Culture secretary 'minded' to intervene in proposed Telegraph bid
The UK government is "minded" to intervene in the proposed takeover of Telegraph Media Group by the Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI, it emerged on Wednesday.
The Telegraph newspapers and The Spectator magazine have been owned by the Barclay family since 2004. But Lloyds Banking Group took control of the assets earlier this year in a long-running dispute over unpaid debts of more than £1bn.
The auction officially got under way last month, but was temporarily halted on Monday after the Barclays put forward a £1.2bn debt repayment plan backed by RedBird. It is thought RedBird could end up owning the titles through a debt-for-equity swap should the plan meet with Lloyds’ approval.
However, in a letter sent to Lloyds, the Barclay family and Redbird on Wednesday, culture minister Lucy Frazer said she was "minded" to intervene in the deal, as there may be "public interest considerations".
These, she noted, could warrant "further investigation", although she confirmed no final decision had been made.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issues public intervention notices when it is concerned that new investment in media assets could undermine plurality, competition or freedom of speech.
Other groups that are understood to be interested in acquiring the right-leaning titles including Daily Mail owner DMGT and GB News investor Paul Marshall, the hedge fund founder.