Trinity Mirror buys Express owner for £127m – and pays £41m to plug pension hole

 
Oliver Gill
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Richard Desmond Proprietor Of Express Newspapers Gives Evidence At the Leveson Inquiry
Richard Desmond is the chairman of Northern & Shell – which owns the Express and Star titles as well as OK magazine (Source: Getty)

The owner of the Daily Mirror has bought the company behind the Daily Express and Daily Star for £126.7m.

An announcement this morning ends Richard Desmond's 18-year association with some of Britain's most popular newspaper and magazine titles.

After posturing for some time, sale talks between Trinity Mirror and Express owner Northern & Shell were formally announced in September.

Trinity Mirror will hand over £47.7m in cash upfront, with a further £59m paid between 2020 and 2023. The balance will be funded by Trinity Mirror shares.

The cash payment will be raised through a new £75m loan facility.

“The Express Newspapers and our celebrity magazine titles have been a key part of the Northern & Shell portfolio for many years, and I am immensely proud of building them into one of the largest newspaper and magazine groups in the UK," said Desmond, chairman of Northern & Shell.

"Today’s transformational transaction is a logical and natural next step in the evolution and consolidation of the media sector and will create a larger and stronger platform serving all stakeholders."

Read more: Trinity Mirror set to unveil £127m deal for the Daily Express owner

Pension

Trinity Mirror will also make a £41.2m upfront cash payment to plug a deficit in Northern & Shell's pension scheme. Further recovery payments until 2027 totalling £29.2m have been agreed with the pension trustees.

Trinity Mirror chief exec Simon Fox said: “This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders. Northern and Shell’s titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”

Read more: Trinity Mirror says it continues to 'make progress' on Express talks