Former Tabloid Editor Ups Stake in UK Magazine Group

25 August 2005

Kelvin MacKenzie, onetime Rottweiler to Rupert Murdoch in his capacity as editor of Britain's top-selling tabloid The Sun, has turned his talents to the dangerous art of entrepreneurship.

Having failed to coax his last venture, The Wireless Group (also Murdoch-funded and since sold to Ulster Television) from the Sargasso of red ink in which it had been immsersed since launch, MacKenzie on Wednesday upped his stake in ailing magazine publisher Highbury House Communications to 19.8% - having built that stake from zero in under a month.

Word around the media parish pump is that MacKenzie may seek a seat on the Highbury board - even attempt a boardroom coup. The Megaphone himself was uncharacteristically zip-lipped: "I'm sorry. I've got nothing to say at the moment. If I do, I will."

Highbury has debts exceeding £25 million ($45m; €37m) and has watched its market value plummet since the Office of Fair Trading blocked its planned sale to rival Future Publishing.

Thwarted by the OFT, Highbury then sold thirty-eight individual titles to Future, and also seeks to dispose of its South African business. A rights issue is said to be on the cards, intended to inject some red corpuscles into its anaemic balance sheet.

[It would also dilute MacKenzie's holding to the detriment of his power play.]

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff