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Government to probe Man City owner’s backing of Telegraph bid - report

Published Nov 30, 2023 14:04 Updated Nov 30, 2023 14:40
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Government to probe Man City owner’s backing of Telegraph bid - report
 
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Proactive Investors - A UK competition authority probe into the takeover of The Daily Telegraph by a Abu Dhabi-based fund could be announced as early as today, according to media reports.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer will announce the move due to the prospect of the outstanding loan that triggered the whole process in the first place being repaid to Lloyds Bank imminently., according to Sky News.

Frazer intends to issue a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) to trigger a regulatory inquiry into Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI (LON:IMI)'s prospective ownership of the newspaper, said the report.

The Telegraph Media Group was taken over by Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) earlier this year after the Barclay family, which had owned it for two decades, failed to repay debts exceeding £1.1 billion.

Following the takeover, Lloyds initiated an auction to sell the business, which includes the Tory government-supporting Telegraph plus the Spectator magazine.

RedBird IMI entered the picture by agreeing to provide funding to the Barclay family to repay the loans in full and then take control of the media group.

Financing for Redbird IMI is coming from a fund part-owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Premier League champions Manchester City, raising foreign influence issues.

Lloyds has reportedly already written to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to say that the Barclay family will pay back the outstanding loan in the coming days.

Guarantees will be put in place to keep TMG independent while the PIIN process works though, said the report.

Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker is fronting the Redbird IMI takeover and has accused potential rival bidders for TMG of using smear tactics against his backers.

Other parties to have expressed an interest in TMG include GB News shareholder and hedge fund billionaire Paul Marshall, Daily Mail proprietor Lord Rothermere and National World, a London-listed local newspaper publisher.

Lloyds had planned to run an action for the Telegraph to recoup the money it lent to the group, but if Redbird IMI pays off the debt this will be scrapped.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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Government to probe Man City owner’s backing of Telegraph bid - report
 

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