Nick Cavanagh was a newspaper tycoon and owner of the Clarion Group, which bought up Bob Statham's 60% majority share of the Weatherfield Recorder for £30,000 in February 1988. Cavanagh also offered £25,000 for Ken Barlow's minority share but was turned down.
Although the pair had never met, Ken knew the Clarion Group by reputation, and feared that his paper would become filled with wall-to-wall advertisements and horoscopes. His first meeting with Nick did little to allay his fears, as Nick, though personable, admitted that he saw Ken as a problem but that he wanted to make a go of it. He explained to Ken that he had been advertising manager on the Evening Telegraph and that, after being made redundant, he'd formed the Clarion Group and was now on his fifth free sheet. Ken was unimpressed with his new partner, dubbing him an aging yuppie in training shoes.
Nick proved to be a hands-on partner and full of ideas. One of his first acts was to persuade Ken to dismiss his part-time assistant Janet Bamford on the grounds that they needed someone in the office full-time. Despite initial reluctance, Ken went ahead and sacked Janet, upon which Nick (without consulting Ken) started a new recruit in the position - his daughter Fiona. Ken was initially worried that Fiona was there to spy on him for Nick, but he was soon won over by her genuine interest in the profession. However, he disapproved of her tactic of lying to advertisers to trick them into using the paper. Nick defended Fiona's initiative, telling him that there was nothing wrong with embellishing the truth - as a student he'd been a toilet attendant but he'd told girls he was a ceramic engineer.
Once the Recorder was moved into Neptune House, home of the Clarion Group, Nick left the day-to-day running of the paper to Ken and Fiona. He occasionally called on Ken to share his latest idea - such as a new design for the Clarion Group logo, and to inform him that he was getting a company car.
Behind the scenes, the Clarion Group's finances were in a sorry state. By June, Nick still hadn't paid Statham for his share of the Recorder, and he was borrowing money to keep the Clarion Group going. He found a buyer for the Group but the deal fell through, upon which he took what money he could and disappeared, while the receivers were called in to take control of the Clarion Group. When Fiona told a hitherto-oblivious Ken the facts, Ken was initially suspicious that Fiona was protecting Nick, though he soon believed that she didn't know where he was when she helped him keep the paper going.