By Andy Skinner
Two former Birmingham Post senior executives are in discussions about buying Trinity Mirror’s troubled regional flagship.
Former editor Nigel Hastilow and advertising manager Andrew Haddow have teamed up with corporate finance advisers Clearwater. Stephen Gilmore, senior partner with lawyers Lee Crowder, has been taking soundings in the city’s business community to gauge the support for a bid.
Hastilow and Haddow are directors of Heart Media Group, which is 25 per cent owned by Visit Heart of England, the regional tourist board. Heart Media was set up by Haddow after he left the Birmingham Post & Mail and part of the deal includes a contract to produce VHE’s core publications, worth around £400,000 annually.
Alistair Nee, group managing director of Trinity Mirror in the Midlands, is understood to have flatly rejected an informal approach and to have refused to discuss it.
Hastilow confirmed “a couple of chats” had taken place, but said there was nothing concrete to report yet. “A lot of people are dismayed at the decline of the paper and believe that Birmingham deserves better. I don’t believe Trinity Mirror would sell the one title, but that remains to be seen,” he said. Clearwater is believed to have interest in principle from two venture-capital companies.
Haddow added: “A number of influential business people in the Midlands are not very happy with the Post and believe it has been going down the pan for a number of years.”
A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “There are no ‘for sale’ signs on any of our businesses.”
Analysis, page 13