The Daily, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator newspapers were put up for sale this summer after the previous owners were unable to pay their debts. Now the Abu Dhabi-led Redbird IMI has said it will pay off the debt if the company is allowed to take over the newspapers.
The sale sparked controversy in England. About how the potential ownership could affect news journalism and partly about whether the buyout would start the more affluent Gulf countries investing in media companies in the same way they invest in football clubs.
Redbird Investment Fund is led by American entrepreneur and media executive Jeff Zucker and UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The latter also houses the football club Manchester City.
Sheikh Mansoor is one of the biggest businessmen and investors in the Middle East. He is also the brother of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the ruling president of Abu Dhabi.
– He is a controversial potential buyer, mainly because he has strong ties to the government in Abu Dhabi, says James Savage, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Local.
“may lose their freedom”
Amnesty International has flagged that the purchase will have major consequences for press freedom in Great Britain.
The consortium behind the purchase faced criticism, saying it would compromise the independence of The Telegraph, a conservative newspaper, and ensure the paper does not give voice to the Abu Dhabi regime.
– Many inside and outside the (conservative) Tory party and government do not believe that promise. James Savage says the newspaper is becoming less loyal to the Tory party, but in a larger context it is losing its freedom of the press.
Ask James Savage, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Local, about what a potential purchase means.
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