The Competition & Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the proposed acquisition of TI Media from its private-equity owner by Future that was revealed in October last year.
The deal would create Europe’s largest magazine business, with expected revenue of more than £400m.
TI Media, which publishes title including What's on TV, Marie Claire, Country Life and Wallpaper*, was in 2018 the UK’s second-biggest magazine publisher by revenue after Immediate Media, while Future was fifth.
The CMA is inviting comments until 31 January to help the watchdog consider whether the merger could result in a substantial lessening of competition in the magazine industry. It is currently expected to reach its initial decision by 16 March, although this may change.
TI Media was founded in 1963 as International Publishing Corporation. US-based Time Inc bought IPC Media for $1.6bn in 2001 and rebranded it as Time Inc UK in 2014. Meredith bought Time Inc last year and sold the UK operation to private-equity group Epiris, which changed its name to TI Media.
In 2018, Future acquired the consumer magazine division of Haymarket, the publisher of Campaign. The £14m deal meant it added titles including FourFourTwo and What Hi-Fi? to its existing portfolio of largely specialist titles focused on areas such as video games and photography.