Friday, August 31, 2012

Cunning Fox, Sly Bailey

Whoopee-doo. The boss of a failing chain of CD shops is taking over as boss of a failing chain of newspapers. Nothing succeeds like failure.

Simon Fox ran away from HMV earlier this month straight into the arms of Trinity Mirror.

When Mr Fox joined HMV its shares traded at more than 160p. Now they are just a few pennies each.

He sold Waterstones for £53 million and the Hammersmith Apollo for £32 million but profits under his tenure have fallen from £80 million to minus £10 million. And the company has debts of £168 million.

It’s not all Mr Fox’s fault, of course. Sales of music, originally the staple diet of HMV, have all gone on-line (assuming the music is actually purchased, of course).

The company has tried to find other ways of ensuring its survival but it’s still closing shops all over the country.

So the wise people at Trinity Mirror have recruited the cunning Mr Fox to run their newspaper group, a company which has not exactly covered itself in glory during a dismal decade under the sly Mrs Bailey.

While she was raking in the money, the company was doing the opposite. Her decade wiped out 90 per cent of the value of the shares.

Again, this is partly because of the impact of the internet, though not by any means exclusively.

Trinity Mirror shareholders, employees, readers, advertisers (and pensioners like me) must be delighted to discover that the company’s solution to its woes is to bring in someone with so much experience of managing decline.

I notice the latest newspaper circulation figures show the Birmingham Mail is selling 42,252 copies a day.

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