Mirror and Express groups in media merger talks

The owners of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express parent companies have resumed deliberations after two-year break.

Trinity Mirror has confirmed that it is in fresh talks with Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group, which owns Express Newspapers.

“The board of Trinity Mirror PLC notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is at an early stage of discussions towards taking a minority interest in a new company comprising certain of Northern & Shell’s assets,” said Trinity Mirror in a London Stock Exchange statement. “No offer has been made and there is no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

Trinity Mirror is the UK’s biggest newspaper group, with a portfolio that includes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record, and a vast array of regional titles acquired from its takeover of Local World in 2015. It now employs over 6,000 people and is home to around 260 titles.

Express Newspapers, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group. It played a key role in the Brexit referendum, taking a staunch Eurosceptic line. Northern & Shell is also home of the OK! and New! celebrity magazines, and Desmond bought the Express portfolio in 2000 having built up a proprietorship of adult media titles in the 1980s and 1990s. He sold Channel 5 to Viacom for around half a billion pounds three years ago.

The merger discussions come amid an industry-wide move towards consolidation driven by a decline in print circulation and advertising sales.





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