CCPC clears media merger subject to confidentiality commitments

September 12, 2018

Following an extensive two-phase investigation, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to binding commitments, the acquisition by Reach Plc (Reach) (formerly Trinity Mirror Plc) of Northern & Shell Network Limited (N&S), International Distribution Limited 2018 (IDL) and joint control of Independent Star Limited (ISL). Prior to completion of the proposed transaction, N&S and Independent News & Media PLC (IN&M) each hold 50% of the issued share capital of ISL.

The CCPC’s determination follows a two-phase investigation which began on 9 February 2018 when the proposed merger was notified to the CCPC. An in-depth investigation was undertaken to establish whether the proposed transaction would result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services in the State. In the course of the investigation, the CCPC identified a potential competition concern in relation to the exchange of competitively sensitive information between Reach, IN&M and ISL, following Reach’s acquisition of 50% of the issued share capital of ISL, which could constitute a breach of competition law.

To address this concern, Reach agreed to submit proposals to prevent the direct or indirect exchange of competitively sensitive information between (i) Reach and IN&M and (ii) Reach and ISL following completion of the proposed transaction. The CCPC has concluded that these commitments, which were taken into account as part of its determination, are appropriate and effective in addressing its competition concerns. Further details of the CCPC’s announcement are available here.

Following the CCPC’s determination, the parties must submit a separate notification to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Section 28B of the Competition Act 2002 sets out the process by which the Minister for Communications will assess the merger separately in relation to media plurality.

Additional Information

Reach publishes national, regional and local newspapers in the United Kingdom.  In the State, Reach publishes the Irish Mirror, the Irish Sunday Mirror, the Sunday People and RSVP magazine. Reach also operates the following websites in the State: www.irishmirror.ie, www.dublinlive.ie and www.rsvplive.ie.  Reach does not publish any regional or local newspapers in the State.

N&S publishes national newspapers in the United Kingdom. In the State, N&S publishes the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star Sunday and the magazines OK!, New! and Star. N&S also owns 50% of the issued share capital in ISL, which publishes the Irish Daily Star in the State.

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