Media boss Richard Desmond has begun "immediate steps" to close down his joint venture with the Irish Daily Star after the newspaper caused outrage by publishing topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Irish Daily Star is a joint venture between Independent News and Media and Northern and Shell, of which Mr Desmond is chairman.
Mr Desmond said: "I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture. The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever and Northern & Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms."
Northern and Shell said they were not given advance notice of the decision to publish and were consulting their lawyers "as a matter of urgency over what we believe to be a serious breach of their contract".
The Duchess faced more distress as Italian gossip magazine Chi promised to follow suit with a 26-page special edition next week. But Kate and the Duke of Cambridge put on a brave face while visiting a rainforest in Borneo, as closer to home St James's Palace reacted with fury to the Star's decision.
The Palace condemned the decision to publish the images - taken of the couple on holiday at Chateau d'Autet, near Aix-en-Provence, and originally featured in the French magazine Closer - as motivated by greed.
And Northern and Shell, the newspaper's part owners, described publication as a "grotesque invasion" of privacy.
Mimi Turner, Northern and Shell's communications director, said: "We abhor the decision of the Irish Daily Star to publish these intrusive pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which we, like St James's Palace, believe to be a grotesque invasion of their privacy."
The media group distanced itself from the decision to publish after the newspaper's editor, Michael O'Kane, said the Duchess was no different from Rihanna or Lady Gaga, and acknowledged he wanted to sell more newspapers.
St James's Palace has already said the couple will sue the publishers of Closer, which is run by a different company from the British version of Closer magazine.