Business

Sun and Daily Mail publishers’ printing tie-up gets go-ahead

Rupert Murdoch’s News UK and Lord Rothermere’s DMG Media announced last October that they planned to combine their printing operations.

The Competition and Markets Authority launched an initial investigation into the deal last month
A man reads a copy of The Sun newspaper in central London The Competition and Markets Authority launched an initial investigation into the deal last month (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Plans by the publishers of The Sun and Daily Mail to combine their printing operations have been cleared by the competition watchdog.

It follows the announcement last October that Rupert Murdoch’s News UK and Lord Rothermere’s DMG Media – two of the UK’s biggest newspaper publishers – planned to combine their printing operations amid a climate of declining print sales.

The companies said the joint venture deal would help improve the efficiency of their print operations and establish a sustainable business model for the future of national newspaper printing in the UK.

But the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an initial investigation into the deal last month.

It said on Thursday that after an initial phase one review, it had decided not to refer the deal for a further in-depth investigation.

The publishers said the new business, with its own senior leadership team drawn from News UK’s Newsprinters and DMG Media, was expected to start operations in early June.

They stressed the move was purely limited to printing and “does not represent closer working between News UK and DMG Media on media, editorial or commercial activity”.

The deal between the companies would result in the closure of DMG Media’s sites in Thurrock, Essex, and Dinnington, Sheffield.

The group would retain three current Newsprinters sites in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, in Knowsley, Merseyside, and in Eurocentral in Glasgow.

News UK executive vice president, chief operating officer, David Dinsmore said: “It has been our long-term view that consolidating print operations is vital to retaining a national network of print and distribution logistics and, crucially, supporting the unique plural media landscape in the UK.

“I’m delighted that the CMA has cleared the combination of our printing operations.”

James Welsh, deputy chief executive officer of DMG Media, said: “Today’s announcement from the CMA is an important milestone for our industry.

“The combination will ensure that our readers, and those of other newspapers, can enjoy the paper they love for many years to come.

“It has been an uncertain time for our production teams and I would like to thank them for their continued dedication and professionalism.”