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National World abandons Reach takeover plan

National World chairman David Montgomery

Yorkshire Post publisher National World will not bid for Reach plc it has confirmed, bringing an end to weeks of speculation since it announced its interest at the beginning of November.

National World – much smaller than its erstwhile takeover target with a market valuation of around £50m compared to Reach’s £330m price tag – has confirmed that despite “considerable industrial and financial advantages to combining the newspaper portfolios of the two companies,” and despite claiming to have in-principle investment support for a bid, it will not be proceeding with an offer.

National World has been in buoyant mood since it beat Reach out in a head-to-head battle to take over JPI Media in 2021, in an eventual £10.2m deal, and its board said it “remains confident in the company’s strategic direction and positioning as a proactive consolidator in the sector and a content-driven business in its own right” in the statement.

NW executive chairman David Montgomery added: “National World has ambitious and fully fledged plans to grow our business, creatively and through acquisitions and partnerships. Our key goal is to continue to build a vibrant content business and we will do that.

“A combination with Reach could unlock very significant operational value for both companies, but not all the elements required to ensure a successful transaction were present.”

Montgomery said that, rather than create distractions for management and shareholders at both companies, NW would not proceed with further discussions at this point.

Instead, he said: “We will focus on pursuing initiatives where we see clear value creation opportunities, primarily relating to content and technology-driven customer initiatives, facing the challenges with which all in the sector must contend.”

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