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UAE’s RedBird pulls out of Telegraph acquisition

The Daily Telegraph will remain in British hands after the government blocked foreign governments from owning UK newspapers Reuters/Belinda Jiao
The Daily Telegraph will remain in British hands after the government blocked foreign governments from owning UK newspapers

RedBird IMI, partly owned by Abu Dhabi’s International Media Investments, has backed out of plans to acquire the Telegraph Media Group, after the UK government blocked the deal.

RedBird IMI’s decision comes after the UK crafted legislation blocking foreign governments from owning British newspapers and news magazines.

The company said the deal was “no longer feasible”, Reuters reported, quoting a company spokesperson.

The company last year repaid the debts held by the Telegraph’s owners, the Barclay family, including a £600 million ($753 million) loan, which effectively gave it control of the Telegraph newspaper titles and the Spectator magazine.

The company confirmed that it has held “constructive” discussions with the government on “a smooth and orderly” sale for the titles, in a bid to recoup its investment.

RedBird IMI is backed by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City soccer club. The UAE’s International Media Investments owns The National newspaper, Sky News Arabiya and Al-Ain News. 

Other previous bidders for the newspapers include Sir Paul Marshall, a hedge fund tycoon who owns GB News, DMGT, the owners of Daily Mail, another newspaper, and Rupert Murdoch’s News UK.

In February, RedBird IMI announced it was buying Britain’s largest independent television producer, All3Media, for £1.15 billion, its fifth investment and largest to date.

The previous investments were the scripted production company Media Res, the unscripted production company EverWonder Studios, the children’s entertainment company Hidden Pigeon Company and the digital outlet Front Office Sports.

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