Daily Mirror publisher buys Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine

The publisher of Daily Mirror, and Trinity Mirror picked up titles including the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine for £127 million yesterday in the biggest shake up of the UK's newspaper industry in decades.

The move by the UK's largest news publisher brings together tabloids from opposite ends of the political spectrum, with conflicting views on Brexit. According to commentators, the move will create a company better able to cope with readers and advertisers moving online.

"It's a challenging industry, that's why we need to come together," Trinity chief executive Simon Fox told Reuters.

"There is a lot of life left in print and there are a lot of opportunities in digital but no one is saying it's going to be easy," Fox said, adding he did not expect the deal to face major regulatory issues.

The company already has over 260 national and regional titles including the Daily Record, the Manchester Evening News, the Liverpool Echo and Birmingham Mail, under its fold.

Under the deal, billionaire owner of Daily Express  Richard Desmond, who made his fortune publishing adult titles such as the UK edition of Penthouse, will get an 8.6-per cent stake in Trinity plus £107 million in cash.

According to Fox, the editors of the individual titles would continue to exercise editorial control over their political output, with the Express free to pursue its support for Brexit. The Mirror would also be able to criticise the government's handling of the EU departure.

Trinity Mirror will pay £126.7 million for the publishing assets of Northern & Shell, which is chaired by Richard Desmond.

Though sale talks were announced in September, there has been talk about a deal for some time.

The sale spells the end of Desmond's 18 years as a UK newspaper owner.

Fox told the BBC, "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."