ChainMail: Surge in consolidation of the UK newspaper market continues

January 24, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

The Daily Mail and General Trust (DGMT), the owner of the Daily Mail, has acquired the i newspaper and website for ÂŁ49.6m.

What does this mean?

This move sees the DGMT, which is controlled by Lord Rothermere, cement its place as the 2nd largest owner of national newspapers. Talks with the i’s parent company, JPI Media, had been ongoing since September 2019. This deal has made DGMT the 4th owner of the i, which was initially launched as a sister paper to the Independent. It was aimed at “time-poor readers”, mainly commuters, who lacked the time to read quality papers regularly. 

There were concerns about the differences in writing styles of the DGMT’s portfolio and the i newspaper. However, Lord Rothermere has assured readers that the DGMT is committed to preserving the i’s politically independent editorial style which is in stark contrast to the Daily Mail’s usual style of reporting.

This deal is yet to receive approval from the Competition and Markets Authority.

What's the big picture effect?

Should the deal be approved, the DGMT will have a 29% market share of in national newspapers. Even though this is over a quarter of the overall market, it is unlikely to raise competition concerns. This is because the largest player in the UK newspaper market continues to be News UK (the publisher of the Sun, Sunday Times and The Times). News UK, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, currently holds a market share of 36% and it will therefore continue to be the biggest player. 

In recent years there has been a general trend towards the consolidation of news outlets in the wider UK media market. Last year, the owner of the Mirror Group acquired the Daily Express and Daily Star papers from Northern & Shell. The future of the UK newspaper market is geared towards more consolidation, with the Telegraph Media Group up for sale. Reports suggest that DMGT is an interested party in this proposed sale, so we can expect to see them in the business pages again in the months to come. 

It remains to be seen how regulators will react to this wave in the UK newspaper industry, but if this trend continues, it is sure to flag up competition concerns for these big players.

Report written by Maya Sajeev

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