Competition Minister Melanie Johnson today referred the proposed
acquisition of SMG’s The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times to the Competition Commission.
Gannett’s UK division Newsquest Media has applied for the Secretary of State’s consent to acquire the newspapers and related assets under the special newspaper merger regime. The application falls under the mandatory reference provisions of the regime.
The Competition Commission will be directed to report on whether the proposed transfers may be expected to operate against the public interest, looking in particular at the need for accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion.
The Commission will report by 10 March 2003.
Newsquest is the second biggest regional newspaper publisher in the UK.