The parent companies of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, along with the Spectator, fell into receivership in June, presenting an unusual opportunity for wealthy investors to take charge of a prominent British newspaper conglomerate.
The Barclays family is reportedly making an attempt to regain control of the Telegraph newspaper group, with financial backing from Middle Eastern investors.
This move comes a few months after they surrendered the struggling business to Lloyds Banking Group due to debts. The parent companies of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, along with the Spectator, fell into receivership in June, presenting an unusual opportunity for wealthy investors to take charge of a prominent British newspaper conglomerate.
Notable media figures considering bids are said to include Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail, and National World, a regional newspaper business led by David Montgomery.
The Barclays have proposed repurchasing around £1 billion of debt from Lloyds. This initiative is backed by anonymous investors from Abu Dhabi. The proposal involves buying back debt for up to £600 million, with potential benefits from the writeback of the debt’s value due to previous write-downs by Lloyds.
Lloyds is expected to proceed with an auction process conducted by Goldman Sachs, slated to begin in the coming months. Regulatory concerns might complicate the acquisition of the Telegraph titles and the Spectator.
A potential bid by Rothermere could attract government scrutiny over media plurality. The involvement of foreign investors in the Barclays’ bid might also raise concerns.
The Barclays are optimistic about convincing Lloyds that their bid won’t require an extended clearance process, which could otherwise extend beyond the next UK general election, potentially affecting the takeover’s outcome. Other potential bidders include hedge fund leader Sir Paul Marshall and Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský.
The Telegraph newspaper group was previously chaired by Aidan Barclay, a nephew of Sir Frederick Barclay, who, along with his brother Sir David Barclay, oversaw the acquisition of The Telegraph in 2004.