Northern & Shell
|Headquarters||City of London, United Kingdom|
|Services||Publishing and television|
Northern & Shell (holding company name Northern and Shell Network Ltd) is a British publishing group, launched and founded in December 1974 and currently owned by Richard Desmond. It publishes the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, and the magazines OK!, and New!, Star. Northern & Shell also owned three entertainment television channels: Channel 5, 5* and 5USA until 2015. It owned Portland TV, which operates adult TV channels including Television X and Red Hot TV; the company sold Portland in April 2016.
Desmond founded Northern and Shell in 1974 and launched a magazine called International Musician and Recording World. In 1983, Northern and Shell obtained the licence to publish Penthouse in the United Kingdom which led to its publishing a range of adult titles, Asian Babes among them. These titles were later sold in 2004. It was the first company to move to the revamped Docklands and the Princess Royal opened the offices. When the company moved to the Northern & Shell Tower Prince Philip opened the offices.
Northern & Shell also publishes a wide range of magazines including the celebrity weekly, OK!, started as a monthly in 1993.
In November 2000 Northern & Shell acquired Express Newspapers from United News & Media for £125m. enlarging the group to include the Daily and Sunday Express titles, the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday (which Desmond started), and the Irish Star (owned jointly with the Irish Independent group). The Daily and Sunday Express each sell around 700,000 copies per issue. Northern & Shell had borrowed £97 million (approximately US$190 million) for the Express group purchase. Northern & Shell's "portfolio" of soft-porn magazines was offered for sale in 2001 in order to provide cash to invest in the then newly acquired Express Newspapers group. Some viewed the sale as an attempt to distance the company from the pornography business, but most analysts believed it to be only a financial move as The Fantasy Channel, Northern and Shell's adult cable channel, wasn't included in the sale.
In 2004 Northern & Shell sought acquisition of additional publications — The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph, along with its sister publication The Sunday Telegraph. It was unsuccessful in its bid for The Telegraph, losing out to David and Frederick Barclay, who had long sought to own the paper.
On 23 July 2010, Northern & Shell bought Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited, which operates Channel 5, 5* and 5USA for €125 million (£103.5 million) from the RTL Group. On 1 May 2014, the channels were sold to Viacom for £450 million (US$759 million).
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