Lord Rothermere Seeks Backers for Bid to Unite Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph
Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail, is reportedly in talks with potential backers to fulfill his long-held ambition of bringing together the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph under his ownership. This move would solidify his position as one of the most influential figures in British media.
Sources have revealed that Lord Rothermere, who is the chairman of DMGT and its consumer division dmg media, is actively seeking financial investors to support a bid for the Telegraph newspapers. Among the potential backers are funds based in the Middle East.
City insiders have indicated that if the Telegraph titles were to be part of a consortium with the Daily Mail, individual external investors would likely own no more than 20% of the newspapers. Lord Rothermere’s pursuit of this acquisition has been a long-standing ambition, and this is the first formal confirmation of his interest.
Last month, it was reported that Goldman Sachs had been chosen to oversee the auction of the Telegraph titles, which are expected to be valued at around £600 million. The auction is set to take place in the autumn, with potential buyers being sought for the newspapers as well as The Spectator, a current affairs magazine chaired by Andrew Neil.
While Lord Rothermere is said to be open to acquiring The Spectator, his priority is acquiring the Telegraph titles. However, concerns about potential competition issues may arise if DMGT takes over the right-leaning newspapers. Industry analysts believe that these concerns can be overcome.
External financing is likely to be necessary for Lord Rothermere to make a credible offer for the Telegraph titles. The identity of the funds with which he is in talks remains undisclosed at this time. So far, the only other publicly declared bidder for the Telegraph is National World, a regional newspaper publisher.
Telegraph Media Group (TMG) recently published its full-year results, showing a 33% increase in pre-tax profits to approximately £39 million in 2022. The company attributed its earnings growth to a successful digital subscriptions strategy and strong cost management.
The sale of the Telegraph titles will be overseen by a new group of directors, led by Mike McTighe, who chairs Openreach and IG Group. Goldman Sachs’ appointment adds to the list of professional advisers involved in determining the future of this influential newspaper group.
Lloyds, which took control of the Telegraph titles after a lengthy negotiation with the Barclay family, stands to benefit significantly from a sale at or near the £600 million valuation. The bank had been in talks with the Barclays for years regarding refinancing loans made to them by HBOS prior to the 2008 banking crisis.
Other potential bidders for the Telegraph titles include hedge fund tycoon Sir Paul Marshall, who is also a major investor in GB News, and Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky.
Overall, Lord Rothermere’s pursuit of uniting the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph under his ownership marks a significant development in the British media landscape. With talks underway with potential financial backers, the future of these iconic newspapers hangs in the balance.