The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has on Thursday launched an investigation into the anticipated joint venture between DMG Media and News Corp UK & Ireland Limited in respect of their newspaper printing activities in Britain.
News UK and DMG Media – two of the UK’s biggest newspaper publishers – have in October last year proposed the joint venture which would combine the printing operations of Newsprinters (News UK) and DMG Media printing sites in Thurrock and Dinnington.
Under the proposal, a new company, NewCo, would be created to run the combined print operations.
The companies said the proposed NewCo would help improve the efficiency of News UK and DMG Media’s print operations and establish a sustainable business model for the future of national newspaper printing in the UK.
The CMA said it is considering whether the merger will ‘result in a substantial lessening of competition’ and has invited comments on the transaction from any interested party. The regulator is expected to conclude its initial investigation by 28 March.
The proposal would retain the three current Newsprinters sites in Broxbourne, Knowsley and Eurocentral, and would potentially mean the closure of DMG Media sites in Thurrock and Dinnington. DMG Media would retain ownership of the Carn print site in Northern Ireland which is unaffected by this proposal and will operate as normal.
Newsprinters currently prints for a number of national and regional clients, including News UK, DMG Media, Telegraph Media Group, Financial Times, Newsquest, Sport, Evening Standard, John Lewis Partnership, Post Publications, Newtrade and Clearsky, as well as providing distribution for the Guardian.
DMG Media brands include Daily Mail, Metro, i and New Scientist.