- Lloyds took control of Telegraph Media Group and The Spectator in June
- Former owners Sir David and Frederick Barclay acquired TMG for £665m in 2004.
The sale process to acquire the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator has formally begun.
Lloyds Banking Group took control of Telegraph Media Group and the magazine from the Barclay family in June after talks between the parties over outstanding debts totaling more than £1 billion collapsed.
It appointed restructuring consultancy AlixPartners as receiver of Bermuda-based B.UK, the publications’ holding company, to prepare for the sale of assets and help reduce the heavy debt pile.
Takeover: Lloyds Banking Group took control of Telegraph Media Group and The Spectator magazine from the Barclay family in June
Since then, speculation has intensified over who would pounce on three of Britain’s most prominent conservative media outlets.
Daily Mail and General Trust, the parent group of This is Money, MailOnline and Daily Mail, are among those to have declared interest.
Other potential contenders include local newspaper publisher National World, GB News backer Sir Paul Marshall and German media giant Axel Springer, while Rupert Murdoch’s News UK has been named a possible suitor for The Spectator.
However, Sky News reported on Monday that the Barclay family was seeking to circumvent the sale process with a £1bn bid for the Daily Telegraph from Abu Dhabi investors.
He claimed that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and owner of Manchester City Football Club, was among those involved in the talks.
But Lloyds still intends to sell the paper through a formal process overseen by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs and has doubts about Barclays’ funding source.
Now that the auction has begun, potential bidders will be able to access TMG’s financial and operating statements in greater detail.
Analysts predict the two Telegraph titles could be bought for between £452m and £586m, while Spectator, the world’s oldest weekly magazine, could fetch a price of up to £70m.
Brothers Sir David, who died in January 2021, and Frederick Barclay acquired TMG for £665m in 2004 from Hollinger, whose chairman was the controversial newspaper magnate Conrad Black.
The couple, once the UK’s richest family in publishing and advertising, who had a notoriously bitter feud, also owned London’s Ritz Hotel, retailer Littlewoods and delivery group Yodel.
His ownership of the Telegraph coincided with the continuing long-term decline in print circulation and advertising affecting the British newspaper industry.