Friday 6 December 2019 8:14 am

Competition watchdog intervenes in Daily Mail’s takeover of i newspaper

The competition watchdog today said it has served an initial enforcement order as it reviews the Daily Mail’s £50m takeover of the i newspaper.

Read more: Daily Mail owner buys i newspaper for £50m

The order, also known as a hold separate arrangement, means parent company Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) will be forced to run the i independently ahead of a potential competition probe.

It comes a week after DMGT announced its acquisition of the title from JPI Media, the private equity-backed media group formed after Johnston Press collapsed into administration last year.

DMGT, which also owns the Metro, warned investors that a hold separate order would likely be needed until the green light could be secured from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The use of hold separate orders is not uncommon with media mergers. A similar arrangement occurred after Reach’s takeover of the Daily Express last year.

The CMA has 40 days to carry out its initial assessment of the merger – known as phase one – during which it will determine whether the deal results in a “realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition”.

If so, the watchdog then proceeds to phase two – an in-depth investigation into the takeover.

Read more: Daily Mail owner takes profit hit as it revamps portfolio in digital shift

DMGT and JPI Media may offer so-called remedies to ease competition concerns and prevent a phase two inquiry.