Category: Archive

Merger would create Northern newspaper giant

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — In what will involve a major shake-up of the Northern Irish newspaper market, the Trinity and Mirror Groups are to merge in a £1.24 billion stock and cash deal that will create the largest regional newspaper company in Britain.

In Northern Ireland, the Mirror owns the Unionist-leaning Newsletter and several other titles and Trinity publishes the Belfast Telegraph and three other titles.

The British government would only sanction the deal if Trinity sold its Northern Ireland holdings including the Telegraph, the biggest selling paper in the North and one of the group’s flagship titles.

Tony O’Reilly’s Independent Group may now be among bidders for the highly profitable Telegraph, an evening paper that sells across the nationalist/unionist divide.

The merged company, to be called Trinity Mirror, will own 155 newspapers and have a weekly circulation of more than 15.3 million and a daily circulation of 2.3 million.

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Trinity’s portfolio already includes the Liverpool Echo and Post, the Welsh Western Mail and the Newcastle Journal. In addition to the Mirror’s tabloids and the People, the group also owns a range of regional titles and Scotland’s Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

The Independent Group were making no comment on possible interest in the Telegraph but Unionists would not welcome a purchase by a Dublin-headquartered company.

To demonstrate the editorial freedom of their publications, Independent would point to their ownership of the London Independent and newspapers in the politically sensitive market in South Africa.

It appears the deal has locked out other potential bidders for the Mirror, including the ousted former chief executive of the group, Belfastman David Montgomery.

The loss-making London Independent had been jointly owned by the Mirror and the Independent Group.

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