The Barclay family, which owns Telegraph Media Group, has repaid £1.2 billion in bank debt, lender Lloyds said on Monday, paving the way for a possible sale to an Abu Dhabi-backed fund.
The publisher of The Daily Telegraph newspaper has been controlled by twin brothers Frederick and David Barclay for almost two decades, but Lloyds seized control of the debt in June.
“We can confirm that the refund… has now been completed,” the banking giant said in a short statement.
RedBird IMI – a joint venture between US firm RedBird Capital and Abu Dhabi's International Media Investments – struck a deal with the Barclay family earlier this month to repay debt in exchange for control of the company.
However, the UK government last week launched a formal investigation into the proposed sale to the UAE-backed investment firm on public interest grounds.
London-based TMG also publishes other right-wing titles, including The Sunday Telegraph newspaper and The Spectator magazine, all of which have traditionally supported the ruling Conservatives.
Under the agreement, RedBird IMI has the option to convert its loans of approximately £1.2 billion into shares in the media group.
RedBird IMI, which is led by former DailyExpertNews president Jeff Zucker, has indicated it will not attempt to take control of TMG without regulatory approval and will fully cooperate with the investigation.
British Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said last Thursday that her department had now written to the Barclay family and RedBird IMI to inform them that it was issuing a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) in relation to the deal.
The decision triggers a requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority regulator to report to Frazer on jurisdictional and competition issues in the deal.
The plans have raised concerns among some Conservative lawmakers, who have long had a close ideological relationship with the influential Telegraph titles.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)