Nadine Dorries – 2022 Statement on Newsquest and Archant Merger

The statement made by Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 29 June 2022.

On 18 March 2022, local news publisher Newsquest Media Group Ltd acquired Archant Community Media Ltd.

On 26 April the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wrote to Newsquest Media Group Ltd and Archant proprietor, RCapital, to inform them that I was “minded to” issue an intervention notice. I outlined that public interest grounds specified in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002 may be relevant to the transaction—in particular, the need for, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers in each market for newspapers in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.

In line with the statutory guidance on media mergers, the “minded to” letter invited further representations in writing from the parties. I have now come to a final decision, which needs to be made on a quasi-judicial basis, on whether to issue an intervention notice.

In light of the new information provided to me by the parties to the merger, I have decided not to intervene in the merger. The information provided by the parties addressed my concerns regarding the potential grounds for a public interest intervention, including the need, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, for a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers in each market for newspapers in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.

Officials have written to Newsquest and RCapital to inform them that, without prejudice to my ability to intervene if new or additional information comes to my attention, I do not intend to intervene in the merger on media public interest grounds.