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Tuesday, July 20, 1999 Published at 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK

Business: The Company File

Montgomery confirms possible Mirror bid

Bids already in for the Mirror Group

Former Mirror Group boss David Montgomery has confirmed that he is in talks with financiers which may lead to a bid for the newspaper publishers.

Mr Montgomery was forced to quit as chief executive of the group in January after losing the confidence of major shareholders following a bitter boardroom struggle.

An announcement made on his behalf to the stock exchange on Tuesday confirmed he was in talks with "a number of financial institutions which may or may not lead to an offer for the Mirror Group Plc".

The statement said an announcement would be made "in due course".

Bid 'prepared'

He is believed to have drawn up plans which would see a faster movement of the Mirror Group into electronic media, including the Internet.

The announcement comes following a report in the Sunday Telegraph, which said Mr Montgomery was preparing a £1.3bn ($2bn) bid for the Mirror Group.

The paper said he was organising backing from an alliance of banks and private equity firms and was confident he could mount an agreed cash offer of 270p a share.

The newspaper also said the Mirror's board was prepared to consider the offer if it was better than two offers made earlier, by regional newspaper groups Trinity Plc and Regional Independent Media.

Both earlier bids are being examined by the Competition Commission.

Mirror Group shares were up five pence, or 2%, at 251.5p on the news.

The Mirror has arrested its huge slump in circulation during the early 1990s, but it still lags far behind the market leader in the tabloid press, The Sun.

The growing interest in newspaper groups was demonstrated recently when the US media giant Gannett Publications bought another UK regional newspaper group for nearly £1bn.

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