Belfast Telegraph

Media tycoon Montgomery 'in £10m pay day' if takeover is agreed

By Nevin Farrell

A leading player in the media industry, Bangor man David Montgomery, is reportedly at the centre of a major newspaper shake-up.

Montgomery is chief executive of Local World, which is on the verge of a £200m takeover by rival publisher Trinity Mirror, according to the Sunday Times.

Local World runs more than 100 newspapers, including the Cambridge News and Nottingham Post.

The deal, expected to be struck within weeks, according to the report, will be one of the largest seen in the UK regional press.

It will cement the position of Trinity Mirror - owner of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror - as Britain's biggest local and regional news company, and could spur further consolidation in the sector.

Some industry experts say more tie-ups are seen as a necessity for local journalism to prosper in the era of smartphones and widespread internet access.

Over the past decade, websites such as Rightmove and Auto Trader have gobbled up swathes of the advertising revenue that was the lifeblood of local papers. Local newspapers have also lost ads to social media sites such as Facebook.

The Sunday Times reports that the takeover of Local World is expected to trigger a £10m pay-day for David Montgomery.

The former Mirror Group boss created the Local World publishing group in 2012 by overseeing the merger of Daily Mail and General Trust's local news division, Northcliffe Media, with Liffe News & Media. Trinity Mirror already holds a 20% stake in Local World after a £14m investment three years ago.

Daily Mail and General Trust owns 39% of the company, whose other backers include former Conservative Party treasurer Lord Ashcroft and hedge fund boss Crispin Odey.

The Sunday Times says Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, has had on-off discussions with Mr Montgomery since the spring, while holding simultaneous discussions with billionaire media baron Richard Desmond over a takeover of his Express national titles.

According to the report, sources said discussions with Local World foundered after resistance from the Liffe family which owns 21% of the company.

The family, whose property, marina and media empire is worth an estimated £235m, then explored a takeover of Local World but could not raise the finance.

Local World and Trinity Mirror declined to comment.

Belfast Telegraph