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Montgomery reveals further acquisition plans after JPIMedia takeover

David MontgomeryDavid Montgomery’s investment vehicle National World has touted further acquisition plans following its takeover of JPIMedia.

The company has outlined its intention to seek “acquisition opportunities” after publishing its annual report for 2020 and has also revealed it is set to announce “further launches and technology partnerships in the near future”.

Since taking over JPIMedia on 2 January, National World has launched a national news website called NationalWorld and has also embarked on a strategy of localisation across the company.

Editors have now been appointed at more than 30 JPIMedia newspapers, many of which had not had their own dedicated editor in a number of years, since the takeover.

In the annual report, National World outlined what it called its ‘Localise, Energise, Digitise, Monetise’ policy, vowing to “retain, recruit and develop talented people, appropriately incentivised and motivated, and provide them with the pre-requisite digital skills that will aid the execution of [the] strategy”.

Mr Montgomery, pictured, said: “We are pleased to have commenced the implementation of our strategy with the acquisition of JPI Group.

“We have already made progress with our Localise, Energise, Digitise, Monetise programme, empowering local news teams and re-energising titles.

“In addition, we have launched, a website serving the whole of the UK, edited outside London and drawing on the quality of our regional publishing strength.

“We have exciting plans for the future and look forward to continuing the development of the business on a UK-wide footprint and securing new acquisition opportunities as they become available.”

The company, which incurred a £1.1m loss during 2020, says it expects to make annualised savings of £5m during 2021 with restructuring costs of £4m.

Mr Montgomery, pictured, noted in his chairman’s report that JPIMedia was undergoing a “comprehensive overhaul” after seven executives left the business following the £10.2m takeover.

He wrote: “The centralised structure is in the process of being dismantled, transferring resources to the local franchises to bring journalists and sales staff closer to the communities and the advertisers they serve.

“Content and commercial responsibility has been transferred to the individual franchises grouped in seven regions.

“Many titles, print and online, are in the process of being upgraded with richer and exclusive content. This accords with National World’s strategy to introduce payment for premium online content at an early stage which recognises that original and unique local content is highly prized by social media platforms.

“Those platforms are now making payment for such content, including to JPI Group, and this trend is likely to increase either through voluntary arrangements or as seems possible through legislative intervention.

“The company is also planning to leverage the JPI Group market position and talent to launch new online products and exploit its UK wide footprint.”

He added: “The company expects to announce further launches and technology partnerships in the near future. These will be accompanied by a rolling programme of product enhancements and relaunches.”