Northcliffe mulls Kent papers closure after OFT referral

Northcliife Media has announced proposals to close the Medway News and East Kent Gazette – two of the seven titles it tried selling to the KM Group last month.

The deal fell through after the Office of Fair Trading referred the decision to the Competition Commission, a process that could have cost both companies more than £500,000.

The closures could result in the loss of between 35 and 40 jobs.

In a statement released this afternoon the company said: ‘Northcliffe Media has announced the potential closure of the Medway News and East Kent Gazette as part of a review of its activities across Kent and the wider South East.

‘The restructure is in response to the collapse of the proposed sale of Kent Regional News & Media following referral of the transaction to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading in October.

‘This review has concluded that continuing to publish the Medway News and East Kent Gazette is not financially viable. Subject to consultation with staff both titles are likely to cease publication in early December.”

Group managing director Steve Auckland said: ‘As a result of the OFT’s decision on our proposed sale of Kent Regional News & Media to the KM Group we have no choice but to consider closing these titles with the resulting job losses.”

The news comes after KM Group last week announced plans to make up to 10 voluntary redundancies as a result of the OFT’s decision.

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