‘Business as usual’ at Irish Daily Star as Mirror owner buys Desmond titles

£127m sale by Northern & Shell includes a 50% stake in the Irish Daily Star

The publisher of Britain's Daily Mirror has agreed to pay £126.7 million (€144.3 million) in cash and shares to buy rival titles the Daily Express and Daily Star in the biggest shake up of the embattled newspaper industry in years.

The takeover brings together tabloids from the opposite ends of the political spectrum plus celebrity magazines including OK! to create a larger company better able to combat declining sales and the move of readers and advertisers online.

The titles have been sold by Northern & Shell, the Richard Desmond-owned publisher. The deal include a 50 per cent stake in the Irish Daily Star, which is co-owned by Independent News & Media (INM).

A spokesman for INM told The Irish Times that it was "business as usual" for the Irish Daily Star following the deal, which will have to gain regulatory approval.


Both the left-leaning Daily Mirror and the right-leaning Express have seen their circulation tumble in recent years.

Trinity Mirror said it planned to save £20 million in annual costs by 2020 by sharing editorial teams and reducing duplication in a move that is likely to lead to more job cuts.

‘Exciting moment’

The company said the acquisition would be materially earnings enhancing in the first full year of ownership.

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

Trinity Mirror said on Friday it would pay an initial cash consideration of £47.7 million, a deferred cash consideration of £59 million payable between 2020 to 2023 and the balance of £20 million by the issue of shares.

Trinity Mirror, which had a market value of £190 million at the close of trading on Thursday, issued a separate statement to say it expected its adjusted results for 2017 to be marginally ahead of forecasts, while strong cash generation enabled it to pay down debt.

Additional reporting: Reuters