WE'RE YOUR No1; Mirror Merger Creates UK's Biggest Newspaper Group

Article excerpt

THE Mirror is at the heart of a pounds 2billion merger creating Britain's biggest newspaper empire.

The paper's owner, Mirror Group, yesterday signed a landmark deal to join forces with regional newspaper publisher Trinity.

The merger creates a company with annual sales of more than pounds 1billion, profits of more than pounds 217million and 12,000 employees.

Trinity-Mirror will produce 155 titles with weekly sales of almost 35 million - nearly one in four of Britain's total - more than any of its rivals.

Chief executive Philip Graf, who will head the new company, described it as the perfect marriage.

He said: "The key thing is we're creating a unique combination of national and regional titles. It creates a more balanced group with increased financial firepower."

The larger group would also have increased buying power and be able to cut costs by pounds 15million a year. It would be better placed to exploit new media such as the Internet and on-line betting.

Mirror chief executive John Allwood, who becomes Mr Graf's deputy and group finance director, described it as a "great deal". He said: "This is the start of an exciting new chapter in Mirror Group's history. It will put us at the forefront of newspaper publishing in this country. …