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Billionaires strengthen grip on Britain's corporate media

Daily Mail owner buys the i newspaper for £49.6m

BILLIONAIRES strengthened their grip on Britain’s corporate media today when the company owned by Jonathan Harold Esmond Vere Harmsworth, the Viscount Rothermere, bought the i newspaper.

The i’s former owners, JPI Media, sold the daily newspaper today morning for a reported £49.6 million to DMGT, a media conglomerate Lord Rothermere inherited in 1998 from his Oswald Mosley-supporting father.

Lord Rothermere told journalists his company, which publishes the virulently right-wing rag the Daily Mail, was “committed to preserving its distinctive, high-quality and politically independent editorial style.”

Others were less convinced, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“The billionaire owner of the Daily Mail, the Viscount Rothermere, has bought the i paper,” Mr Corbyn tweeted this morning.

“Two billionaire press barons now own half of the top 10 daily newspapers. Remember this when they attack Labour’s plan to make the super-rich pay their fair share.”

Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was also concerned by the move.

“[The] last thing UK’s non-democracy needs is more concentration of an already astonishingly limited media ownership,” Ms Bennett posted on social media.

“Good news is that mainstream media less significant every day, and I say that as a former newspaper editor.”

Richard Wilson, director of Stop Funding Hate, a campaign calling on companies to pull their advertising from hateful media, told the Star:

“Since the Daily Mail announced plans to ‘detoxify,’ we’ve seen some significant changes in the paper’s coverage.

“Nonetheless, given DGMT’s track record, and amid ongoing questions about toxic content at the Mail on Sunday, many i readers will understandably have concerns about this takeover.”

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