Ex-Local World boss reveals plans for newspaper takeovers under new company

Ex-Local World boss reveals plans for newspaper takeovers under new company

Ex-News of the World editor David Montgomery has outlined his plans to “transform the sector” by foregoing “archaic industrial practices” and buying up struggling titles for his new publishing company.

Local World founder Montgomery (pictured) is the executive chairman of National World. He is expected to bid for titles such as the i or the Scotsman from JPI Media, which is in talks with other publishers to sell assets.

In a document published yesterday, ahead of the company’s shares going live on the London Stock Exchange, National World said it “aims to transform the sector through acquisition and partnership”.

It has already set its sights on targets for acquisition as well as commercial partnerships, but has not named them publicly.

The Telegraph has reported that Montgomery could also have his sights on regional publisher Newsquest.

National World said it plans to become a “technology-driven news publishing business” with a strategy that would combine digital innovation with traditional print assets.

It intends to aggregate audiences and reduce costs by sharing services with other publishers, the company statement continued.

These shared facilities could include print and distribution, purchasing, IT, finance and administration, property and regulatory compliance functions.

The company said it believed it could “affect a radical overhaul of costs through increased industry collaboration, including establishing shared facilities to service the company’s own operations and those of other publishers”.

Montgomery said in a statement: “Our objective is to create a modern platform for news publishing by implementing a new operating model, powered by the latest technology.

“National World will jettison legacy systems and archaic industrial practices to create efficient dissemination of news, monetising it by matching content to audience.

“With the relevant technology embedded in National World it is intended to deploy these capabilities across news publishing assets, whether acquired by the company or via partnerships.”

The new document from National World outlined three weaknesses in current publishing models the directors see as blocking the path to sustainable growth.

They include the “sub-scale individual publisher-owned platforms” which lack the potential to tap into user data and grow revenues, and the revenue imbalance between news publishers and Facebook and Google, which “reap many times more revenue per user”.

The third challenge was the “preponderance of programmatic and low-cost online advertisements”.

The Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating whether competition in the digital advertising market is “distorted” by the digital Duopoly.

The company’s admission to the LSE, with 54m shares at 1p each, is expected to take place on Thursday.

Montgomery launched regional publisher Local World in November 2012 following a merger between the Northcliffe and Iliffe regional news groups. Local World was sold to Trinity Mirror, now Reach, in a £220m deal three years later.

Montgomery owns more than 75 per cent of shares in National World, which also has former Reach finance director Vijay Vaghela and chief operating officer Mark Hollinshead on board as directors.

Picture: Reuters



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