The UK has cleared the way for the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Reach Plc, to take over the ownership of rival tabloids the Daily Express, the Daily Star and OK! Magazine.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, said in a written statement, that he had decided not to refer the merger for a phase two investigation which would have required more evidence over a six-month period.
He accepts regulators’ opinions that the deal did “not give rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition.”
Hancock had intervened on the basis of two public interest considerations – the need for sufficient plurality of views in newspapers, and for free expression of opinion in newspapers.
Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator, said the merger does not raise concerns regarding either issue.
It said the merger may in fact “provide greater financial security to the combined group, helping to ensure their durability and, with it, media plurality”.
Reach, previously known as Trinity Mirror until a rebrand was approved at its AGM in May 2018 in light of the new deal, announced the 127-million-pound takeover in February.
Reach already owns and publishes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, meaning it now produces three daily national newspaper titles and four Sunday titles.
The publisher also owns more than 110 local and regional titles such as the Liverpool Echo.