RedBird IMI publicizes interest in Telegraph
Jeff Zucker's RedBird IMI has shared its plan to acquire the Telegraph newspaper and Spectator magazine.
Why it matters: A deal could set a regulatory precedent as it involves a U.S. firm, funded by Abu Dhabi money, buying U.K. publications.
The latest: The boards of the Telegraph Media Group and the Spectator announced Tuesday morning that the sale processes are paused until after a court hearing scheduled for Dec. 4.
Of note: RedBird IMI is a joint venture between investment firm RedBird Capital and International Media Investments, an Abu Dhabi-based investment company. Zucker is RedBird IMI's CEO.
Details: Under terms of the agreement, RedBird IMI will provide a package of loans to the Barclay family that owns the publications, including a £600 million loan against the Telegraph and Spectator, which it plans to convert into equity.
- IMI alone will also provide a similarly sized loan secured against other Barclay family businesses and commercial interests, RedBird IMI said in a statement.
- RedBird Capital will manage the titles, while IMI will be a passive investor only, according to a RedBird IMI spokesperson, who added that acquirers would be "entirely committed" to maintaining the existing editorial team and its editorial independence.
- Press Gazette first reported the details.
- Other reported bidders for the publications include Rupert Murdoch, The Daily Mail owner DMGT, GB News investor Sir Paul Marshall, UnHerd Ventures and German media group Axel Springer.
What they're saying: A group of Conservative lawmakers raised concerns over the potential deal's foreign influence in a recent letter to deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden, business secretary Kemi Badenoch and culture secretary Lucy Frazer, according to The Guardian.
- "Material influence over a quality national newspaper being passed to a foreign ruler at any time should raise concerns, but given the current geopolitical context, such a deal must be investigated," the lawmakers wrote.