Trinity Mirror says it continues to 'make progress' on Express talks as revenues dip

Rebecca Smith
Last month Trinity Mirror said it was in talks to pick up the Daily Express (Source: Getty)

Trinity Mirror has said talks about acquiring Northern & Shell's publishing assets, including the Daily Express and the Daily Star, are progressing, in today's trading update.

However, it also said revenues were down eight per cent for the period, though that was a slight improvement on the nine per cent drop recorded for the first half.

Trinity Mirror said, further to its announcement in September, "the group continues to make progress on discussions to acquire 100 per cent of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell".

The firm added that further updates will be made "when appropriate".

Read more: Trinity Mirror abandons consortium deal for Express – and launches own bid

Last month, the Daily Mirror owner said it was aiming to buy all of Northern & Shell's publishing assets. It had previously been in talks to take a minority stake in the company, but abandoned a consortium bid to launch its own takeover talks.

Elsewhere in today's trading update, the newspaper publisher said the board remains confident performance for the year will be in line with expectations.

That was despite group revenue on a like-for-like basis dipping eight per cent in the third quarter.

Trinity Mirror said it was seeing "improving trends in naturally sourced print advertising revenues", however local advertising, particularly classified, remained "challenging and volatile".

Publishing revenue fell by nine per cent, while print dropped by 10 per cent and digital was up four per cent. Meanwhile, publishing print advertising and circulation revenue fell 16 per cent and seven per cent respectively.

Net debt at the end of the third quarter fell by £3m to £19m, which Trinity Mirror said was after paying the interim dividend of £6m last month.

When it came to the company's £10m share buyback programme, Trinity Mirror said it had acquired 8.9m shares and paid £7.5m to the pension schemes relating to the scheme.

The firm said it "continues to deliver strong cash flows supported by structural cost savings of £20m for the year", putting it £5m ahead of its initial target.

In July, the newspaper publisher increased its cost savings targets for the year to £20m after reporting a steep drop in revenues as it weathers a tough print advertising market.

Read more: Trinity Mirror's revenues are suffering, and it's planning more cuts

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