Desmond breaks links with porn as he fights for 'Telegraph'

Richard Desmond, the pornographer turned proprietor of the Daily Express group who is bidding for the Daily Telegraph, took the first step towards reshaping his image yesterday by selling his pornographic magazines.

Mr Desmond sold 45 titles including Asian Babes and Big Ones to a pair of businessmen for about £20m, The Guardian reported.

Mr Desmond, who also owns the Daily Star, OK! Magazine and the Fantasy Channel, denied the deal was linked to the sale of the Telegraph Group.

He said he had been trying to sell the magazines for a decade. Those magazines have previously been reported to have included such names as Nude Readers' Wives, Skinny and Wriggly, Big and Black, Horny Housewives and New Talent.

Mr Desmond has sold the titles to a company called Remnant Media, owned by Simon Robinson and Aroon Maharajh.

Of the sale, Mr Desmond said: "It's a nice thing for the staff. They have been working for a company that was not interested in the magazines. They now have owners who have put the money up and will do a good job."

Mr Desmond is in a battle with the owners of The Scotsman, the Barclay brothers and the Daily Mail and General Trust group, among others to purchase the Telegraph group.

Last week, after a US court case prevented the sale set up by Conrad Black of the Telegraph stable to the Barclays, Mr Desmond was seen in some quarters as marginally favourite to take over the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

He has the advantage of owning a half share in the Telegraph's printers, West Ferry, plus the right to buy the rest

Media regulator Ofcom would conduct a public interest test if Mr Desmond's bid for the broadsheets is accepted. Ofcom would be examining possible domination of the newspaper market and whether quality journalism can be assured to continue. The sale of the pornographic magazines could assist Mr Desmond with passing such a test.

Despite the magazine sales, Mr Desmond ruled out selling his Fantasy Channel TV business. His subscription channels are a highly profitable part of his Northern and Shell Empire.

There was alarm in 2000 when Mr Desmond bought the Express from Lord Hollick's United News and Media for £125m. In 2001, he came close to selling the porn titles but the deal collapsed.

Mr Desmond was quoted last year as saying, when questioned on why he had yet to sell his magazines: "Would it be better to be a former pornographer rather than a pornographer? I'm probably being more honest by keeping them. They serve a need. You could start saying that celebrity is pornography. You could start censoring everything. I would like to censor the Daily Mail on its horrible attitude to life."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?