Media investment firm National World Plc — publisher of The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post — announced on Wednesday that it now has “no intention to make a firm offer” for newspaper publisher Reach Plc, which owns 130 national and regional news brands.
The brands of Reach plc include The Daily Record, The Mirror, Daily Express, the Manchester Evening News, the Liverpool Echo and Newcastle-based The Chronicle and The Journal.
On November 3, National World Plc announced it was in the early stages of exploring an offer for Reach.
Veteran newspaper editor David Montgomery is the executive chairman of National World Plc.
In a stock exchange statement, National World said: “On 3 November 2022, following press speculation regarding a potential transaction involving Reach plc, the company announced that it was at the early stages of exploring a possible offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Reach and that it had not approached the board of directors of Reach with regard to the possible offer.
“Following further work with its advisers, National World has concluded that while there are considerable industrial and financial advantages to combining the newspaper portfolios of the two companies the circumstances are not aligned to proceed any further with the possible offer.
“This is despite National World having received in principle financial support from within the investment community to fund a potential deal.
“The board of directors of National World (the ‘NW Board’) remains confident in the company’s strategic direction and positioning as a proactive consolidator in the sector and a content driven business in its own right.
“The NW board is continuing to pursue other paths to deliver its goals, with the objective of enhancing shareholder value and driving scale and consolidation, as it has successfully done since National World’s inception in 2019.”
Montgomery said: “National World has ambitious and fully fledged plans to grow our business, creatively and through acquisitions and partnerships. Our key goal is to continue to build a vibrant content business and we will do that.
“A combination with Reach could unlock very significant operational value for both companies, but not all the elements required to ensure a successful transaction were present.
“Rather than create unwanted management distractions for both companies and our respective shareholders, we have decided not to proceed with any discussions at this stage.
“We will focus on pursuing initiatives where we see clear value creation opportunities, primarily relating to content and technology-driven customer initiatives, facing the challenges with which all in the sector must contend.”
National World added: “As is customary under Rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code, National World reserves the right to make or participate in an offer for Reach (and/or take any other actions which would otherwise be restricted under Rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code) within the next six months following the date of this announcement …
“National World confirms that this announcement is not being made with the consent of Reach.”