Trinity Mirror’s £16.1 million sale of eight free weekly newspapers to Johnston Press has been barred by the government over competition concerns.

Ruled competition minister Melanie Johnston: “I have decided not to give consent to this newspaper acquisition because of the competition issues it currently raises.”

Announced in July [WAMN: 05-Jul-01], the sale involved eight provincial titles, Trinity – the UK’s largest newspaper publisher – having decided that they were not core assets.

However, Johnston owns two newspapers competing directly with Trinity titles in the same regions, although when the deal was announced the former said it expected to run the acquisitions in competition with its existing publications.

News source: Media Week (UK)