London’s Telegraph, Spectator close to takeover by Abu Dhabi-backed Jeff Zucker fund Redbird IMI

RedBird IMI has agreed a mortgage bundle with the Barclay household that might let it take management of the Telegraph newspaper and Spectator journal, a prospect that’s sparked concern amongst Conservative lawmakers due to the fund’s ties to Abu Dhabi.

The media funding car, which is a three way partnership between RedBird Capital Companions and the United Arab Emirates-based International Media Investments, mentioned in an announcement Monday that it had agreed to lend the Barclay household £600 million ($750 million), secured towards the politically influential titles. 

“Below the phrases of this settlement, RedBird IMI has an choice to convert the mortgage secured towards the Telegraph and Spectator into fairness, and intends to train this selection at an early alternative,” the funding car mentioned in an announcement.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc seized the Telegraph titles together with the Spectator journal from the Barclay household in June to claw again money owed, eradicating Barclay relations from their director positions and inserting the companies in receivership. The RedBird IMI mortgage will assist the Barclay household to repay the debt owed to Lloyds.

Individually, IMI will lend an extra £600 million secured towards different Barclay household companies and business pursuits. IMI is a non-public funding car for Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in line with a spokesman for RedBird IMI, whose assertion emphasised IMI’s involvement could be passive.

“Following switch of possession, RedBird Capital alone will take over administration and operational accountability for the titles underneath the management of RedBird IMI Chief Govt Jeff Zucker,” the assertion mentioned, referring to the previous president of CNN. “Worldwide Media Investments can be a passive investor solely.”

Nonetheless, RedBird IMI’s assertion will probably heighten concern amongst Conservative lawmakers, who’re pushing the UK authorities to scrutinize the UAE’s involvement. Lawmakers have described any potential affect of the UAE royal household over the Telegraph as “a danger to our nationwide safety,” citing its report on press freedom and place on Israel.

The prospect of international affect on the title has already raised issues amongst senior ministers together with Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, Bloomberg Information reported Saturday.

“Any switch of possession will after all be topic to regulatory overview,” RedBird IMI mentioned in its assertion, which pledged to keep up the present editorial workforce of the publications. “We are going to proceed to cooperate totally with the federal government and the regulator.”

Even earlier than that, UK Tradition Secretary Luzy Frazer may subject a so-called Public Curiosity Intervention Discover. That might launch a research of the deal by British regulators. She may additionally freeze the transaction whereas that occurs, if she chooses. The antitrust watchdog – the CMA – and media regulator Ofcom will report findings on antitrust and media points respectively, to tell Frazer’s closing determination, which may see her clear the deal, block it, or impose circumstances.

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