for because it
retains the excusivity in the mornings.
It said: “Associated Newspapers welcomes the announcement made by the
Office of Fair Trading today.
 
“Associated Newspapers has been in discussions
with the OFT for some time aimed at resolving its investigation and
today’s announcement involves no findings being made against Associated
Newspapers.”
 
Associated managing director Kevin Beatty said: “I am pleased that the OFT has provisionally decided to accept our proposals.
 
“We passionately believe that the success of
Metro is due to its unrivalled editorial approach, which is so
appreciated by its audience and advertisers and not by the way it is
distributed. We are confident that Metro will continue to go from
strength to strength.”
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