Publishers welcome OFT opinion rethink

The publishing industry has cautiously welcomed the Office of Fair Trading's decision to rethink its draft opinion on newspaper and magazine distribution.

A group of publishers, wholesalers and newsagents fronted by Lord Heseltine, the owner of Campaign's publisher, Haymarket Publishing, met on Tuesday.

Representatives from the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Association of Newspaper and Magazine Wholesalers, the Newspaper Publishers Association and the Periodical Publishers Association were also present.

The OFT's new draft opinion replaces one it issued in favour of doing away with the system of territorial monopolies and allowing retailers to choose between wholesalers.

Ian Locks, the PPA chief executive, said: "The OFT was on the brink of a decision that could have been seriously damaging to the industry. The fact that the OFT listened to the industry's arguments has to be welcomed."