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The owner of the Daily Mail has confirmed its interest in acquiring the Telegraph Media Group in the latest potential bidder to show its hand ahead of a formal auction expected to begin next month.
The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), controlled by Lord Rothermere, the great grandson of the newspaper’s founder, joins a growing list to have declared their interest in the rival national newspaper group.
In a statement this weekend, DMGT said: “We have been engaged with many parties over the possible synergies between DMG Media and the Daily Telegraph and have registered our interest with Lloyds but we have no formal plans and there is no consortium.”
The company has previously registered interest in bidding for the group, according to people familiar with the situation, one of the dozens of potential buyers to have done so after Lloyds Banking Group took control from the Barclay family earlier this year.
The DMGT, which owns titles such as the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The I and Metro, has been seen by analysts as a leading bidder in the forthcoming auction. The Telegraph already outsources print advertising sales to DMGT’s advertising arm.
Ian Whittaker, an independent media analyst, said that DMGT seemed to be the most likely buyer for the Telegraph group although the combined groups would have about 35 per cent share of the newspaper advertising market. The Competition and Markets Authority “has shown more concern re ‘forward’ issues such as digital’s influence”, he said, adding that DMGT could point to News UK as a similarly sized entity.
Media analysts have previously warned that the group may not want to buy the business outright given its own debt load and a potential price tag of more than £500mn, which means the group may need to bring in outside investors to create a consortium bid. Sky News first reported that the group could seek outside investors.
Goldman Sachs will run the auction for Lloyds for the group, which includes the Daily Telegraph newspaper as well as the Spectator magazine, which could be sold separately or as a package.
Other potential bidders with a declared interest in the newspaper group include National World, a local newspaper publisher founded by media executive David Montgomery, which last week confirmed its interest in bidding when the auction starts next month.
It said on Thursday that it “will consider participating in a sale process for Telegraph Media Group as and when such a process formally commences”.
Paul Marshall, the hedge fund millionaire, could also join as a potential bidder or as a source of finance for another consortium bid.
Sir William Lewis, the former editor-in-chief of the Telegraph, is seeking funds to table a bid. Daniel Křetínský, the billionaire Czech investor, has also been linked with a bid, as has Rupert Murdoch’s News UK.