Profits fall at Express Newspapers as Trinity Mirror deal looms

Profits fall at Express Newspapers

Profits have dropped at Richard Desmond’s Express and Daily Star newspapers ahead of their potential sale to Trinity Mirror.

Express Newspapers’ accounts show a pre-tax profit of £13m, down by more than half on the prior year, according to the Telegraph.

Turnover was down by 10% to £157m after the two tabloids cut their cover price to put pressure on rivals, including the Trinity titles which may soon become stablemates.

A prospective deal between Desmond and the Daily Mirror publisher has been on the cards since 2015, but on-off talks failed to make sufficient progress.

That was until last month, when Trinity Mirror confirmed it had entered into negotiations to acquire all of Desmond’s Northern & Shell publishing assets, including the Daily and Sunday Express, the Daily and Sunday Star and celebrity magazines OK, New and Star for a fee set at around £135m.

As The Drum media columnist Paul Connew wrote at the time: “The stumbling blocks behind the several delays centre on Richard Desmond’s famed determination to drive a hard bargain. Trinity was originally trying to buy Desmond’s publishing assets for less than £100m. But the agreed price of £130m-£135m will leave the Express owner with a gigantic smile on his face.”

Confirmation of a deal, which hinges on shareholder approval and no intervention from the Competition and Markets Authority, is still pending.

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