Billionaire Richard Desmond sold the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers for £ 127 million ($ 177 million), as well as the gossip magazine “OK” for the owners of the Daily Mirror, Trinity Mirror.
Trinity Mirror, which publishes the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, as well as Sunday People, also owns a string of leading local papers and is the UK’s biggest regional newspaper owner.
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Three years ago Trinity Mirror had already been in contact with Desmond for the purchase of the papers, but the deal did not come into play due to pricing disputes. It is estimated that regulators in the UK will require both companies to remain separate for a period of up to a year to test the impact on the press market.
The Trinity Mirror, which holds a series of local newspapers in Britain, including the Manchester Evening News and the Birmingham Post, employs more than 5,300 people. Lloyd Embley, editor-in-chief of the group’s newspapers, warned in November that cuts would be expected if the deal went through, but said they could be worse if it failed.
Richard Desmond was born into a Jewish family. His father was from Latvia and his mother was of Ukrainian-Jewish descent. The youngest of three children. His father was at one-time managing director of cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean.
The deal ends Desmond’s career as a publisher, which began in 1974 at the age of 23. In 1983 he received a license in Britain to publish Penthouse and several other pornographic titles. The launch of “OK” in 1993 revolutionized the world of gossip magazines.
Desmond bought Express in £125 million in 2000. Upon completion of the deal, Desmond will hold a stake in Trinity Mirror and will be one of the company’s largest shareholders.