Trinity Mirror confirms talks about sale of stake in Sunday People

Trinity Mirror today confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions about selling a stake in its Sunday tabloid, the Sunday People, to the consortium headed by former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas.

Rupert Howell: partner in consortium now in talks with Trinity Mirror
Rupert Howell: partner in consortium now in talks with Trinity Mirror

Trinity Mirror said it "can confirm it is in very preliminary discussions regarding a joint venture for publishing the Sunday People. There is nothing further to report at this stage. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate."

Douglas and her business partner, former ITV commercial director Rupert Howell, have been talking to potential investors about the launch of a Sunday tabloid to compete with Rupert Murdoch's Sun on Sunday.

However, it is understood they have struggled to secure enough investment to launch a tabloid, so have been approaching publishers about the possibility of buying titles or acquiring a stake in a Sunday tabloid.

Sources have told Media Week that the consortium has still not ruled out possibly re-starting discussions with Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell about the possible purchase of the Daily Star Sunday – although such a proposal has been dismissed by Northern & Shell in the past. Representatives of Evgeny Lebedev, the publisher of the Independent titles, have also been approached.

Douglas and Howell are thought to have tabled an offer to take a £10m stake in the Sunday People, which registered a circulation of 445,594 in November last year.

By comparison, Trinity Mirror’s sister title, the Sunday Mirror, reported a circulation of 1,036,457, the Sun on Sunday, 2,009,282, and the Daily Star Sunday 368,268.

The Sunday People, in keeping with the Sunday market, has suffered from declining circulations. From the beginning of 2008 to May 2012, the title's circulation fell nearly 200,000, to 462,000.

Douglas and Howell were unavailable for comment.