Invitation to comment: Public interest test on the completed acquisitions by International Media Company of shares in Lebedev Holdings Limited and by Scalable Inc of shares in Independent Digital News and Media Limited

  • Start: 28 June 2019
  • Status: Closed
  • End: 12 July 2019

On 27 June 2019, the Secretary of State made a statement to Parliament concerning the recent acquisition of a 30% stake by the International Media Company (“IMC”) in Lebedev Holdings Limited (“LHL”) and the linked transaction involving the acquisition of a 30% stake by Scalable LP in Independent Digital News and Media Limited (“IDNM”).

He issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice (“PIIN”) in relation to the transactions under section 42(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 (the “Act”) specifying the following public interest considerations as potentially relevant to the acquisition:

  • the need for accurate presentation of news in newspapers (“accurate presentation ground”); and
  • the need for free expression of opinion in newspapers (“free expression of opinion ground”).[1]

Ofcom is now required to report to the Secretary of State under section 44A of the Act. The PIIN states that Ofcom’s investigation and report must be completed by midnight on 23 August 2019.

Ofcom has today published a guidance note, setting out the process and timetable for preparing our report on the public interest considerations set out by the Secretary of State.

Ofcom has also published an invitation to comment and invites written submissions by 12 July 2019.

1. Section 58 (2A) of the Enterprise Act.

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