UAE Investment Firm Abandons Bid to Purchase the Telegraph

Because changing regulations make the transaction “no longer feasible,” the consortium led by the United Arab Emirates, which had planned a £600 million buyout of the Telegraph group, is pulling out, leading to a new auction of the newspaper business.

Several prominent individuals are anticipated to place bids on the newspaper group after RedBird IMI, a partnership supported by UAE vice-president Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan and the US investment company RedBird Capital Partners, decided to put it back on the market.

In December, RedBird IMI discharged the debts of the Barclay family, which owned the Telegraph newspapers and the Spectator magazine. This included a £600 million loan secured by the publications, which essentially gained possession of the titles.

However, RedBird IMI has acknowledged that it is withdrawing its support for British newspapers due to new laws prohibiting foreign nations or anyone with ties to them from holding such publications. Since the bill was officially introduced last month, the RedBird IMI contract has been seen as doomed to fail.

Concerned about free expression, some Tory MPs and Lords vehemently opposed the proposed RedBird IMI acquisition of the Telegraph, which is generally considered the party’s house newspaper.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) funds 75% of RedBird IMI and has taken heat for allegedly violating press freedom. In response to these worries, the administration drafted the bill that will likely pass into law in the next few weeks.

More than 20 bidders were in the running for the Telegraph auction last year, but RedBird IMI’s planned offer ended the bidding. Bids will likely be intense from several interested parties, including the Daily Mail, General Trust, and GB News’s sponsor and hedge fund founder, Paul Marshall. News UK, which Rupert Murdoch controls, has shown interest in purchasing the Spectator.

Although they do not actively participate in managing the newspaper business, the Barclay family does retain ownership of the titles. Very Group is the remaining retail arm of the once-expansive Barclays business empire, and IMI is a loan to a holding company of this arm. IMI is reportedly thinking of selling Very Group as well.