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Media merger given the green light

A merger of two of Switzerland's major media groups has been approved by the Federal Competition Commission.

Zurich-based Tamedia will take over the Swiss branch of Edipresse, the leading media group in French-speaking Switzerland.

The Commission found the merger did not pose a threat to the market and that there was no room in the long run for two free French-language dailies.

Edipresse is publisher of Le Matin Bleu, a scaled-down version of the daily Le Matin. Tamedia owns 20 Minutes, which is also published in German.

Tamedia and Edipresse Switzerland welcomed the decision, saying the alliance would create a national major media enterprise that could ensure the ongoing development of their titles and ward off foreign competition.

In the first stage of the proposed deal, Tamedia will acquire 49.9 per cent of Edipresse Switzerland’s share capital in 2010 and the remainder by 2013.

Tamedia is Switzerland’s fourth-largest media firm and publishes more than 20 regional and local newspapers, including the Zurich Tages-Anzeiger. It also runs radios and television stations as well as online services. It has about 1,600 employees.

Edipresse Switzerland is based in Lausanne and has a staff of 1,300. It publishes the Le Temps daily as well as other newspapers.

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