Richard Desmond says he wants to buy The Sun

Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star, has said he wants to buy The Sun newspaper from Rupert Murdoch, despite the UK's biggest tabloid not being for sale.

Richard Desmond: would change the way The Sun is run
Richard Desmond: would change the way The Sun is run

In an interview on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, he said he had spoken to Murdoch "many times about many things", but would not be drawn on whether he had made an offer for the paper.

Asked by interviewer Nick Cosgrove if he had the money, even if the price went as high as £1bn, he said: "Of course, we run a very profitable company."

He said if he was successful, he would change the way The Sun is run. "We would run it in a different manner, which would be more efficient in today's marketplace," Desmond said.

The issue of The Sun came up after Desmond, who has a personal fortune of around £950m according to The Sunday Times Rich List, was asked about consolidation in the newspaper industry.

He said the industry had to consolidate and said he hoped to be in the vanguard of that consolidation.

When asked if he would be interested in buying another newspaper, he said he would, but would not initially be drawn on which one. When the interview put the names The Telegraph and The Daily Mirror to Desmond he said no.

However, at the mention of The Sun he said: "You'll have to work that out for yourself." It was then that he said he had spoken to Murdoch on numerous occasions.

The acquisition of The Sun and its sister paper, the News of the World, would give Murdoch four tabloid newspapers.

The Sun's 2,955,957 circulation dwarfs that of The Daily Star, which sells 823,025. However, year on year, Desmond's paper has shown consistent growth and is up more than 7%, while The Sun has dropped by more than 1.6%.

The combination of the tabloids with Desmond's magazines OK!, Star and New would also give him a commanding position in the celebrity market.

In the latest magazine ABCs, Northern & Shell's New posted 50.1% rise period on period, partly down to being sold as part of a fortnightly multipack with OK,

While OK! was down 1.9% period on period, it was still up 15.7% year on year to 588,546.

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