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Competition watchdog launches investigation into mag publisher Future's buyout of TI Media

The UK’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into the merger of two major UK magazine publishers.

Future announced in October that it planned to acquire TI Media for £140m.

The deal would add lifestyle and women’s interest titles to Future’s roster for the first time and give it new sports, home, technology and entertainment titles to sit alongside its existing brands.

The company, which publishes 140 titles including T3, Total Film and Four Four Two, said the deal would give it a much larger female readership.

TI Media counts Marie Claire UK, Woman and Home, and What’s On TV among its 40 brands.

Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne (pictured) said the merger would make it a “super-force of specialist media”.

The Competition and Markets Authority launched its merger inquiry yesterday, saying it was looking at whether the deal “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition”.

It has until 16 March to decide whether to begin a phase two investigation, which would see the CMA gather more evidence to decide whether there is an “anti-competitive outcome” to the buyout.

It would then decide whether any action should be taken to “mitigate or prevent the substantial lessening of competition”.

Alternatively the watchdog could clear the takeover in March if it decides there are no serious competition concerns.

Future said in October it planned to complete the deal in the spring once the CMA concludes its review of the deal.

Byng-Thorne later told Press Gazette she is hoping to expand some of TI Media’s brands outside the UK but that staff at the new titles could not be spoken to about it until the CMA concludes its investigation.

Picture: Future

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