The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved De Telegraaf Media Groep's (De Telegraaf) request to lift one of the conditions attached to the licence granted for the takeover of Dagblad De Limburger by De Telegraaf in 2000. NMa is of the opinion that it is not reasonable to require De Telegraaf to ensure the separate commercial and editorial management of the two daily newspapers any longer.
It emerged from NMa's investigation that this separation will result in negative operating results in the medium term. It is not possible for De Telegraaf to realise certain efficiency advantages without infringing the condition. In addition, present market developments will result in a reduction in the circulation of those daily newspapers. NMa therefore deems it reasonable to lift the licensing condition so that De Telegraaf can avoid this negative future development.
At the time NMa granted a licence subject to conditions. One of these conditions was that Dagblad De Limburger and Limburgs Dagblad, which was already part of De Telegraaf, should retain their editorial and commercial independence. The other condition related to the divestment of all activities in the area of house-to-house newspapers in Limburg. This condition was met at the time.
At the end of October, after it appeared from NMa's investigation that De Telegraaf had not complied with the condition of editorial and commercial independence, NMa imposed a fine on De Telegraaf. In July of this year, NMa rejected an earlier application by De Telegraaf to lift the condition. At that moment, the actual cost of maintaining the editorial and commercial independence of Dagblad De Limburger and Limburgs Dagblad was not known.