New deadline is March

Culture secretary makes second intervention in Telegraph sale

Change in corporate structure came at late stage

The sale saga surrounding the Telegraph Media Group and The Spectator magazine is set to drag on until March after changes in the buyer’s corporate structure caused the culture secretary to issue a further intervention.

Last week Lucy Frazer, secretary of state for Culture, Media & Sport, issued a written statement that said changes to the corporate structure of the potential acquiring entities had created a new “Relevant Merger Situation”.

“I have noted the very late stage in the process at which information about this new corporate structure has been shared and implemented,” she stated.

“I do not consider this is conducive to the full and proper functioning of the process. I expect the Parties to ensure that all the relevant authorities have timely access to all relevant information, and in sufficient detail, in order that they, and subsequently I as Secretary of State, can make our determinations.”

RedBird IMI now plans to used RB Investco Ltd, which was incorporated in July 2023, as its acquisition vehicle for the deal.

The acquisition is backed by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ‘Sheikh Mansour’, whose investments include Manchester City football club.

Sheikh Mansour is also the shareholder of the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, owner of The National, Abu Dhabi’s English-language daily newspaper, and also of Sky News Arabia.

Previously, Frazer had asked the CMA and Ofcom to report back to her by Friday 26 January regarding RedBird IMI’s original takeover plans.

On Friday she issued a second Intervention Notice based on the new deal setup.

Frazer has given Ofcom and the CMA a deadline of 9am on 11 March to report back with their findings.

Journalists Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson, respectively chairman and editor of the Telegraph’s sister magazine The Spectator, have both spoken out over the past week against foreign governments owning British newspapers.

Separately, Telegraph Media Group CEO Nick Hugh stepped down last week. He has been replaced by the media group’s first female CEO, former Hearst CEO Anna Jones.

The Telegraph reported on her appointment with the headline ‘Telegraph appoints first female chief to navigate UAE takeover bid’.

The future ownership of the Telegraph and Spectator has been in question for more than seven months, since Lloyds Banking Group took control of offshore parent company B.UK Ltd following a long-running dispute with the Barclay family over unpaid loans.