Trinity Mirror buys Ok! and Express newspaper in £200m deal, shares rise 15pc

Trinity Mirror (LON: TNI) has confirmed a £200 million deal with publishing assets of Northern & Shell, which owns titles including the Daily Star and OK! magazine.

Trinity Mirror, behind the left-wing Daily Mirror, will buy Brexit-supporting titles from the chairman Richard Desmond after talks of sales began in September. 

Desmond’s titles are being sold for £126.7 million, with a further £70.4 million investment into staff pensions through to 2027.

The chief executive of Trinity Mirror, Simon Fox, has maintained that the national newspapers purchased will remain editorially independent.

“Northern & 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,” he said.

“The Mirror is not going to go right-wing and the Express is not going to go left-wing,” he said. “They will absolutely all have editorial independence. Decisions on what goes into each title will be entirely down to the editors.”

The deal will lead to cost-savings, as both titles will now pool resources. Trinity Mirror hopes for £20 million in annual savings, which will lead to job cuts and re-evaluating papers such as New and Star.

“Rather than sending many reporters to cover the same football games, we can cover more games, more sports and offer deeper and wider content,” said Fox, on how the different titles will pool resources and save costs. “Then it will be down to the editors as to what content they want to use.”

The deal will bring an end to Desmond’s 18 years as one of the UK’s major newspaper owners. 

Following the news, shares of the group surged by almost 15 percent in early trading as investors felt hopeful about the merger.

Trinity Mirror shareholders still need to approve the deal. They will vote on it next week.