LONDON: Serial company director Sir David Arculus (pictured), Emap group managing director until quitting in 1997 to take the chair at IPC Media, has accused the former's board of "losing its way" in bowing to shareholder pressure to sell components of the business.

He also seeks the scalp of Emap chairman Alun Cathcart, who has helmed the group solo since ceo Tom Moloney left in May. Since when Cathcart has survived an attempt to unseat him by Arculus and a group of disgruntled shareholders.

Emap is currently working through indicative bids from a range of private equity and trade players and has said it will update the market on 13 November.

Says Arculus: "It upsets me to see a great business like Emap broken up. There is a strong management team at divisional level, but the board has lost its way and doesn't really understand media . . . I am giving shareholders an alternative and there are a lot of forward-looking shareholders".

However, he declined to spell out the nature of the alternative on offer - although it doubtless contains the names 'David' and 'Arculus' within its core.

Emap, however, insists the break-up plan has the full support of investors. "Not a single shareholder demurred," an Emap spokesman claims.

Further corporate skirmishes are expected before the market update three weeks hence.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff