Who Could Buy The Telegraph?

May 1, 2024

Redbird IMI, an investment fund backed by Abu Dhabi, has officially initiated the sale of the Telegraph Media Group (TMG). This decision comes in response to impending UK legislation, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, which aims to prohibit foreign state ownership of UK newspapers.

Redbird IMI, a joint venture between Redbird, led by Jeff Zucker, and International Media Investments, owned by UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, acquired the Telegraph Media Group from the Barclay brothers. However, with the new legislation on the horizon, the venture has opted to divest itself of TMG.

A spokesperson for Redbird IMI expressed regret over the decision, emphasizing the desire to benefit TMG’s readers, journalists, and the wider UK media landscape. The focus now is on ensuring a smooth sale process for both the Telegraph and the Spectator, another publication under TMG’s umbrella.

The sale has reignited interest from previous contenders, including billionaire hedge fund owner Sir Paul Marshall and the publisher National World, among others. Rupert Murdoch’s interest, particularly in The Spectator for strategic expansion in the US market, also remains a possibility.

Redbird IMI stated that offers to purchase the titles, either together or separately, will determine their approach to the sale. Potential bidders may also be monitoring a potential joint venture between Redbird IMI and Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT), the owner of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.

While the government will not directly intervene in the sale process, regulatory authorities may scrutinize any acquisition of UK media assets for compliance with competition and media plurality standards. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer emphasized the importance of protecting media freedom and pledged to monitor the outcome of the sale process closely.