The government has given the go-ahead for plans to merge parts of the Times and the Sunday Times, as the newspapers look to adapt to shifts in the media industry.
Rupert Murdoch’s News UK empire put forward proposals earlier this year to share resources between the two titles, which previously faced a legal obligation to remain separate.
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright today said he has accepted the suggestions after News UK agreed to provide greater clarity over governance arrangements.
The plans will allow the two newspapers to pool resources, including journalists, subject to agreement of both titles’ editors. It is not clear whether the plan will lead to job cuts at the company.
News UK said the two papers will remain separate with individual editors, adding that the move was necessary to avoid “unnecessary duplication” amid increased cost pressures in the industry.
The new measures mark an update to rules put in place by the Thatcher government when Murdoch bought the papers in 1981.
Wright previously said he considered there had been a “material change in circumstances” since 1981, and that the application warranted consideration.
The government said the new undertakings contain an explicit requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority and the culture secretary to monitor the effectiveness of the obligations placed on News UK.
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