LONDON — Two of Britain’s biggest newspaper groups are in talks over a partnership to increase their scale.
Trinity Mirror, owner of the The Daily Mirror, confirmed in a stock exchange announcement on Tuesday that it is in talks with Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, which owns The Daily Express and The Daily Star.
Trinity Mirror said: “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.”
The statement suggests that Northern & Shell, which also OK! magazine, could spin out its daily newspaper titles.
Bloomberg News originally reported on Monday that Desmond was in talks to sell his newspapers to Trinity Mirror, but Daily Telegraph sources downplayed this possibility. Desmond also appeared to rubbish the story in a tweet.
The Telegraph said that a partnership will enable the two companies to increase their scale and make savings “in printing, distribution, and back office.”
All newspapers are fighting falling circulation and advertising revenues. Latest figures, reported by Press Gazette, show that the Daily Mirror’s print circulation fell 11.17% in November. The Daily Express fell 1.9% over the same period, while The Daily Star rose marginally by 0.53%.
Trinity Mirror said no offer has been made and “there is no certainty that any agreement will be reached.” It added: “A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”
A deal between Trinity Mirror and Desmond’s Northern & Shell has long been rumoured, with the Times reporting in March 2015 that the pair were in talks over the sale of the Daily Express.
Be nice if mr Hellier a long time ex employee got the name of my company right and checked his facts before putting out this old story
— Richard Desmond (@RichardDesmond) January 9, 2017