Telegraph and Spectator Say Goodbye to Redbird IMI

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The prospect of Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI taking over The Telegraph and Spectator is over. The Jeff Zucker-led fund has officially pulled out of the deal. (Note: I have contributed to both of these publications.) The UK government has passed legislation blocking foreign government ownership of media titles and the bid has been subject to regulatory action.

As Reuters noted, the fund has effectively owned the publications since December so it will have to sell them. A fund spokesperson said:

We have held constructive conversations with the government about ensuring a smooth and orderly sale for both titles.

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said:

Throughout this process I have raised concerns about the potential impact of this deal on free expression and accurate presentation of news, and I took steps to ensure that media freedom was protected while there was an investigation into those concerns.

So, we are back to square one, with the ownership of two of Britain’s leading right-leaning, Conservative-supporting publications up for grabs as we approach a UK General Election.

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