The publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper is in talks to acquire 100 per cent of Daily Express group Northern & Shell.
Trinity Mirror said on Friday that it has “ceased discussions to acquire a minority stake” and is instead in talks to buy the publisher, which also comprises the Daily Star, in its entirety, the Telegraph reports.
“Further to the announcement made on 10 January 2017, the board of Trinity Mirror notes that it is now in discussions to acquire 100pc of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell and that it has ceased discussions to acquire a minority stake,” the group said.
Northern & Shell is owned by Richard Desmond, who acquired the titles in 2000 for £125m, although it remains unclear how much a deal would be worth today.
The print media industry is grappling with a decline in print advertising and any combination could herald cost savings and a shared cut of a larger advertising pool.
It is the second time in less than two years that Trinity has opened talks with Northern & Shell.
An earlier mooted deal is thought to have included former News of the World editor David Montgomery.
Mr Montgomery had been plotting to create a new venture with private equity players that would house the Northern & Shell titles, in which Trinity would have been a minority stakeholder.
But industry sources said Trinity believes it has the financial firepower to go it alone and make a commercial success of a deal.