How he made his Pile: Richard Desmond, Media Baron

How the Express proprietor and adult publisher accumulated his millions.

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Who is he?

Proprietor of Express Newspapers and publisher of celebrity magazines OK! and New!, Desmond also owns Britain's biggest adult TV channel, TVX. Ranked 44= in the Sunday Times Rich List 2009, he is worth an estimated £950m.

How did he make his millions?

Pornography. Britain's 'pornographer in chief' is infamous for having acquired his first millions through 'special interest' publications such as Asian Babes, Horny Housewives, 60Plus and Big Ones. But when he bought Express Newspapers for £125m in 2000, his smutty roots became an embarrassment and he flogged his porn portfolio for just £20m.

The secret of his success?

Desmond runs a publishing operation whose diet of endless celebrity exposes and showbiz gossip is cheap, popular and profitable. He is well-known for personal feuds with rival publishers. A spat with disgraced former Telegraph proprietor Conrad Black cost him a reported £1.25m when he lost a libel action against Black's biographer Tom Bower in July.

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