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RedBird IMI, backed by Abu Dhabi, announced on Friday the opening of bids for the sale of the Telegraph and Spectator, following a government intervention that

halted their acquisition of the right-leaning newspaper group.

"We can confirm that prospective owners are now able to submit their initial bids from today (June 21)," stated a RedBird IMI spokesperson. The process has been extensive, involving discussions with interested parties worldwide, reflecting the strong sustained interest.

In December, RedBird IMI took control of the Telegraph and Spectator magazine by repaying a £600 million ($753 million) debt owed by the Barclay family to Lloyds Bank. However, the acquisition faced regulatory scrutiny and was further complicated in March when the UK government decided to prohibit foreign governments from owning newspapers.

The sale of the titles by RedBird IMI is expected to conclude later this year. Potential bidders include hedge fund owner Paul Marshall, DMGT (owner of the Daily Mail), Belgian group Mediahuis, and National World.

On Wednesday, Telegraph Media Group disclosed a £278 million deficit in its 2023 accounts, attributed to loans extracted by the Barclays, which may not be recovered. This provision led to a loss of £244.6 million for the year, despite increases in subscriptions, revenue, and a 35% rise in adjusted operating profit to £54.2 million.

To safeguard the Telegraph and Spectator from any liabilities linked to the Barclays, they have been transferred to a new holding company.

RedBird IMI, led by former CNN executive Jeff Zucker, is supported by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family and the owner of Manchester City soccer club. Photo by No Swan So Fine, Wikimedia commons.