News Corp buys Byron Shire News

SALE CLEARED: ARM chief executive Neil Monaghan
SALE CLEARED: ARM chief executive Neil Monaghan Kevin Farmer

THE path has been cleared for the sale of Australian Regional Media - the owner of the Byron Shire News- to News Corp.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced on Thursday it would not oppose the proposed acquisition by News of ARM from APN News and Media.

News Corp moved quickly to demonstrate how ARM, the biggest regional publisher in Queensland and northern New South Wales, would be integrated into its business.

Michael Miller, News Corp Australasia's executive chairman, said ARM chief executive Neil Monaghan would move into the newly-created role of News Corp Australia's managing director, regional media.

Mr Monaghan said ARM readers - of the company's 12 daily newspapers, more than 60 community titles and 30 websites - could be assured they would get a better deal.

"The range of stories, video and content available to our titles will expand rapidly,'' he said.

"This can only benefit our valuable readers.''

He said paper and website readers could soon expect better sport, state, nation and world coverage.

"We have focused almost exclusively in building capability in our local newsrooms. If you subscribe to us in Mackay, Toowoomba or Lismore, we have more reporters than anyone locally.''

But the compromise had been less investment in other content segments.

"The great news breakers and opinion writers that News Corp has in its stable should soon start to appear in our titles, making them even stronger,'' Mr Monaghan said.

The ACCC said it could see no barriers to the $36.6 million deal going ahead.

It had invited feedback from readers and advertisers after releasing a Statement of Issues in October.

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