Zurich-based Tamedia, Switzerland’s largest private media company, has been given approval by the Federal Competition Commission (COMCO) to buy the Basler Zeitung newspaper.
COMCO said on Thursday it did not see the takeover threatening competition, despite concerns that the acquisition could create or strengthen a dominant position. What’s more, the legal hurdles were too high for an intervention, it added.
Even without this addition, 40% of Switzerland’s German-speaking daily press circulation is published by Tamediaexternal link, according to media trade union Syndicomexternal link. In French-speaking Switzerland the share is even higher, at 69%.
Zeitungshaus was co-founded by Christoph Blocher, 78, the figurehead of the conservative right Swiss People’s Party. It said it aimed to “promote media diversity” in Switzerland and that the transaction would serve this purpose.
Syndicom had criticised the deal, saying it would allow the “billionaire Christoph Blocher to expand his free news empire”. It suspects he will take advantage of the various regional gazettes for “propaganda purposes for his campaigns”.
COMCO said it had examined purely economic or competitive aspects. Media variety or media-political aspects were not an issue, it claimed.