Trinity Mirror has reportedly been blocked from making a bid to buy Local World.
Press Gazette revealed earlier this year that Trinity – which publishes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People as well as a number of regional and local titles – was seeking to buy the company.
This came after reports that the publisher was interested in purchasing Express Newspapers – publisher of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star titles – from Richard Desmond.
The Guardian reports today that Trinity Mirror is “zeroing in” on a deal to buy the Daily Express after its efforts to buy Local World were thwarted. But a Trinity Mirror source told Press Gazette this was “wide of the mark”.
The Daily Mirror owner paid £14.2m for a 19.98 per cent stake in Local World when it was founded through a merger between Daily Mail and General Trust (which owns a 38.73 per cent stake) and Iliffe News and Media (which owns 21.3 per cent).
This week, it emerged that Trinity Mirror made £8.7m from Local World – which is headed up by former Trinity Mirror chief executive David Montgomery and backed by private equity firms including Odey Asset Management and investment fund Artefact Group – in 2014.
A well-placed source told Press Gazette in March that Trinity Mirror was prioritising the purchase of Local World ahead of any deal for Desmond’s titles.
However, The Guardian today reports that Lord Iliffe, chairman of Yattendon Group, which Iliffe News and Media is a part of, has blocked the move.
And The Guardian reported that seeking a deal with Desmond is now the priority. It reported that Express Newspapers would be worth around £70-80m but that Desmond would push for closer to £100m.