Johnston Press Scotsman takeover approved

Johnston Press's £161m acquisition of Scotsman Publications is not be referred to the Competition Commission.

This is the decision of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which has ruled that the deal, in which Johnston Press bought seven newspapers from the Barclay Brothers, is not expected to result in any substantial lessening of competition in the area covered by the papers.

Scotsman Publications, which has a UK turnover of £63.5m, owned titles including The Scotsman, the Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland on Sunday, the weekly free Edinburgh Herald & Post series, plus Scotsman.com.

The OFT said it had examined the overlap of the titles with the local weekly newspapers already owned by Johnston in Scotland and concluded that the merger would not result in any big changes in competition criteria.

The OFT said it believed that The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, both national newspapers, were not constrained by the behaviour of Johnston's local weekly newspapers to any significant extent.

It also considered the markets in Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and West Lothian, but said these areas would not be adversely affected either.

Johnston Press currently publishes over 300 local and regional newspapers and hosts 175 internet sites.

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