Newsquest is to pay for most of its stake in Freeserve’s online
auctions service by providing free advertising in the group’s
The 9.9 per cent strategic investment in Freeserve Auctions, which
launched last November, is being taken by Newsquest in exchange for free
advertising over three years, valued at pounds 10 million, plus pounds 2
Classified listings for the service’s person-to-person and
merchant-to-person auctions will be included in Newsquest’s 186 regional
titles. It will also incorporate Freeserve Auctions into its regional
newspaper websites, replacing its own Auction Hunter branded
The remaining shares in Freeserve Auctions will be held by Freeserve (72
per cent) and by Auctions.com (18 per cent).
Newsquest’s executive chairman Jim Brown said: ’This is a very important
development. This opportunity to link with Freeserve is a huge leap
Newsquest has developed around 20 local information sites on the
internet through the This Is brand.
Separately, the Competition Commission has written to Newsquest
regarding its proposed bid for Newscom.
The commission has asked for a statement on how the proposed merger
would be managed and financed, whether it would involve the closure of
titles and the ramifications of ownership concentration. The commission
is expected to make its ruling in mid-March.