Culture Secretary orders another probe into proposed UAE-backed Telegraph takeover, raising concerns over ‘accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion’ in British newspapers

  • A decision on the intended takeover will be postponed until at least March 11

The Culture Secretary last night ordered a second investigation into the proposed takeover of the Daily Telegraph by a UAE-backed fund.

Lucy Frazer issued a new Public Interest Intervention Notice, saying it was necessary because of concerns about ‘accurate presentation of news and free expression in newspapers’.

This means that a decision on the proposed takeover will be postponed until at least March 11.

It came after potential buyer RedBird IMI tried to respond to criticism that a foreign government would end up owning the paper, putting freedom of speech at risk, by setting up a UK-based holding company at the last minute.

Despite the restructuring, the ultimate shareholders will remain unchanged, with IMI owned by UAE Vice President Sheikh Mansour.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer last night ordered a second inquiry into the proposed takeover of the Daily Telegraph by a UAE-backed fund

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer last night ordered a second inquiry into the proposed takeover of the Daily Telegraph by a UAE-backed fund

Despite the restructuring, the ultimate shareholders will remain unchanged, with IMI owned by UAE Vice President Sheikh Mansour

Despite the restructuring, the ultimate shareholders will remain unchanged, with IMI owned by UAE Vice President Sheikh Mansour

A RedBird IMI spokesperson said the fund would maintain the editorial independence of the group to 'protect its reputation, credibility and value'

A RedBird IMI spokesperson said the fund would maintain the editorial independence of the group to ‘protect its reputation, credibility and value’

Ms Frazer issued an initial notice in November, triggering an investigation by watchdogs Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority.

But last night she said the last-minute nature of the proposed changes, unveiled this week, required a new notice.

The deadline for the original one was extended from yesterday until the spring, when the CMA and Ofcom must also report back for the new investigation. Ms Frazer will then decide whether to approve the proposed takeover or order a deeper ‘phase two’ investigation.

Telegraph Media Group and parent company Press Acquisitions Limited said yesterday that chief executive Nick Hugh had left the role with immediate effect to be replaced by Anna Jones.

She said: ‘TMG is a profitable and successful business with world-class journalism at its heart and continuing to deliver on this is what will ensure our company continues to thrive.’

A RedBird IMI spokesperson said the fund would maintain the editorial independence of the group to ‘protect its reputation, credibility and value’.