Reach Hires Another Dealmaker as CEO in Consolidation Push
(Bloomberg) -- Reach Plc is setting itself up to continue its consolidation of the U.K. newspaper industry with another dealmaker taking the helm.
The company said Monday that Chief Executive Officer Simon Fox, who oversaw two transformative acquisitions, will step down Aug. 16. He’ll be replaced by Jim Mullen, himself no stranger to building scale through deals. As CEO of Ladbrokes, the British gambling company, Mullen oversaw the 2015 takeover of rival Gala Coral. GVC Holdings Plc bought the combined company last year.
Reach, a London-based group of more than 100 newspapers, magazines and websites, may be on the verge of swallowing yet another rival. It said this month it’s in early-stage talks to buy parts of JPI Media. The industry is consolidating to cut costs and cope with digital disruption.
In addition to a deal for the Express & Star, which has produced greater efficiencies than had been expected, Reach also scooped up Local World Holdings. Shares traded 1.6% higher at 10:30 a.m. in London. They were up 118% over Fox’s tenure, which started September 2012.
Read here for more on Reach’s half-year results
“Clearly, these sorts of deals have worked for us in the past, and therefore I don’t think it’s a surprise” that we’re looking at JPI, said Fox. “We’ve proven that we are good at transactions like that and realizing the benefits.”
Fox, who previously spent six years at the helm of British entertainment retailer HMV Group Plc, said he has the appetite to do something else, and “will pop up again before too long.”
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