Media: Tarzan: the sequel

You can't keep a good man down for long, and Michael Heseltine is now applying his brand of energy to the world of publishing

Michael Heseltine is not a man to embrace retirement or idleness with a happy heart. So when his political career came to an abrupt halt with the 1997 election, he immediately turned his energies to his publishing company, Haymarket. Now, deeply ensconced in business, the lion is roaring again.

The departure of four Haymarket Publishing executives last week, on a New York-bound Jumbo jet, provides a clue as to what Heseltine is planning. The four are off to start a US edition of the company's trade paper, PR Week.

The US venture coincides with the launch of a new fortnightly Haymarket title covering IT training, a spectacular 30th birthday edition of the flagship title Campaign, and city gossip of imminent acquisitions in the Far East. With Heseltine himself back in charge, it is hardly the same Haymarket that has for years cultivated a position as the sleepiest, though highly profitable, specialist publisher in town.

Michael Heseltine faced a choice after losing office last year - stay active in politics, take a handful of company directorships, or return to the company that has been the basis of his fortune. He opted for the latter and has, by all accounts, thrown himself into it with a vengeance.

"He is here nearly every day, and is very ambitious for the company," says one of his senior colleagues. "It's all go, go, go," says another. "He is totally leading the charge."

Heseltine says he opted to rejoin Haymarket simply because of his ownership of it: "There is no point working for someone else if you already have a a large shareholding in your own company." He seems genuinely excited by the opportunity to advance the company further.

Haymarket's original success was built largely on producing trade titles that looked as swish as the best consumer ones, and pioneering the recruitment advertising market. There was even some critical success: in the Sixties, the company produced the men's consumer title Town, which many believe was ahead of its time, with its focus on male fashion.

But with Heseltine away in the Eighties, the company was less dynamic and, although a profitable stable of 40 titles was developed, there was none of the same pioneering zeal. Colleagues say Heseltine now appears determined to return it to its former pre-eminence.

One well-placed colleague says Heseltine wants to "double the size of the company in 10 years". Heseltine does not deny the claim, saying that it is "realistic", and accepting that he is "very ambitious" for the company.

He did not waste much time on his arrival. There was a reorganisation that saw the departure of the chief executive, Paul Camp, and the recruitment of an ex-colleague of Heseltine's from Whitehall, Alan Kemp, as business development director. Heseltine also bought more shares from his fellow directors, taking his family holding to 78 per cent of the company. He is now a hands-on member of the team, liaising with editors and developing ideas. Nicholas Coleridge, managing director at Conde Nast, says: "I think he really relishes being back in publishing, and seems to be very well informed. The editors like to have him around, as he brings a real buccaneering dash to the company."

The New York move is his first major one - and a brave one. Haymarket's research suggests that there is a niche in the US market for PR Week - and the company has staked more than a million pounds on its belief. The Far East market is also being explored, with some reports of Heseltine being interested in investing in China. He will not be drawn on such matters, but says, broadly, that there are opportunities in the Far East to copy the success that the company has had here - by producing high-quality, specialist publications.

Heseltine says he will not float Haymarket, and so must keep generating profits to finance further borrowing in order to expand. "We are negotiating in a range of fields to build on the strengths we have got," he says.

The company is considering UK launches for new titles in each of the four divisions: consumer, business, medical and marketing. Kemp expects the company to invest "several millions" a year in launches: "A much faster rate than in the past". He also adds that there will also be expansion on to the Internet and into digital TV.

Haymarket is already worth an estimated pounds 300m, so neither Heseltine nor his family need ever be short of cash. Some have asked what is the point of working so hard, and perhaps risking his health, to add more millions to the value of the company. His colleagues think it unlikely that he is simply fattening it up to sell it.

The accepted theory seems to be that Heseltine wants to make his mark in publishing, in the way that he did in politics. "He is a showman, and he wants to go out in a blaze of glory," says an insider.

It is also, of course, worth noting that his son, Rupert, is one of the four executives on the plane to New York; the idea of starting a media dynasty may appeal.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee