THG founder and CEO Matthew Moulding has purchased London-based finance newspaper City AM.
The British businessman acquired the company through a pre-pack administration process for an undisclosed sum.
City AM, which has been loss-making in recent months, was put up for sale in July 2023 by its owners seeking either investment or disposal - but failed to find a buyer.
The decision to purchase a newspaper title comes after Moulding took to social media in April 2023 to lambast the British press.
Moulding said along with hedge funds and bank analysts, the trio “regularly build negative coverage” against UK listed companies.
He claimed this is done by the three groups to bet on which share prices will fall, and is achieved by “discrediting” companies using aggressive claims which impact share prices,
But Moulding has praised CityAM in a Linkedin post, calling it a “rare breed” which has spent decades “cheerleading both the UK and businesses alike”.
“Years ago, newspapers worked closely with businesses to understand the UK market and whip up public support for UK policies,” he added in the post.
“This helped drive UK competitiveness on a global stage. But that model is long gone.”
Moulding said he is mostly interested in building ad tech reach through CityAM, and stressed neither he or the company’s board will be driving editorial content.
Despite this sentiment, he stated in his LinkedIn media post there will be just “one rule” for the future editorial direction of CityAM.
"Where possible, be a cheerleader for both the UK and businesses alike, and don't get dragged over to the dark side."
While the acquisition is THG’s first newspaper under its ownership, the company maintains two online magazines, The Supplement and The Highlight.
The titles form part of the brand owner’s extensive media division, which spends an estimated £200m a year targeting consumers.
THG made headlines this year after receiving a preliminary takeover proposal from US buyout firm Apollo Global Management and subsequently terminating the offer.
The British retailer’s board rejected the offer based on an inadequate valuation of the company, and said there was “no longer any merit” in continuing to engage with Apollo.
THG instead remains confident in its profitability in 2023 as an independent company, citing its work to improve operating leverage and generate working capital efficiencies.
“The board remains fully confident in THG's strategic direction and long-term prospects as an independent company,” said Charles Allen, Chair of THG, at the time.
The Manchester-based company originally received the takeover proposal from Apollo in April, which looked to acquire the entire share capital of THG.