On 23 April 2018, the Secretary of State confirmed that he was minded to intervene in the merger between Trinity Mirror Plc and Northern & Shell’s publishing assets on media plurality and free expression of opinion public interest grounds.
Having considered representations, the Secretary of State announced on 1 May his decision to issue a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) on both grounds. This triggered action for Ofcom to report to Secretary of State on the media public interest considerations and the CMA on jurisdiction and any competition issues, respectively. The Ofcom and CMA reports were provided on 31 May 2018.
On 20 June 2018, the Secretary of State published the Ofcom and CMA reports and announced that he would accept Ofcom’s conclusions that the merger does not raise concerns in relation to either plurality of views or free expression of opinion in newspapers. The Secretary of State confirmed in a statement to Parliament that he has decided not to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation.