1. New media
February 9, 2018

Consolidation in the UK national press as Trinity Mirror buys Express Newspapers

By Billy

British newspaper group Trinity Mirror has bought the Express newspaper group, which includes the Daily and Sunday Express and the Daily Star, for £126.7m.

Trinity Mirror said the deal for Northern & Shell’s publishing assets would save it £20m in annual costs by 2020 and it planned to share editorial teams — a move that’s feared will mean job cuts across newsrooms.

The deal is one of the biggest shake-ups in the UK newspaper industry in more than a decade and brings to an end publisher Richard Desmond’s 18 years as a leading UK newspaper owner.

Northern & Shell, which is chaired by Desmond, owns the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, as well as three celebrity magazines, OK!, New! and Star.

As well as the Mirror daily and Sunday titles, Trinity Mirror also owns a string of leading local papers and is the UK’s biggest regional newspaper owner.

Both the left-leaning Daily Mirror and the right-leaning Express have seen their circulation tumble in recent years. The price being paid by Trinity Mirror is only slightly above the £125m paid by Desmond for the Express titles in 2000.

[visualizer id=”146231″] Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations

Financial details of the deal:

Trinity Mirror will pay an initial £47.7m in cash to Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell group, £59m to be paid between 2020 and 2023, plus shares worth £20m.

It will also put a one-off payment of £41.2m into the publisher’s pension scheme and has agreed a plan for further top-ups totalling £29.2m up to 2027.

What was said:

Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox said in a statement:

This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders.

Fox told the BBC he is very pleased with the deal.

He said:

It’s good for readers, it’s good for advertisers, it’s good for shareholders, it’s good for pension funds. When asked about job cuts, he said that the move would still be positive. If you’re employed by a financially stronger organisation, that’s good for everyone. There will over time be job cuts because we are going to remove duplication in job functions.

Fox said that Trinity Mirror does not intend to close any local titles in the next year, and that the political teams of each newspaper under the new group will not be “mixing in any way”.

The UK newspaper industry market share

[visualizer id=”146236″] Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations