Shares in magazine publisher Emap have surged following the announcement that chief executive has stepped down.
Tom Moloney and the Emap management have faced criticism
Tom Moloney left "by mutual agreement" after 26 years at the firm, Emap said.
The publisher has been battling a tough market since the start of the year, prompting profit warnings and jobs cuts as it tries to save £20m by 2008/9.
Analysts believe the group may now become a target for private equity buyers, and the speculation prompted a 6% jump in its shares.
Its shares ultimately closed up 5% at 881 pence.
Emap's stable of media brands also includes the radio stations Kiss and Magic; magazines such as FHM, Heat and Empire and a string of business titles including Construction News.
However, like many other media firms Emap has had to deal with stiff competition and the increasing influence of the internet in recent years.
Earlier this year it warned sales of its UK consumer magazines had fallen by 2% .
"We have consistently been critical of Emap management, who have lurched from one expensive foray to another in search of growth," said Simon Wallis of Collins Stewart
He added that possible private equity bidders would be "paying the situation close attention if they haven't already".
Emap's non-executive chairman Alun Cathcart has taken over in the top job until a permanent successor is hired.