British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has agreed to a €144 million (£126.7 million) cash deal to buy several titles from the media group Northern & Shell, including the Daily Express and Daily Star.
The agreement will see one of the biggest shake-ups in the British and Irish newspaper industry and a joining of forces between tabloids from opposing sides of the political spectrum.
The deal includes the celebrity magazines OK!, New! and Star, as well as a 50% stake in the Irish Daily Star, which is co-owned by Independent News & Media (INM).
'Business As Usual'
A spokesperson for INM told The Irish Times that it was “business as usual” for the Irish Daily Star following the deal, which still needs regulatory approval.
The titles will unite the UK Daily Mirror, a traditionally left-leaning publication, with the right-leaning Express, both of which have seen circulations tumble in recent years.
The papers have conflicting views on issues such as Brexit, but the buyer hopes to forge a partnership better equipped to deal with readers and advertisers moving online.
“It’s a challenging industry, that’s why we need to come together,” Trinity Mirror chief executive, Simon Fox, told Reuters.
Fox added that the editors would retain editorial control over their political output, despite their differences.
“The Mirror is not going to go right wing, the Express is not going to go left,” Fox said.
However, Trinity Mirror said it planned to save £20 million in annual costs by 2020, by sharing editorial teams and minimising duplication, a move which is likely to cost jobs.
Billionaire and Express owner, Richard Desmond, will get an 8.6% stake in Trinity Mirror and £107 million in cash under the terms of the deal.
"[The deal] is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders,” Fox continued. "Northern & Shell's titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror."
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