January 10, 2017 / 7:16 AM / 8 months ago

Trinity Mirror in talks to combine with Richard Desmond's UK papers

Express newspapers owner Richard Desmond smiles as he leaves after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in London January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - Newspaper group Trinity Mirror (TNI.L) said it was in early talks about investing in a new company comprising assets owned by Northern & Shell, Richard Desmond’s group that owns the Daily Express and Daily Star titles.

The British publisher of the Daily Mirror said on Tuesday that no offer had been made and there was no certainty that any agreement would be reached.

A combination would unite the left-leaning Mirror with the Daily Star tabloid and the Express, one of the biggest cheerleaders for Brexit. The titles rank fourth, sixth and eighth respectively in the national newspaper rankings compiled by ABC.

British newspaper groups are battling falling print circulation and weakening demand from advertisers.

Analysts have said consolidation could deliver savings and give publishers breathing space to better monetise their online content.

Richard Desmond established his media empire by publishing specialist magazines, including adult titles like the British edition of Penthouse. He launched celebrity title OK! in 1993.

He bought the Express titles, which also include the Sunday Express, in 2000 for 125 million pounds.

The early stage talks were first reported by Bloomberg.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Sarah Young

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