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Times of India group eyes UK's Trinity Mirror

The largest Indian newpaper publishing house Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL), which owne the Times of India group of newspapers, is planning to acquire UK-based newspaper group Trinity Mirror, newspaper reports quoting market sources said.

BCCL is in talks with some large shareholders of Trinity Mirror to pick up their stakes before launching a formal offer, the reports said.

Trinity Mirror Plc, one of the UK's largest newspaper groups, publishes papers like the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror and has a portfolio of more than 350 media brands, including five national newspapers, over 150 regional newspapers and 200-plus websites.

The group employs over 9,000 people in more than 150 centres across the UK, including nine major printing sites, its website said.

Trinity Mirror saw its market capitalisation fall from $2.8 billion (£1.4 billion) at the end of 2007 to around $300 million (£150 million) currently, weighed down by accumulated pension liabilities of $1.53 billion.

The group had a $250 million (£125 million) pension deficit as of end-2007, which was expected to go up this year.

Trinity Mirror shares almost doubled in the last fortnight from 54.75 pence on July 15 to 92.25 on July 24, following the rumour. The scrip rose more than five per cent on Thursday. 

There was, however, no confirmation from either companies of a possible deal.

BCCL, which recently bought Virgin Radio from Scottish media company SMG for a little over $105 million (£53.2 million), is India's largest publishing group, and has its own TV and radio ventures.

Trinity Mirror, which has been going through lean times, saw its revenue fall three per cent to $1.9 billion (£971.3 million) in 2007. The revenue fall has been due mainly to a slump in the advertising market and lower sales of regional newspapers.

Source : Domain B

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