Abu Dhabi-backed group ends plans to buy Telegraph newspaper | Media News

The move comes after Britain announced in the media that it would introduce legislation to block such state-backed takeover deals.

The group supporting Abu Dhabi, which plans to buy Britain’s Telegraph Media Group (TMG), has announced it is pulling out after the British government moved to block the deal.

Redbird IMI, a joint venture between US firm Redbird Capital and Abu Dhabi’s International Media Investments, signed a 1.2 billion pound ($1.5 billion) deal with TMG’s former owners, the Berkeley family, in November. is.

The deal faces opposition over the potential impact on free speech given Abu Dhabi’s press freedom record, but Redbird IMI will repay bank debt in exchange for control of the media group. Became.

But last month, the UK government announced it would introduce legislation to block such state-backed takeover deals in the industry, and Culture Secretary Lucy Fraser was considering a full regulatory inquiry.

Citing regulatory hurdles, Redbird IMI appears to have abandoned its efforts to own and control TMG, which now includes The Spectator magazine.

“Redbird IMI today confirmed that it has withdrawn its planned acquisition of Telegraph Media Group and intends to proceed with the sale,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We continue to believe that this approach has benefited Telegraph and Spectator readers, journalists and the UK media landscape more broadly.

“Unfortunately, it is clear that this approach is no longer viable.”

RedBird IMI said it now plans to bring certainty to its employees and the publication’s readers by seeking a new owner for the title.

The company said these titles “remain highly attractive” to potential suitors and could be sold individually or as a package.

“Cornerstone”

Mr Fraser said he acted “to ensure freedom of the press is protected while investigations into these concerns are carried out”.

“I will now allow the parties to make an orderly transition and monitor the outcome with a view to taking further regulatory action if necessary,” she added.

“Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of our democracy and we cannot take it for granted.”

Mr Fraser said the government would continue to intervene “where necessary to protect the integrity and independence of these publications given the unique role they play in our democracy”.

RedBird IMI’s original ownership plan caused an uproar in some British media circles, including some members of the ruling Conservative Party.

It has long enjoyed a close ideological relationship with the right-wing Telegraph magazine.

The Spectator, edited by former Conservative prime minister and Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson, is widely considered to be the Tory bible.

Redbird IMI is majority-owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and owner of Manchester City Football Club. It is run by former CNN president Jeff Zucker.

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