Reach's £127m acquisition of Express Newspapers given green light

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

The £127m acquisition of Express Newspapers from Northern & Shell by Reach, the publisher formerly known as Trinity Mirror, has been given the green light by the government.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said he would not refer the deal for a full investigation after receiving advice from Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The media regulator had been asked to look into issues including whether the takeover could impact freedom of expression and opinion and editorial decision-making at the titles, which include the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday.

But Hancock said that Ofcom had found nothing to be concerned about, and the CMA found there was no realistic prospect of a significant lessening of competition as a result of the deal.

The news clears the path for the cost-cutting that is now expected to happen as the companies integrate, with sports and features desks set to be shared across titles.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, said: "Full and meaningful consultation with the NUJ is vital to address the concerns of staff following a period of significant uncertainty and anxiety over what cuts may be planned as part of the cost savings already identified. Preserving jobs and tackling casualisation of roles will be our priority in those talks.

“We will continue to engage with the company about how editorial standards will be maintained, at the same time as ensuring titles have the necessary resources to preserve their distinct editorial voices with enough journalists to do that work properly."