The Business is to be given away free with The Mail on Sunday in a move intended to be “a dagger to the heart of The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph”.
Publisher Andrew Neil said the move had already been approved by ABC and would allow him to quadruple the paper’s audited circulation.
The Business currently has 40,000 UK news-stand sales – giveaways and overseas sales put its official circulation up to 110,000.
This week’s deal is intended to start in the autumn and push circulation up to 400,000 by October.
Some 200,000 copies will be distributed inside the MoS to more affluent parts of London. A further 100,000 will be inserted in Scotland on Sunday which, like The Business, is owned by the Barclay brothers.
Neil said no money had changed hands. The deal was for his company to pay for printing the extra copies and Associated Newspapers – publisher of the MoS – to cover the cost of distribution, insertion and any promotions.
Associated will pay an as yet undisclosed bulk fee to enable the extra copies of The Business to count with ABC.
The tie-up is a blow to Express Newspapers boss Richard Desmond who had also been negotiating with Neil for the same deal.
Neil said: “Associated now gets a world-class business newspaper for a very small price. They see it as a dagger to the heart of The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph.
“The Financial MoS is a superb product for the middle market. But, both in terms of editorial content and advertising, there’s almost no overlap between the Financial Mail and The Business.” He added: “This has to be a unique way of building a newspaper.
It’s not a huge extra cost for us, just the cost of paper and print for an extra 300,000 copies.”
In January 2002, the paper changed its name from Sunday Business, cut 47 jobs and halved its cover price to 50p.
The expansion would not affect the editorial department, Neil said. But he is planning to invest in advertising sales. Neil said that if the experiment was successful, he hoped to extend it across London and possibly the whole of the South East. He said he might even reach similar distribution deals with city newspapers in the US.
By Dominic Ponsford