The Daily Mail and General Trust has put itself in the frame for any potential sell-off of The Daily Telegraph.
The admission came last week when DMGT - which owns the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, the London Evening Standard and the Metro titles through Associated Newspapers - announced its yearly results.
The company declared it would consider bidding for the Telegraph should the newspaper group's parent company, Hollinger International, decide to offload assets following the departure of chairman Conrad Black.
DMGT finance director Peter Williams said the group would be watching the Telegraph situation despite a 1.7% fall in advertising revenue for the 12 months ending September 30.
He dismissed suggestions the company would not be able to finance a bid - expected to total at least £500m.
Operating profits for DMGT's national titles fell from £80.3m to £69.8 for fiscal 2003 as display advertising dropped by 3.4% while classified revenues increased by 3.3%.
The group's star performer was Metro, which saw a massive 28% increase in display advertising while the Evening Standard continued to see a decline in its recruitment business.
DMGT's regional press newspaper division, Northcliffe, increased its operating profits by four per cent to £93.7m. Its advertising revenues also increased by three per cent on the back of a confident property market and public sector recruitment growth.
The company said overall profits for the groups only increased by £3m for the 12month period, citing tough advertising sales conditions.