In 2004, the Daily Gazette Company, publisher of the Charleston Gazette (the morning newspaper), purchased the Daily Mail (the afternoon newspaper), from MediaNews Group, Inc. Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Daily Gazette Company and MediaNews Group, Inc., seeking to overturn the sale. According to the Associated Press, the DOJ contends that the sale violated three provisions of antitrust law:
"The first argues the transaction resulted in a monopoly over the sale of daily papers and advertising in Charleston. The second argues the transaction eliminated the incentives and ability of MediaNews to compete with the Gazette. The third argues the Gazette will continue to maintain unlawful monopoly power."
The DOJ seeks to restore the competition between the newspapers by reversing the sale and returning the papers (and their parent companies) to their prior positions.
Under the purchase agreement, MediaNews no longer shares in the Daily Mail‘s profits, but provides "management and supervision" for a fee. The newspapers operated under a Joint Operating Agreement from 1958 until the sale in 2004.