Barclay Junior Gets Top Telegraph Job -- If Sale Survives!

28 June 2004

With Dad (Sir David )and Uncle (Sir Frederick) set to own 100% of Telegraph Group shares between them, who can stop Aidan Barclay from occupying the newspaper group's chair?

None but intrepid SuperLord Conrad Black.

The Telegraph's erstwhile owner, who swapped his Canadian nationality to accept a fusty British peerage, said Friday he had been approached by an unnamed "investment management firm" interested in bidding for all of Hollinger International's [H-Intl properties -- including the Telegraph assets.

Those in the know say the firm in question is US hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management, which has already been referred to Lazard, Hollinger International's banking advisor -- with whom, according to a filing made by Lord Black with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the interested party has already held "some preliminary discussions".

A Black mouthpiece urged that H-Intl consider this new bid despite its 'in principle' agreement with the Barclays. "This deal would be an offer for the whole of Hollinger International, not just the Telegraph. This could be a more attractive bid. It is on the table."

Meantime, a spokesman for the Barclays gushed: "They are absolutely delighted to have acquired a wonderful British institution, with a great history, and one that occupies a special place in British public life. Now they look forward with the management to running it."

Added the acolyte: "Sir David and Sir Frederick like to treat newspapers as a proper business, not as a vanity business. They prefer to let their editors get on with it rather than tinkering every day of the week."

Which is seen as a coded reference to the chaining of the twins' Doberman, quondam Sunday Times editor Andrew Neill. Cue relief and rejoicing within the Telegraph bunker.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff