Desmond fails to sell top-shelf titles

LONDON - Richard Desmond, the owner of Express Newspapers, has been forced to abandon plans to sell his raft of adult magazines because he can not find a buyer.

He put the titles, including Asian Babes and Forum, up for sale earlier this year with a price tag of £20 million. Talks were under way with three buyers, but Desmond failed to agree a price any of them.

The magazines are owned by Portland Investments and Fantasy Publications, which are part of Desmond's Northern & Shell publishing group.

Some analysts now say it will be hard for Desmond to float the company while it still owns a stable of top-shelf magazines, but Desmond is not thought to be willing to risk a share offering in the current economic climate.

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