Hinduja brothers to bid for 'Express'

The British-based Hinduja brothers, who face possible extradition to India over alleged improper arms-deal payments, yesterday said they wanted to buy Express Newspapers, whose titles include
The Express,
The Express on Sunday and the
Daily Star.

The British-based Hinduja brothers, who face possible extradition to India over alleged improper arms-deal payments, yesterday said they wanted to buy Express Newspapers, whose titles include The Express, The Express on Sunday and the Daily Star.

The brothers, who are said to be offering £100m for the titles, said in a statement that they would guarantee the editorial independence of the titles and encourage them to campaign on issues that "improve the quality of life for everyone."

They join another set of brothers, the Barclay Brothers, who have already made a bid of £75m for the newspapers. Sunday Business, a Barclay Brothers-owned title carried two articles yesterday that were antagonistic to the Hindujas.

David Montgomery, the former Mirror group chief executive, is also said to be preparing a bid of £90m for the titles. The present owner, Lord Hollick, the chairman of United Newspapers, is understood to have met Mr Montgomery and indicated that he would consider a bid from him. Lord Hollick is also said to have considered the £75m bid by the Barclay Brothers and their editorial chief Andrew Neil to be too low.

In their statement, the Hinduja Brothers said they had been looking for some time for a print media group to "complement" their other interests and that "if the [Hinduja] Group's bid is successful, it intends to appoint a respected Board of Trustees to guarantee the editorial independence of the newspapers."

The titles are not yet formally up for sale. Rosie Boycott, the editor of The Express, has said she wants the papers to remain with Lord Hollick.

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