Investment fund RedBird IMI, led by former CNN president Jeff Zucker, has announced its intention to take control of the British Telegraph Media Group (TMG), which owns The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph newspapers and the weekly magazine The Spectator. According to the agreements reached between RedBird IMI and the former owners of TMG – the Barclay family, the investment fund will provide loans to repay TMG’s debts to Lloyds Banking Group in the amount of £1.16 billion. Payment of the debt will allow the Barclay family to remove TMG from external management, under which the company got caught for debt, and RedBird IMI will receive an option to convert the loan into TMG securities. This is reported by BBC.
Telegraph Media Group, founded in 1948, was acquired by billionaire brothers David and Frederick Barclay in 2004. Since then, the publishing company has accumulated significant debts to Lloyds Banking Group, and in June 2023, because of this, representatives of the Barkley family were removed from management at TMG, external management was introduced in the group and the asset was prepared for sale.
The sale auction was opened in October. The owners of the media company Daily Mail and General Trust, the German publishing house Axel Springer and a number of other structures expressed their interest in buying the group. So far, only RedBird IMI has offered specific conditions for the purchase of TMG, and the first stage of applications will end on November 28.
RedBird IMI is a joint venture between the American RedBird Capital and the UAE International Media Investments (IMI). As noted The Guardianif by the beginning of December the Barkley family proves that they can fully pay off their debts to the bank, Lloyds Bank will be obliged to accept this amount.
RedBird IMI says TMG will retain the editorial staff of The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator following the acquisition, as “the editorial independence of these publications is vital to protecting their reputation and credibility.” Meanwhile, as The Guardian’s sources note, the deal involving RedBird IMI will certainly attract the attention of British regulators and has already caused concern among members of parliament, given the participation of the Emirati company in it.