Trinity Mirror, publishing group behind the Daily Mirror, People and the Daily Record, is reportedly locked in talks with Richard Desmond with a view to buying the Daily Express.
Reports in The Times suggest that negotiations have advanced sufficiently for Desmond to open the books to the paper, citing sources who suggest a bid of as much as £100m could be in the offing.
Desmond has been at the helm of the Daily Express, and its stablemate the Daily Star (which may or may not form part of the deal), since 2000 when he snapped up both titles for £125m but faces some tough bargaining to attain his price point, not least with a hefty £85m pension black hole at the Express.
Despite this Express Newspapers still turned a healthy £15.6m pre-tax profit in 2013 following a bout of cost-cutting by Desmond.
Trinity will also need to address competition concerns as any merger would see it own Britain’s second and third placed tabloids by market share (Mirror and Star respectively), behind The Sun.
The Express currently lies second behind the Daily mail in the mid-market sector.
Desmond has been in process of winding down his media interests in recent years after selling off Channel 5 to Viacom for £463m.