UK ready to intervene in sale of Telegraph to Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird

British media minister Lucy Frazer said on Wednesday she was “willing to” intervene in the proposed debt repayment that could see Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI take ownership of the Daily Telegraph, making shares his concerns.
The sale of Telegraph Media Group and The Spectator magazine was suspended on Monday until December 4, according to reports, to give Lloyds Banking Group time to consider a £1.2 billion debt repayment plan. pounds ($1.50 billion) proposed by the former owners, the Barclay family, supported by Redbird IMI.

Under the plan, RedBird IMI, which is led by former CNN executive Jeff Zucker, could take ownership of the securities through a debt-for-equity swap.

Ms Frazer said she had written to Lloyds, the Barclay family and RedBird – the current and proposed new owners of the Telegraph Media Group – to inform them of the possibility of a public interest intervention notice, a she said in a press release.

“This letter sets out my concerns that there are public interest considerations […] relating to the planned repayment of the loan by the Barclay family and the planned acquisition of Telegraph Media Group by RedBird IMI, and which warrant further examination,” she said.

“It is important to note that I have not made a final decision on intervention at this stage.

The right-wing stocks, which carry political weight in Britain, are being sold off after Lloyds Banking Group took control of the parent company in June following a long dispute with the previous owners, the Barclay family.

Among the groups that have confirmed interest, or been reported as such, are Daily Mail owner DMGT, Belgian publisher Mediahuis National World, hedge fund founder Paul Marshall and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.