Newspaper boss Sir Ray Tindle has confirmed that he hopes to make a bid for some of the titles put up for sale by Trinity Mirror – but has also hinted that he may sell off some of his own newspapers.
He currently owns more than 200 titles and several radio stations.
And in a statement, the 80-year-old said he hoped to “ease off a little during 2007″ and that he may sell off some of the group’s assets.
He said: “No negotiations have yet begun or are on the horizon but it is possible that I may part with one or more of these assets during the year.”
Sir Ray, who served in the Devonshire Regiment in the Second World War, dreamed up his idea of a family newspaper group on a troopship in 1945 – and the first title was launched in the 1960s with the £300 demob money given to soldiers at the end of the war.
Since then he has launched or bought 200 titles and 14 radio stations.
One of its most recent acquisitions was the Wellington Weekly News, which it bought from Northcliffe last October.
Sir Ray added: “This year I shall have completed 60 years in local newspapers, 33 years in local radio and three years as a soldier in World War II.
“With any luck I’ve ten or 20 years still to go but I should like to ease off a little during 2007 though I hope to be among the bidders for a piece of the Trinity Mirror package.”
Trinity Mirror has said it plans to sell its regional titles in the midlands, London and the South East.
Free-sheet owner Chris Bullivant, who runs 19 newspapers in the midlands under the Observer Standard banner, has already said he intends to bid for Trinity Mirror’s midlands titles, and the group says it has received a “strong interest” from a range of potential buyers.