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Sale of the Daily Telegraph and Spectator - Tories up in arms

(51 Posts)
Dinahmo Sun 26-Nov-23 17:21:27

The DT, ST and the Spectator are at last about to be sold. They were taken over from the Barclay family by Lloyds Bank in lieu of £1.15 billion of unpaid debts. The bank is now about to auction the titles and one of the main contenders is a consortium backed by Abu Dhabi who are offering to repay the Barclays debts to the bank.

Charles Moore, who edited the papers at various times has
argued that a media purchase of such significance by a Gulf state would be dangerous. “The Telegraph and the Spectator are great British institutions. They should not be controlled by a foreign power,” he wrote. Moore added that the deal would in effect give control to Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, which is very different from the simple sale of a commercial asset to an individual owner.

IDS is also opposed to the sale. "I just think it would be the wrong move,” he told the Observer this weekend. “I would just be very concerned to see one of the papers of record in the UK come under the control of somebody in the Middle East. It just seems bizarre to me. I would expect the secretary of state to call it in to have it properly reviewed. It’s a detrimental step.”

So suddenly the party that is in favour of free markets is opposed to this particular sale.

MaizieD Sun 26-Nov-23 17:28:02

No problem with the sale of the Evening Standard to a former KGB agent, though. hmm

I'm sure that if the Abdu Dhabi ruling family gave generous donations to the tory party it would be fine.

The last I saw, though, the Barclay family were trying to raise the money to buy the titles back.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 26-Nov-23 17:32:51

Hasn’t Abu Dhabi got a bad human rights record? Freedom of speech is an issue there I think.

ronib Sun 26-Nov-23 19:33:42

I don’t see that this sale will give a commercial return for the outlay involved. Can’t imagine that Abu Dhabi investors give money away so wonder what the motivation is behind this deal?

Casdon Sun 26-Nov-23 19:48:01

The Telegraph group is a bit player in the greater scheme of UK news media ownership. Better that it is sold to a bidder that isn’t already trying to get a monopoly in my opinion.
pressgazette.co.uk/media_business/dmgt-daily-mail-telegraph-acquisition-market-share/

Germanshepherdsmum Sun 26-Nov-23 20:10:01

Haven’t the Barclays secured funding from the Middle East to pay off Lloyds?

ronib Sun 26-Nov-23 21:04:06

Danny Kruger reportedly queried the size of the loan with suggestions that neither income from DT nor Spectator could support it. My hunch exactly.

Grantanow Mon 27-Nov-23 09:32:14

I doubt print media will exist in a couple of decades.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 27-Nov-23 09:51:30

So you think online newspapers will cease to exist Grantanow?

ronib Mon 27-Nov-23 13:41:46

GSM online newspapers may not be commercially viable in the long term? So much more information is available from other online sources these days. It will be interesting to see how the media adapts to changing habits.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 27-Nov-23 13:48:42

I suspect more will migrate to subscription only. For me it’s a question of trusting the source of the information, though of course newspapers can and do make mistakes.

ronib Mon 27-Nov-23 14:10:18

Not so sure the younger demographic will go for subscription model? Time will tell.

Vintagewhine Tue 28-Nov-23 08:20:27

ronib

I don’t see that this sale will give a commercial return for the outlay involved. Can’t imagine that Abu Dhabi investors give money away so wonder what the motivation is behind this deal?

Influence!

ronib Tue 28-Nov-23 08:41:31

Vintagewhine the readership of the Telegraph is under 1.5 million a day and the Uk population is 67 million. The demographic of Telegraph readers is older, more affluent, male and social classes ABC apparently. I don’t know why anyone would want to target this group particularly? But then I suffer from thinking a billion pounds is a lot of money when to some, it’s clearly loose change.

Anniel Tue 28-Nov-23 13:06:56

I am an Annual subscriber and have been for many years. These days many of the Columnists seem to be in their 20s to me! I am an old fogey and think the the DT has changed irrevocably and my 62 year old son often carries on st the dinner table about the decline and I agree with him that The Times is now superior to the DT but I cannot bring myself to cancel the Telegraph despite the eye watering amount an annual subscription. Why would Abu Dhabi be interested in taking over the DT?

MaizieD Tue 28-Nov-23 13:35:55

Why would Abu Dhabi be interested in taking over the DT?

Looking for somewhere to put a spare £billion or so?

I don't think that our press should have any foreign or non-dom ownership but, unfortunately, that seems to be where the money is.

ronib Tue 28-Nov-23 15:11:39

Not sure how Abu Dhabi can be prevented from taking over the DT. Precedent shows that Murdoch, Lebedev and others but I am too busy cooking to list own The Sun, The Times and so on. Therefore what grounds could be used to stop sale to Abu Dhabi?

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 28-Nov-23 16:00:46

Aren’t they just providing funding to pay off Lloyds, as opposed to buying? However, that could give them influence. More to it than meets the eye I think.

Vintagewhine Wed 29-Nov-23 08:19:35

ronib

Vintagewhine the readership of the Telegraph is under 1.5 million a day and the Uk population is 67 million. The demographic of Telegraph readers is older, more affluent, male and social classes ABC apparently. I don’t know why anyone would want to target this group particularly? But then I suffer from thinking a billion pounds is a lot of money when to some, it’s clearly loose change.

The Times, Telegraph and Guardian are considered the big three newspapers, only the Telegraph is currently for sale. It's not about making money but since going behind a paywall the Telegraph has increased it's paid subscribers and it's well defined readership is an advantage not a disadvantage.

ronib Wed 29-Nov-23 08:54:44

Vintagewhine why would Abu Dhabi want to influence this demographic if it loans over a billion? I don’t know if the revenue from The Spectator and Telegraph will even cover the monthly interest. Looks like a risky investment .

MaizieD Wed 29-Nov-23 12:23:46

ronib

Vintagewhine why would Abu Dhabi want to influence this demographic if it loans over a billion? I don’t know if the revenue from The Spectator and Telegraph will even cover the monthly interest. Looks like a risky investment .

Don't worry, ronib, there will be something in there somewhere for them even if it's not immediately obvious to us non-wealthy mortals.

Wealth is Power.

ronib Wed 29-Nov-23 12:26:54

MaizieD yes wealth might be power. But I can’t get my head around the fact that I don’t think power resides with Telegraph readers! I shall shut up.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 29-Nov-23 12:28:31

As I said upthread, there’s more than meets the eye. They wouldn’t do it otherwise.

MaizieD Wed 29-Nov-23 14:16:49

ronib

MaizieD yes wealth might be power. But I can’t get my head around the fact that I don’t think power resides with Telegraph readers! I shall shut up.

No, power rests with the people who own the media and control what it prints so as to influence the thinking of the people who read it.

If you don't believe me look at that ridiculous thread about the National Trust 'calendars'.

ronib Wed 29-Nov-23 14:42:59

MaizieD I agree that in the past the media probably did control public perception and opinion to a degree. However the opinions of the elderly DT readers are not so highly respected in the UK I suggest.
With the expansion of higher education over the last 40 years plus a plethora of internet sites touting ‘news’ and opinion, I think mainstream media has less social impact and influence. There’s also the rise of the well paid influencer which has been a puzzle to me.
The Telegraph doesn’t have a large circulation?
By expansion of higher education I imply a rise in critical thinking and not blind acceptance of a newspaper‘a headlines. Everyone must know the inherent bias in media sources by now.