The Mirror Group has agreed to buy the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star from Richard Desmond's company, Northern & Shell.
Trinity Mirror, which publishes the Daily and Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, is paying US$175 million (£126.7 million) for the titles, which Mr. Desmond bought 18 years ago after making his fortune in publishing soft porn magazines like Asian Babes and Big Ones.
The Mirror has traditionally supported the Labour Party while the Express has always backed the Conservative Party, and has even flirted with UKIP in recent years. In 2015 Mr. Desmond donated $1.5 million to UKIP.
In the 1940s the Daily Express was the most popular newspaper in Britain and its sister title, the Sunday Express, was one of the best-read weekend titles.
In 1962 the Daily Express' circulation peaked, at more than four million copies a day, and then began a gradual and inexorable decline. Last year sales dipped below 400,000 for the first time.
After the Labour supporting Daily Mirror's triumphant purchase of the Ukip loving Express group how long before the Daily Mail buys the Morning Star?— Kevin O'Sullivan (@TVKev) 9 February 2018
Express Has Elderly Readership
It is openly acknowledged at the Express that its readers are largely elderly, which explains the numbers of stories it publishes about pensions, the weather and World War Two and its belligerent support for Brexit.
Its sister paper, the Daily Star and especially its online offering, tends to appeal to a much younger demographic, but the printed version has seen its sales almost halved since 2010.
This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror's history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry
But Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror's chief executive, explained why they were paying so much money for two brands with declining print sales.
"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, making it patently clear they were interested in the online brands, rather than the print versions.
All of Britain's national newspapers have seen falls in print circulation in the last 20 years as more people access their news online or one mobile devices.
On Tuesday, February 6, Prime Minister Theresa May announced, during a speech in Manchester to mark the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, a review into the future of the newspaper industry.
2/3 Trinity Mirror CEO Simon Fox says: "We have more than 100 newspaper brands, and editorial decisions are entirely left in the hands of the editors. The Daily Express is not going to become left-wing, the Daily Mirror is not going to become right-wing." https://t.co/UmM7XWlnSN— HoldtheFrontPage (@journalism_news) 9 February 2018
'Danger To Our Democracy'
She said the closure of hundreds of local newspapers was a "danger to our democracy."
The Independent closed its print edition in 2016, while the Guardian and Observer recently went tabloid in a bid to save money on newsprint.
"Good quality journalism provides us with the information and analysis we need to inform our viewpoints and conduct a genuine discussion," said Mrs. May.
"It is a huge force for good. But in recent years — especially in local journalism — we've seen falling circulations, a hollowing-out of local newsrooms, and fears for the future sustainability of high quality journalism," she said.
Hugh Grant has won an undisclosed amount from Mirror Group Newspapers over the phone-hacking scandal and donated it all to the Hacked Off campaign pic.twitter.com/LJWIgiSEsc— Press Association (@PA) 5 February 2018
The review is set to examine the rise of "clickbait" news, much of which is deeply unreliable or misleading, under-staffing in newsrooms and the demise of reporters covering courts, local authorities and even Parliament.
It may also look at ways in which the government or other organizations could subsidize some local newspapers which are threatened with closure.
The best trolling ever would be if the Mirror Group buys the Daily Express & turns it into a left wing paper 😂😂😂😂— Ian (@Mancman10) 10 September 2017