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August 23, 2018updated 07 Nov 2023 5:56am

Barclay brothers deny Telegraph up for sale amid reports of interest from Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Telegraph’s owners have insisted there remain “no plans to sell” the newspaper group despite a number of reports suggesting high-profile media figures have expressed an interest in a deal.

Independent and Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev and Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos are among those said to have approached owners David and Frederick Barclay about buying the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

Telegraph Media Group was bought by the Barclay brothers in 2004 for £665m, adding the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and weekly magazine the Spectator to UK parent company Press Acquisitions.

A spokesperson for the Barclay family told Press Gazette today: “There are no plans to sell TMG or any part of it and there never have been.”

The New European’s Mandrake columnist Tim Walker today reported that Lebedev is “finalising a takeover” of the Telegraph alongside Saudi Sultan Muhammed Abuljadayel, who last year acquired a large stake in the Independent.

Walker claimed the pair want to install outgoing Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as editor of the Daily Telegraph, enticing him from his new role as chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers.

Press Gazette has contacted Lebedev’s office for comment.

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This week Private Eye reported that when Bezos approached the Barclays earlier this year with an interest in buying TMG, he was given a price of £700m.

The Telegraph’s revenues fell by £17.5m last year to £285.7m while its pre-tax profits nearly halved to £13.7m.

The Barclays used the same statement issued today to deny reports of a potential sale in 2016, when it was reported that Lebedev and an unassociated consortium had both made offers to buy the newspaper earlier that year, but had been rebuffed.

The reports came hot on the heels of rumours staff feared a sale when a “strategic review” of the business by auditors Deloitte was launched. Instead the review ended in a number of redundancies and a new “smart working” restructure.

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