Google Backing Newspapers’ Bid For Consolidation

imageNot that it will make much immediate difference to the search site but, after facing continuing criticism that it’s stealing their content and their ads, the Big G is now full-square behind local newspapers’ plea for relaxation in media merger rules.

Publishers like Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) and DMGT’s Northcliffe, hit by online ad migration and the ad downturn, are losing money at alarming rates, axing many staff and have for some months called for rules to be relaxed, allowing them to join forces. Spurred by the Digital Britain draft review, the Office of Fair Trading and the House Of Commons’ culture, media and sport committee in March launched inquiries in to the local news business, and culture secretary Andy Burnham has hinted at relaxation.

Times Online got an advance copy of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) UK MD Matt Brittin’s submission to the OFT inquiry, in which he backs the move. Roger Parry, chair of the seven-publisher Local Media Alliance group lobbying for the relaxation, (via Times):