Clive Hollick, Baron Hollick
Early life and career
Hollick was born in Southampton, the son of Olive Mary (née Scruton) and Leslie George Hollick. He was educated at Taunton's Grammar School, Southampton, and then read Politics, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Nottingham. He joined Hambros Bank as a graduate trainee in 1967 and rapidly gained a reputation as a financier and a dealmaker, becoming in 1973 the bank's youngest ever director.
Vavasseur and MAI
The next year Hollick became chief executive of JH Vavasseur Group, a failing moneybroker caught up in the 1973-4 secondary banking crisis. By 1978 the Vavasseur mechant bank was financially secure once again, and Hollick was building it into a successful media company, renaming the group Mills & Allen International (MAI) after taking over advertising billboard company Mills and Allen. The group continued to grow with diversification during the 1980s, expanding into market research and business information services, and buying the National Opinion Polls (NOP) group in 1989 from the Daily Mail and General Trust.
MAI moved into television in 1993 when its subsidiary Meridian Broadcasting won the ITV franchise for South and South-East England. The following year it bought Anglia Television for £292m, and in 1995 a 14.8% share in Yorkshire-Tyne Tees, and was a major shareholder in the consortium that was granted the franchise for Channel 5.
United News and Media
In March 1996 the group merged with United Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Express, Daily Star, and a string of local newspapers, to form United News and Media, an international media group with revenues of £2.3 billion and 16,000 employees. Many thought Hollick would meet his match in Lord Stevens of Ludgate, proprietor of United; but it was Stevens who was sidelined as Hollick became chief executive, and within 18 months the Express had undergone a radical shift of political affiliation, dropping its long-standing support for the Conservative Party to become an enthusiastic proponent of Tony Blair's New Labour.
UNM was required to sell its stake in Yorkshire-Tyne Tees as part of the merger, giving Granada control, but the next year it was permitted to add a third ITV franchise to its holdings, HTV, the broadcaster for Wales and the West Country. As ITV continued to consolidate, Hollick proposed to take over Carlton in 2000, which would have made him the dominant player on the network. But his plans were blocked by the then Secretary of State at the DTI, Stephen Byers, who ruled that the merger would only be acceptable if Hollick gave up the prized Meridian franchise – making the deal pointless. Unable to proceed, Hollick sold the three ITV franchises to Granada in July 2000 for £1.75 billion. The UNM share price dived 13% on the news, but history has since revealed that Hollick sold out right at the top of the market. Ironically, the last restrictions on ITV company joint ownership were lifted by the Communications Act 2003, and in February 2004 Granada and Carlton merged to form a single entity ITV plc controlling all of the ITV franchises in England and Wales.
Other parts of UNM were also disposed of advantageously, including the demerging of MAI's original securities business in 1998 as Garban, which subsequently became ICAP; the sale in 1998 of United's Provincial Newspapers including the Yorkshire Post to Johnston Press; the controversial sale of Express Newspapers in 2000 to Richard Desmond, then the owner of a number of pornographic magazines; the sale of the NOP World market research business to GfK in 2005; and the sale of United's 35% stake in Channel 5 to RTL in 2005.
UNM, renamed United Business Media PLC in 2000, is now strongly focussed on business-to-business publications, information services and exhibitions. Principal subsidiaries are PR Newswire, acquired by United in 1982, and CMP Media, acquired in 1999.
Current activities and other interests
Hollick retired as CEO of United Business Media in April 2005 at the age of 60, and promptly became a managing partner at private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, focussing on the media and financial services sectors. This led to speculation that KKR might launch a bid for ITV. In 2006 he was appointed to the supervisory board of media conglomerate VNU, after KKR and Blackstone Group won a difficult takeover battle. He is also vice-chairman of the supervisory board of SBS Broadcasting Group, taken over by KKR and Permira in August 2005, into which in 2007 was merged the German satellite broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media. Hollick is also a director of Diageo PLC (since 2001), and Honeywell International (since 2003).
Other directorships Hollick has held include Hambros Bank Limited, 1973–96; Shepperton Studios (chairman), 1976–79; National Bus Company Ltd, 1984–91; Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge University, 1988–95; Logica plc, 1987–92; British Aerospace plc, 1992-97. From 2002 to 2008 he was Chairman of the South Bank Centre arts complex in London. He is currently a member of investment bank Jefferies Global Senior Advisory Board.
Hollick has been a longtime supporter and donor to the Labour Party, and was one of the founding backers of the New Labour think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). For a time after the 1997 Election he served as a special advisor to Margaret Beckett and Peter Mandelson at the Department of Trade and Industry. Hollick is a supporter of the 2020 Vision political campaign run by Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn, and currently co-ordinating funds for the campaign. He is also a Patron of Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families.
Hollick has been a partner at the leading European technology and media investment bank GP Bullhound since 2010.
- "Hollick makes his move", BBC News, 26 November 1999.
- "Is Carlton United a winning team?", BBC News, 26 November 1999.
- Factsheet, Justpeople.com, 9 February 2000.
- Melanie Mcdonagh, "The New Statesman Profile - Clive Hollick", New Statesman, 4 December 2000.
- "Lord Hollick To Be New Chairman Of The South Bank Board", Department for Culture, Media and Sport, February 2002.
- Hollick's non-United future, The Times, 3 September 2004
- Interview, Evening Standard, 8 September 2004.
- Jane Martinson, "Hollick refuses to hand back £250,000 despite investor vote", The Guardian, 13 May 2005.
- United Group: A Chronology, ketupa.net
- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts signs up Hollick as it targets UK media, The Times, 13 January 2005.
- "ITV may be on menu for Hollick", Daily Mail, 13 January 2005.
- "ITV gains on bid speculation", Digital TV, 18 January 2005.
- "Lord Hollick exits stage left", Sunday Times, 27 January 2008. Interview and profile on the occasion of Lord Holick stepping down as chairman of the Southbank Centre.
- GP Bullhound Website.