Trinity Mirror, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, has opened negotiations with Richard Desmond to buy the Daily Express, Sunday Express and the Daily Star in a deal worth £130m ($170.8m).
The company has entered negotiations with Desmond after a wider merger failed, which would have given Mirror a minority stake in its fellow publisher and combined the sales business and back offices of the two companies.
"Trinity Mirror notes that it is now in discussions to acquire 100% of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell and that it has ceased discussions to acquire a minority stake in a new company comprising the publishing assets of Northern & Shell," the company said.
The deal will also involve Northern & Shell magazines including OK!, New! and Star.
The offer marks the second time in less than two years that the Mirror has made an approach for Northern & Shell titles, which Desmond purchased for £125m in 2000. However, negotiations came to an abrupt end over disagreements about price and the size of the pension deficit at Desmond's company.
The latter was irked by the development and slashed the price of his newspapers and triggered a price war with its direct rival, while Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox paid £220m for regional newspaper group Local World.
Britain's print media industry faces an ongoing struggle, due to a decline in advertising revenue and the increased number of readers moving to online platforms. While the Mirror and the Express stand at polar opposite of the political spectrum, a merger deal would allow them to cut costs.
However, the former warned there was no guarantee of a deal going through. "There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed or completed," Trinity Mirror said on Friday (8 September). "Any acquisition would require the approval of Trinity Mirror shareholders. A further announcement will be made when appropriate."