Merger expected this week
Trinity Mirror closes in on £127m deal for Express
An infamous Express front page report on dyslexia alongside a mis-spelling of ‘asylum’
Trinity Mirror is expected to unveil a £127 million offer for the publisher of the Daily Express this week, marking a new milestone in media consolidation.
The owner of the Daily Record and Daily Mirror will merge its operations with theDaily Express and Daily Star, published by Northern & Shell, which is owned by billionaire Richard Desmond who also owns the celebrity magazine OK!
An announcement is expected on Friday, according to Sky News, although a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “There’s still some way to go. This is not yet a done deal.”
Talks between the two companies have been ongoing for years.
Trinity Mirror last year pulled out of a deal to buy a minority stake alongside former Mirror and News of the World editor David Montgomery’s acquisitions vehicle National World.
Trinity, which is the biggest owner of local and regional newspapers in Britain, opted to pursue a bid on its own.
Reports now say Desmond will settle for a £42m cash payment upfront, £20m in Trinity Mirror shares, another £60m deferred over five years and a further £5m relating to approvals by Irish competition authorities.
Another £40m will be paid into the pension schemes of the two newspaper companies, according to sources.
Alison Phillips, who edited Trinity Mirror’s short-lived New Day, is said to have been lined up as a potential editor of the Express. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Mirror titles.
A deal would mark the end of an era for Mr Desmond, who began publishing in 1974 at the age of 23 with two music titles. In 1983, he won the UK licence to publish Penthouse and then a raft of other pornographic titles, including Asian Babes and Horny Housewives.
He launched OK! magazine in 1993 and in 2000, bought Express Newspapers for £125m.