David Montgomery, former editor of News of the World, is lining up tens of millions of pounds to fund a takeover of the Express newspaper titles and the celebrity glossy magazine OK!
Sky News reported that Montgomery asked for banks to pitch last week to secure a part in the potential purchase of Northern & Shell’s media assets, which are currently owned by the tycoon Richard Desmond.
Bank of Ireland is thought to be leading the pitch process on behalf of National World, the entity Montgomery is using to make the bid.
Lenders are being asked to provide debt to smooth a path for the deal, alongside prospective equity investors who would acquire shares worth tens of millions of pounds. It is understood that Montgomery wants the money to be in place by the end of next month.
Private equity firms including Towerbrook Capital Partners, the former Jimmy Choo owner, have been approached about putting money into the Express takeover, but some are thought to have been put off by Northern & Shell’s pension liabilities.
The talks between Montgomery and Desmond have been taking place for close to six months. After the deal closes, Desmond could hold a 10 per cent stake in the newspaper business.
After exiting the Mirror Group in the late 1990s, Montgomery established Mecom Group, owner of a group of local newspapers in Scandinavia and Europe. However, he left Mecom Group in 2010 after arguing with the firm's with shareholders. Montgomery then started Local World, a consolidation vehicle for UK regional newspapers, which he sold on to Trinity Mirror.