MacKenzie puts cash into magazine firm

By Alyson Fixter

Kelvin MacKenzie, ex-editor of The Sun and former boss of The
Wireless Group, has bought a 15 per cent share in struggling publisher
Highbury House in the midst of the company’s drive to slim down its
operations.

Chief executive Mark Simpson has announced that he will be stepping
down from his post in September to become deputy chairman. Meanwhile
chief operating officer David Nizol has left the board.

Industry
commentators have suggested that MacKenzie is planning to eventually
take a seat on the board – although becoming heavily involved in the
company might seem an uncertain business prospect for MacKenzie, who
left The Wireless Group in May after its sale to Ulster TV.

Highbury
sold 38 of its magazines to its rival Future earlier this year and is
trying to pay off debts that stood at £64m in February.

It has so
far retained its gaming titles and failing lads’ mag Front, which saw a
sales drop of 19 per cent in February’s ABCs. Last week it confirmed it
was closing home interest titles Inspirations and Home and sold Real
Homes to Hachette Filipacchi for £500,000.

The publisher also announced it had signed a deal with computer gaming store Game to publish a monthly magazine for the company.

Simpson will be replaced by Mike Frey, current managing director of Highbury’s entertainment division.

MacKenzie is believed to be close to signing a deal to return to The Sun as a columnis

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