Johnston Press plc / Thorne and District Gazette and associated titles

OFT closed case: Anticipated acquisition by Johnston Press plc of Thorne and District Gazette and associated titles.

Affected market: Local newspapers

No. ME/1617/05

On the basis of the information available to it, the Office of Fair Trading has decided that the anticipated acquisition by Johnston Press plc of Thorne and District Gazette and Associated Titles does not qualify for investigation under the mergers provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002, because neither the UK turnover test nor the share of supply test in section 23 of the Act is met. 

The parties’ share of supply of local newspaper advertising would be greater than 25 per cent as a result of the merger in both the circulation area of the Thorne and District Gazette and the total circulation area of the parties’ overlapping titles. 

The OFT does not believe that the areas of the circulation of the Thorne and District Gazette or of the parties’ overlapping titles are of such size, character and importance as to be worthy of consideration for the purposes of the Act, and these areas are therefore not considered to be substantial parts of the UK.

Therefore, the OFT does not believe that it is or may be the case that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation.

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