Breaking News: RedBird IMI Plans Telegraph Sale After Govt Steps In

Breaking News: RedBird IMI Plans Telegraph Sale After Govt Steps In

The Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI announced on Tuesday its decision to sell the Telegraph after abandoning its plans to acquire the right-leaning newspaper group due to government intervention making the deal ‘no longer feasible.’

RedBird IMI took control of the Telegraph and the Spectator magazine in December by repaying a debt owed by the Barclay family to Lloyds Bank, including a substantial $753 million loan against the titles. However, the acquisition faced challenges as the UK government announced a ban on foreign states owning newspapers, adding another hurdle to the regulatory inquiry the deal was already undergoing.

In a statement, a RedBird IMI spokesperson confirmed the withdrawal from the acquisition of the Telegraph Media Group, emphasizing the intent to proceed with a sale instead. The company expressed having productive discussions with the government to ensure a smooth transition for both titles.

Former CNN executive Jeff Zucker, leading RedBird IMI, is supported by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family and the owner of Manchester City soccer club. The UK government had previously halted RedBird IMI from transferring ownership or changing management and board of the newspaper during the investigation into the deal.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer mentioned that RedBird IMI could now proceed with an orderly sale of the titles after signaling its withdrawal. She highlighted concerns regarding the deal’s potential impact on free expression and accurate news presentation, stressing the need to protect media freedom throughout the investigation.

RedBird IMI expressed its current focus on obtaining the best price for the titles, which have strong ties to the ruling Conservatives. Interested parties in the assets include hedge fund boss Paul Marshall, Daily Mail owner DMGT, and various private equity buyers.

With the future ownership of the Telegraph at a pivotal moment, the sale process will determine the next chapter for this prominent media outlet and its affiliated publications. The implications of this decision extend beyond business transactions, touching on media freedom and the diverse landscape of news dissemination in the UK. Stay tuned for further developments as the fate of the Telegraph unfolds in the hands of potential new owners.

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