Trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers has referred to the Competition Commission two competing takeover bids for Regional Independent Media. The referral is automatic for any newspaper company with a combined daily paid circulation in excess of 500,000.

Valued at around £650m, Leeds-based RIM is one of few remaining independent regional newspaper groups in Britain, with over one hundred titles, including the Yorkshire Post, The Sheffield Star and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Slugging it out for RIM are Johnston Publishing of the UK and voracious US newspaper giant Gannett which recently added Newscom to its existing Newsquest group of British local papers. Stateside, Gannett has just swallowed its domestic rival Central Newspapers for $2.6bn and, in a separate $1.1bn deal, acquired 21 daily papers from Thomson Newspapers [WAMN, 11-Jul-00].

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)