Belgium’s Mediahuis joins race for UK’s Telegraph – sources

By Amy-Jo Crowley and Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – Belgium publisher Mediahuis has expressed interest in buying Britain’s Telegraph, two sources told Reuters, joining other newspaper publishers, media moguls and billionaires competing to buy the right-leaning broadsheet and The Spectator magazine.

The boards of the parent companies behind the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, as well as The Spectator announced the start of a sale process earlier this month.

Goldman Sachs is advising on the sale and has started sending information about the businesses to a double-digit list of interested parties, one of the people said, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Telegraph titles could fetch between 480 million to 600 million pounds, based on a multiple of 8-10 times forecast 2023 core earnings of 60 million pounds, Enders Analysis said last month.

The titles are being sold after Lloyds Banking Group in June seized control of the parent company in a long-running dispute with former owners, the Barclay family, over more than 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) of unpaid debt secured against the businesses.

The two media outlets are being sold separately but some interested parties will be bidding for both, one person said.

Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs, Mediahuis and the Telegraph board declined to comment.

Privately-owned Mediahuis, founded in 2014, has acquired news brands in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany, and owns titles including De Standaard, De Telegraaf, the Irish Independent and the Belfast Telegraph.

It is looking to expand in Britain but it may not proceed with a bid, a second person said.

Gert Ysebaert, chief executive of Mediahuis, told the Financial Times in 2019 that it was interested in buying the Telegraph newspapers if they ever came up for sale.

The Barclays bought Telegraph Media Group in 2004 for 665 million pounds.

Other groups that have confirmed, or have been reported to be interested include Daily Mail owner, Lord Rothermere’s DMGT, National World, Germany’s Axel Springer , hedge fund founder Paul Marshall and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

($1 = 0.8258 pounds)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Sharon Singleton)