Media mergers in the UK
Media mergers in the UK

The following Competition guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Media mergers in the UK
  • UK merger control regime in media mergers
  • Examples of media mergers investigated in the UK

BREXIT: The law and practice referred to in this Practice Note may be impacted by Brexit. For further information on the potential impact, see: The effect of Brexit on UK competition law in a deal or no deal scenario.

A particular feature of merger control in media transactions in the UK is the possibility of parallel assessments of competition and media plurality concerns. In particular, in addition to the CMA’s regular competition review (assuming the transaction in question creates a relevant merger situation), the Secretary of State (SoS) is empowered to intervene on media (or newspaper) public interest grounds under certain conditions. This note first sets out the legal framework for the assessment of media mergers in the UK, before summarising important precedents in this area.

UK merger control regime in media mergers

Merger control in media transactions can be complex given the relationship between the regular merger control review by the CMA on competition grounds and the potential for public interest interventions on newspaper and/or media public interest grounds by the SoS.

Standard merger control regime based on competition grounds

Any transaction in the media sector can be subjected to a regular merger control review by the CMA if the conditions for triggering such a review are met.

Specifically, the CMA will have jurisdiction to review a media merger if the