Telegraph group may enter bidding war for 'Express'

Express Newspapers could come under the control of a rival media group, with Conrad Black's Telegraph company ready to enter the bidding war for the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star.

Express Newspapers could come under the control of a rival media group, with Conrad Black's Telegraph company ready to enter the bidding war for the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star.

Though the present owner of Express Newspapers, Lord Hollick, has yet to make a formal declaration that the titles are for sale, the number of bidders is increasing by the week.

There are already offers on the table from the Barclay brothers and the Hinduja brothers. Another interested party, the former Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery, is understood to have approached the Hinduja brothers about a joint bid.

A spokesman for the Hindujas said there would be no comment on the talks they were having with Lord Hollick's United News and Media, but did not deny that a £100m bid had been submitted.

The Barclay brothers' Press Holdings has made an indicative offer of £75m to £100m.

The entry of Conrad Black and the Telegraph Group is unexpected. As the owner of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, any bid by Mr Black would face scrutiny by the Monopolies Commission.

Dan Colson, deputy chairman of Hollinger, the Telegraph Group's parent company, said: "We have always been opportunistic buyers of newspapers and we tend to look at most that come on the market... There is no legal impediment. We would be referred if we were intending to acquire. But I don't see that as an insurmountable obstacle."

Yet another possible bidder for the titles is Apax Partners, a venture capital firm advised by Stephen Grabiner, a former executive at the Telegraph and Express groups.

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