Barclays Confirm Bid for Britain's Telegraph

09 March 2004

The secretive Barclay brothers will join the race to buy Britain's Daily Telegraph, but have ruled out a fresh bid for its owner Hollinger International [H-Intl]

Telegraph Group -- parent of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph national newspapers -- is currently up for auction, with bids said to have topped £600 million ($1.1 billion; €899m). In a rare interview, Sir David Barclay revealed at the weekend that he and brother Sir Frederick would be taking part.

The duo had previously sought to win control of the UK papers by the back door, agreeing a £260m deal with Lord Conrad Black for holding company Hollinger Inc [H-Inc]. This firm controls H-Intl (and in turn Telegraph Group) via a 35% equity stake that confers 73% voting rights.

But this sale was blocked last month in a Delaware court, the judge ruling that the brothers could bid only for H-Intl or its assets [WAMN: 27-Feb-04]. Aside from its UK operations, the media group owns the Chicago Sun-Times and Jerusalem Post.

After a week of will-they, won't-they speculation, Sir David declared that the brothers "will bid for the Telegraph when it comes to market on its own." But he added: "We will not bid for the whole of Hollinger."

• Separately, H-Inc has appointed Zeifman & Company as its new auditor.

The company has been without an auditor for nearly four months following the resignation of KPMG [WAMN: 24-Dec-03]. However, it must produce audited accounts to avoid defaulting on a bond repayment.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff