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October 2, 2012

Third newspaper closed following OFT block on Kent deal

By Andrew Pugh

Northcliffe has announced the closure of weekly title the Thanet Times after 116 years.

The paper was one of seven titles that Northcliffe tried selling to rival publisher the KM Group before the deal was scuppered by the Office of Fair Trading last October.

The closure of the Kent title was announced in this online article today, recalling the paper’s “often controversial” past:

Today we turn the page on a piece of isle history with the final edition of the Thanet Times.

The newspaper which spanned three centuries during its 116 year history, brought all the best local news and views to the people of Thanet.

As a truly red-top newspaper, the Thanet Times was often controversial and gloried in the affectionate nickname the Thanet Crimes.

Among many on-the-edge articles was its weekly dose of page 3 fun.

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Love us or hate us, with pun-tastic headlines and sometimes unbelievable tales to tell, we were never, ever dull.

The Thanet Times has led the way in bringing scores of stories to the world – articles that started on the pages of Thanet Times have made their way around the globe.

Our tales were picked up by everyone from the national newspapers in Fleet Street to worldwide television networks who couldn't get enough of the weird and wacky slice of life that we specialised in.

It added:

Our reporters have gone on to work on some of the country's leading newspapers, trained in the art of honing a great story and with an eye for the unusual angle.

We will continue to bring you all the news that matters with our sister newspaper The Isle of Thanet Gazette every Friday and online at

But it is farewell to this very special part of Thanet life.

It has been an honour to bring you the Thanet Times every week and we could not have done it without you – our readers.

It is not yet known whether any jobs will be lost as a result of the closure.

KM Group withdrew its bid to buy the title when the OFT referred the decision to the Competition Commission.

The OFT's chief economist claimed the merger would create a "monopoly" in local weekly newspapers across East Kent.

It later emerged that Ofcom had warned the OFT against blocking the bid, warning that both publishers could be forced to close titles if the merger fell through.

Since the deal fell through Northcliffe has closed two other newspapers in Kent: the East Kent Gazette and Medway News.

According to its latest ABC figures for the first six months of the year, the Thanet Times had an average weekly circulation of 33,509, of which 91.9 per cent were free.


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