A CONSORTIUM headed by former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas is in talks with Trinity Mirror over the possible acquisition of a majority stake in its Sunday People tabloid.
The publisher, which also owns the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, recently paid £14.2 million for a 20 per cent stake in a new joint venture called Local World, which brings together Northcliffe Media – the local newspaper arm of Daily Mail & General Trust – and regional group Iliffe News & Media.
Trinity Mirror is headed by chief executive Simon Fox, the former HMV boss. He joined in September, replacing previous chief Sly Bailey after she resigned ahead of a shareholder rebellion over her £1.7m-a-year pay packet.
In an e-mail to staff, Fox acknowledged that the potential deal would be “very unsettling” for staff at the Sunday People, but he stressed that “no decisions have been taken and we will keep the team fully informed should this move forward”.
A spokesman for the publishing group said: “Trinity Mirror can confirm it is in very preliminary discussions regarding a joint venture for publishing the Sunday People. There is nothing further to report at this stage. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”
Douglas, a former deputy editor at the Sunday Times, edited the Sunday Express between 1995 and 1996 and later spent three years with Press Holdings, former owner of The Scotsman.
She teamed up with media entrepreneur Mark Rowse to set up Phoenix Newspaper Publishing a year ago, and the firm appointed advertising industry veteran Rupert Howell as a director in March. Howell joined ITV in 2007 and stood down as its managing director of brand and commercial in 2010.