Trinity Mirror is expected to close in on the publisher of the Daily Express with a £127m takeover deal this week, according to reports.
Northern & Shell, which is owned by billionaire Richard Desmond, publishes titles including the Daily Star and Sunday Express as well as the celebrity magazine OK!
The announcement is expected to be made on Friday, Sky News reported. However, a Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: “There’s still some way to go. This is not yet a done deal.”
Talks between the bosses of the two companies have been held off and on for years.
Last September, Trinity Mirror abandoned a consortium bid to buy a minority stake in the rival publisher as part of a takeover bid led by newspaper veteran David Montgomery and his National World vehicle.
The Daily Mirror publisher instead began talks to buy 100 per cent of Northern & Shell.
A source told Sky News that Desmond would not be fully paid out until 2023 under the terms of the deal. Desmond would receive a £42m cash payment upfront, £20m in Trinity Mirror shares, another £60m deferred over five years and a further £5m relating to approvals by Irish competition authorities.
Another £40m will be paid into the pension schemes of the two newspaper companies, the source said.
Northern & Shell could not be reached for comment.