Morgan heads group in Press Gazette talks

A
consortium led by Piers Morgan, which includes celebrity PR Matthew
Freud, is believed to be closing in on a deal to buy Press Gazette.

The
magazine is the last remaining asset of Quantum Business Media, the
Croydon-based magazine publisher which has been broken up over the past
few months. Two other bidders have also been in recent talks, and
further expressions of interest are still being made.

However,
the former Daily Mirror editor is closest to a deal and is believed to
be planning a major overhaul and more investment if he succeeds.

Morgan’s
only official comment on the progress of the deal was: “Journalists
deserve to have the best trade magazine in the country and whoever owns
it should love both the industry and the people who work in it.”

The sale of the magazine could be completed within the next fortnight.

Morgan
has cash to spare. After he was sacked as Daily Mirror editor in May
last year over the fake torture pictures affair, he secured a payout
estimated at £1.7m. He banked another reported £1.2m for the rights to
his memoirs The Insider – which went on to top the bestseller’s list.

Press
Gazette editor Ian Reeves said: “Press Gazette has had five owners in
the past 15 years, so we’re looking forward to the next chapter in its
history being a long and fruitful one. We’re excited that whoever takes
over will undoubtedly share the team’s passion and commitment to
independent journalism and invest in its future.”

Meanwhile, the
new editor of Media Week, which was sold to Haymarket last week, has
been revealed as Phil Smith, currently editor-in-chief of Haymarket’s
Direct Mail and New Media group.

He succeeds Tim Burrowes, who has left to launch Campaign Middle East in Dubai.

Smith
joined Revolution magazine as news editor from Estates Gazette in
October 1999 and most recently took overall editorial responsibility
for its Revolution, Marketing Direct and Direct Response magazines.

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