Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]800m Bidder in Wings after Mirror Ads Slump; CITY BRIEFING

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]800m Bidder in Wings after Mirror Ads Slump; CITY BRIEFING

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT LEA

ADVERTISING revenues are plunging at The Daily Mirror.

It admitted the slump just as it emerged conference and hospitality multimillionaire Marcus Evans is heading a consortium that could be about to launch a takeover for the tabloid, valuing it at up to [pounds sterling]800 million.

The paper's parent group Trinity Mirror today revealed figures showing a disastrous two months for the tabloid since it delivered an upbeat statement to shareholders in early May.

Trinity Mirror today said yearon-year ad revenue from its national titles had fallen 7% in the 26 weeks to the end of this week.

That compares with an annualised fall of 3.9% in the first four months of the year, suggesting the Mirror's ad market has collapsed since May's general election.

The fall at the Mirror titles has brought its parent group back to earth with a bump after previously bullish trading reports. Trinity Mirror had reported group ad revenue up 6.5% in the first two months of 2005. A 1.4% growth rate in March and April brought the annualised increase back to 2.3%.

Today, the group admitted a May-June slump means that, year-onyear, it is now in decline with group ad revenue running 0.4% weaker. It blamed "an uncertain economic climate".

Investors have already been reading the runes, the shares slumping more than 10% in recent weeks. But the stock was 3p higher at 6291/2p today as it emerged that the consortium headed by Evans could table a bid valuing the titles at between [pounds sterling]700 million and [pounds sterling]800 million.

An indication of that bid is believed not to have impressed Trinity Mirror executives, led by chief executive Sly Bailey. The group today rejected any suggestion the Mirror is under siege.

"There are no discussions or negotiations regarding the sale of any of our newspaper titles," it said.

Two years ago, venture capitalist Candover Investments tabled a [pounds sterling]500 million offer for the titles. …

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