Express Newspapers plans to start tabloid price war

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The Independent Online

Richard Desmond, the owner of Express Newspapers, has promised to start a price war in the tabloid press market that could cost his rivals hundreds of millions of pounds.

The controversial press baron is planning to reduce the price of his Daily Star title by 50 per cent to 10p in a challenge to his competitors at News International, publishers of The Sun, and Trinity Mirror, which produces the Daily Mirror. The sector is already suffering from reduced advertising revenue and, earlier this month, Trinity Mirror announced cuts of more than 25 per cent of the editorial staff at its roster of national titles. In an interview with The Independent, Mr Desmond said he would start the price war on 1 July, in order to drive up the Star's circulation. "The most cost-effective way for us to get the numbers is to reduce price," he said, adding that he presumed The Sun (currently 20p) and the Mirror (currently 45p) would feel also obliged to cut their cover price.

"It will only cost the Mirror a million copies, so 35p times a million is £350,000 a day – that's £100m a year." Desmond also expressed an interest in both The Sun and ITV, and is understood to have made a bid for Channel Five.