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Phoenix Ventures Sue Douglas Trinity Mirror

Sue Douglas move to take over Sunday People hits the rocks

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

May 10, 2013 | 3 min read

A £10million bid to take a majority stake in the Sunday People, led by Sue Douglas, the former Sunday Express editor, is believed to have been shelved

News of the People? Not likely

Talks between People publisher Trinity Mirror and Douglas's company Phoenix Ventures over a deal started late last year.

There were high hopes that the project would boost the Sunday newspaper market, deflated by the closure of the News of the World, one of the world's biggest-selling newspapers. Mock-ups of a new-look tabloid, possibly called News of the People or News on Sunday, were said to have been drawn up.

But, said the Guardian, it was understood Trinity Mirror, run by former HMV chief Simon Fox, and Douglas's company Phoenix Ventures had now decided not to continue talks regarding a takeover of the Sunday People.

While there may be no new-look printed paper, it is thought the two parties are still talking about other editorial projects, including a digital-only product.The original idea was that a digital daily would morph into a printed paper at the weekend.

The People's sales last year were slightly up at 455,973, a far cry from the 5.5 million the paper sold in the mid 60s.

Trinity Mirror and Phoenix Ventures declined to comment on the fate of the Douglas initiative .

Douglas, who had been also been associate editor of the Mail on Sunday and deputy editor of the Sunday Times, had teamed up with ex-ITV executive Rupert Howell, to raise as much as £10m in funding .

Phoenix Ventures, the parent of Phoenix Newspapers Limited, has wanted to take control of a Sunday paper since Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in 2011.

The feeling was that a chunk of the 1.3 million-plus NotW readers who did not pick up a rival title then would welcome the Douglas paper.

Phoenix executives are also thought to have held what the Guardian called "arm's length" talks about a potential deal for Richard Desmond's Daily Star Sunday.

Updated: Trinity Mirror has released a statement that read: "We can confirm that these discussions have now concluded without agreement."

Phoenix Ventures Sue Douglas Trinity Mirror

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