Daily Mail & General Trust fined £1m after losing appeal

LONDON - Daily Mail & General Trust is considering whether to launch an appeal against a £1m fine for anti-competitive behaviour after it lost its bid to have the fine quashed.

Daily Mail & General Trust was told yesterday that the fine was being reduced from £1.3m, still leaving it with a £1m bill.

In September 2002, the Office of Fair Trading found DMGT guilty of abusing its dominant market position and fined the company £1.3m. Yesterday, the Competition Appeal Tribunal upheld that ruling, although it cut the fine after finding that the abuse continued only for one month after the Competition Act came into force in March 2000.

DMGT was investigated over claims that its subsidiary Aberdeen Journals abused its dominant position in the market by cutting the price of advertising in its free weekly newspaper, the Aberdeen Herald & Post. The complaint was made by rival freesheet Aberdeen & District Independent, which launched in 1996.

Aberdeen Journals is owned by Northcliffe Newspapers, the local newspaper subsidiary of Daily Mail & General Trust.

A spokesperson for Northcliffe said: "We are still reviewing the terms of the judgment and are considering our position. If we were to appeal, we would have one month in which to do so."

Shares in Daily Mail & General Trust were trading down 2% this morning at 580p.

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