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Lloyds to give culture secretary notice of £1.2bn Telegraph loan repayment - report

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 29 Nov 2023

(Sharecast News) - Ministers will reportedly be given notice on Wednesday that the Barclay family is ready to repay a £1.16bn loan to Lloyds Banking Group, paving the way for a public interest probe into the future ownership of The Daily Telegraph.
According to Sky News, Lloyds, the Barclays and RedBird IMI, the Abu Dhabi-backed vehicle which is funding the loan repayment, will write to culture secretary Lucy Frazer to give her 48 hours' notice of the redemption.

Sources told Sky that the notice - which had been demanded by Frazer last week - would see the funds being transferred to Lloyds as early as Friday, or at the start of next week.

That would trigger the dissolution of a court hearing in the British Virgin Islands to liquidate a Barclay family company tied to the newspaper's ownership, and temporarily put the Barclays back in control of their shares in the broadsheet title.

It would also necessitate the removal of AlixPartners as receiver to some of the companies in the Telegraph's corporate structure.

However, the family is unlikely to be able to exert any influence over the Telegraph or Spectator magazine because, as Sky revealed on Tuesday, the government is considering issuing a hold-separate notice which would ring-fence the media assets from their legal owners.

RedBird IMI plans to take control of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph by converting a £600m chunk of its loan to the Barclays into equity.

That conversion will, however, be the subject of a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) which is expected to be issued by the culture secretary before the end of the week.

The PIIN will trigger an inquiry by Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority which could last for months.

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