RedBird IMI withdraws from Telegraph deal, to sell UK newspaper

 Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI announced on Tuesday that it would sell the Telegraph newspaper after abandoning its acquisition plans due to government intervention, which rendered the deal unviable. RedBird IMI gained control of the Telegraph and the Spectator magazine in December by settling a debt owed by the previous owner, the Barclay family, to Lloyds Bank, which included a 600 million pound ($753 million) loan against the titles.

However, the acquisition faced challenges with a regulatory inquiry and was further complicated when the UK government announced restrictions on foreign governments owning newspapers. As a result, RedBird IMI decided to withdraw from the proposed acquisition and proceed with a sale of the assets.

A spokesperson for RedBird IMI stated that they had engaged in constructive discussions with the government to ensure a smooth transition for both titles. The company, led by former CNN executive Jeff Zucker and backed by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, indicated a focus on securing the best price for the Telegraph and the Spectator.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer mentioned that concerns about the deal's impact on free expression and accurate news reporting had been raised, leading to an investigation and subsequent restrictions. However, following RedBird IMI's decision to withdraw, Frazer stated that the company could proceed with an orderly sale of the titles.

Potential buyers for the Telegraph and the Spectator include hedge fund manager Paul Marshall, Daily Mail owner DMGT, and private equity firms, among others.

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