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Telegraph titles for sale again as Government blocks UAE deal

Published 30/04/2024, 12:50
Telegraph titles for sale again as Government blocks UAE deal
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Proactive Investors - Tory flagwaver The Daily Telegraph is back up for sale after the government blocked its purchase by a consortium backed by teh state-owned UAE investment group that owns Manchester City.

RedBird IMI (LON:IMI), the consortium, said it was looking for buyers for both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and Spectator magazine (collectively TMG) stating that their ownership was "no longer feasible".

In December, Redbird IMI agreed to buy TMG from the Barclay family after a complex chain of events that at one point had seen TMG owned by Lloyds (LON:LLOY) Bank following a loan default.

The takeover sparked an outcry from Conservative supporters over foreign influence and an immediate inquiry from the Competition and Markets Authority, a probe ultimately that prompted the government to amend the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill.

In a statement, the consortium said: "RedBird IMI has today confirmed that it intends to withdraw from its proposed acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group and proceed with a sale.

"We continue to believe this approach would have benefited the Telegraph and Spectator's readers, their journalists and the UK media landscape more widely.

"Regrettably, it is clear this approach is no longer feasible."

To keep the deal alive, the consortium reportedly offered to sell the Spectator and one of the Telegraph titles, but to no avail.

Interest is likely to be strong with Daily Mail proprietor Lord Rothermere and the GB News shareholder and hedge fund titan Paul Marshall, both stating they are keen.

Lucy Frazer, Cultue Secretary, said: "Throughout this process I have raised concerns about the potential impact of this deal on free expression and accurate presentation of news, and I took steps to ensure that media freedom was protected while there was an investigation into those concerns.

"I will now allow the parties to conduct an orderly transition and I will monitor the outcome with a view to taking any further regulatory action as required under the Enterprise Act.

"The free press is a cornerstone of our democracy and we cannot take it for granted. That is why I used my powers as Culture Secretary to investigate this deal.

"More widely, it is why we are banning any ownership, influence or control by foreign states of our newspapers and news magazines.”

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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