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Schmidt Talks New Changes to UK’s Media Merger Regime

March 18, 2024

Partner John Schmidt, who leads the firm’s UK Competition team in London, was quoted in the Law360 article, “UK Law Change Threatens PE Firm's Newspaper Group Bid.” The article discusses the UK government’s recent amendment to the UK’s existing media merger regime, which would prevent foreign states from owning British newspapers and other print media. The Enterprise Act and the National Security and Investment Act 2021 currently allow ministers to block media mergers, but the new regime would explicitly eliminate newspaper and periodical news magazine mergers involving ownership, influence, or control by foreign states.

The amendment would also allow the current Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport to refer media mergers to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). If the CMA concludes that the deal involves foreign state ownership, the Secretary of State is authorized to create an order blocking the merger. Schmidt told Law360 that “the biggest drawback of the current regime is that the deal would require a lengthy second phase review, also covering the public interest ground, before the secretary of state could decide, which wouldn't be necessary under the proposed regime.”

Read the full article (subscription required).