Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Daily Mirror' owner in talks to buy rivals

The publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper is in talks to acquire 100% of Daily Express group Northern & Shell. Photo: PA
The publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper is in talks to acquire 100% of Daily Express group Northern & Shell. Photo: PA

Joe Mayes

Trinity Mirror is in talks to buy billionaire Richard Desmond's UK tabloids, raising the prospect of the biggest shake-up of the country's newspaper business in more than a decade.

The publisher of Britain's 'Daily Mirror' is in talks to acquire all of Northern & Shell Media Group's publishing assets, according to a statement yesterday. Northern & Shell's newspapers include the 'Daily Express', 'Sunday Express', 'Daily Star' and 'Daily Star Sunday'.

The 'Irish Daily Star' is a joint venture between Northern & Shell and Independent News & Media, owner of the Irish Independent. A deal would be the biggest in UK newspapers since David and Frederick Barclay bought the 'Daily Telegraph' in 2004. It would allow both companies to combine resources and cut costs, at a time when publishers are battling declines in circulation and advertising revenue. "Such a deal might have significant cost synergies for the enlarged group," said Alex DeGroote of Cenkos Securities. "Trinity has already been acquisitive in this sector, but clearly feels the need for more scale."

Shares of Trinity Mirror rose 0.8pc to 91.50 pence in London. They have declined 14pc this year.

The groups' newspapers have contrasting editorial stances. Under Desmond, The Express has led with stories critical of immigration and backed Brexit. The Mirror has long supported Britian's Labour Party, and endorsed a vote to remain in the EU in last year's referendum.

The Mirror's circulation was 19pc lower in July than a year earlier year to about 625,000 copies. The Express had a circulation of about 381,000 in the same month, down 10pc from a year earlier. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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