Richard Desmond 'wants to buy the Sun newspaper'

Image caption,
Richard Desmond built a newspaper empire after leaving school at 14

The owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star has indicated that he wants to buy the Sun newspaper.

Richard Desmond told the BBC he had £1bn to spend and that he was keen to add to his stable of titles which includes the celebrity magazine OK!

He said he would run the Sun, which is Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, in a manner that was "more efficient in today's market place".

There is no indication that owner Rupert Murdoch wants to sell the Sun.

Mr Desmond told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he believed he could do a better job if he were the Sun's owner.

"We would run it in a different manner which would be more efficient in today's market place," he said.

The newspaper industry is widely considered to be in long term decline.

However, Mr Desmond has proven that it is possible to sell more papers and he believes his Daily Star will soon overtake the Daily Mirror in terms of readers.

The newspaper proprietor left school in north London at 14 with few academic qualifications before applying for a job as a cloakroom attendant at Thomson Newspapers where he met the classified-advertisement director, who he went to work for instead.

By the age of 21 he owned his own house and two record shops.

Mr Desmond acquired the Express titles in 2000 with money he had made in the adult industry.

The acquisition caused controversy after it emerged that he donated £100,000 to the Labour Party soon after the then government had approved the takeover deal.

The BBC's Nick Cosgrove said: "Richard Desmond is one of the most controversial newspaper barons Britain has ever produced.

"He's known to many as Dirty Des because of a long involvement in the adult entertainment industry but it's difficult to argue with the circulation figures of the Daily Star which has soared since he became owner."

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