Name change for 'Express' group

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The Independent Online

In a possible foreshadowing of the imminent sale of Express Newspapers, the Labour peer, Lord Clive Hollick, unveiled plans to change the media group's name to United Business Media yesterday.

In a possible foreshadowing of the imminent sale of Express Newspapers, the Labour peer, Lord Clive Hollick, unveiled plans to change the media group's name to United Business Media yesterday.

The move would seem to confirm that Lord Hollick, United's chief executive, is serious about selling the titles. Potential suitors include the Barclay brothers, owners of The Scotsman, the billionaire Hinduja brothers, as well as David Montgomery, the former Mirror Group chief executive, who is leading a buyout team.

A City analyst, commenting on the proposed renaming of United News & Media, said: "The change of the name tells you everything you need to know. It would be rather embarrassing if they didn't sell the Express now. It's as if Clive Hollick is saying: 'Who will rid me of this troubling newspaper?'"

The name change was divulged in a briefing for City analysts. In a trading update, United said the strong first-half performance in two key business areas, CMP Media and PR Newswire, was continuing. United shares rose 31p to 783p.

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