Trinity Mirror confirms that it has ended People takeover talks with Phoenix Ventures group

A consortium of investors led by a former editor of the Sunday Express has apparently failed in its bid to take over the Sunday People.

Trinity Mirror and the Sue Douglas-led Phoenix Ventures consortium entered talks in January around taking a majority stake in the Sunday title.

But in a statement to the stock market this morning, Trinity Mirror confirmed that a deal was off the table.

The statement read: “On 11 January 2013, Trinity Mirror plc confirmed that it had been approached by a group of investors who expressed an interest in working with the Group to invest in the Sunday People.

“We can confirm that these discussions have now concluded without agreement.”

The aborted takeover bid was based on the concept of launching a Sunday redtop to capture some of the estimated million or more former News of the World readers who have not migrated to another title.

At the time of the initial approach, Press Gazette reported that former features editor at The Sun, Matt  Nixson, was also linked to the project.

Financial backers of Phoenix Ventures were believed to include former owner of Sale Sharks rugby union club Brian Kennedy and chairman of investment bank Seymore Pierce, Keith Harris.

The Sunday People sold 416,411 copies a week in March, compared with 1,029,513 for sister title the Sunday Mirror, 1,924,231 for The Sun’s Sunday edition and 334,642 for the Daily Star Sunday.

At the time it was shut down in July 2011, the News of the World was selling around 2.6 million copies a week.

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