Another challenger has come forward to compete in the London free newspaper arena.

Guardian Newspapers, which publishes liberal-leaning daily The Guardian and its Sunday stablemate, The Observer, has registered an interest in bidding for the rights to distribute an afternoon freebie in the capital's subway and train stations.

The contract has been put up for auction by Transport for London, following an Office of Fair Trading ruling that Associated Newspapers' exclusive 24-hour station distribution rights (for Metro, the Evening Standard and Standard Lite) are anticompetitive [WAMN: 11-Apr-05].

The Guardian Media Group has free newspaper experience in the northern city of Manchester, but Guardian staff are currently focusing on a planned format change for their broadsheet flagship.

The trend towards freebies and their lucrative advertising potential also attracts Richard Desmond's Express Group, which is well down the development road for a London publication - and, reportedly, Rupert Murdoch's News International.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff