LONDON – The Telegraph Group's new owner is set to be revealed within days as it emerged that frontrunner Daily Mail & General Trust has linked up with CVC Capital Partners, the venture capital firm that owns car repair business Kwik-Fit and Debenhams, in its bid to take over the titles.
This week marks the final phase of the long-running bidding process for the group, which includes The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator, when the investment bank handling the sale Lazard will seek to gain the highest price for the business.
Those still in the running are: Scotsman and The Business owners the Barclay brothers; venture capitalist firm 3i; and Viscount Rothermere's DMGT, which is leading the pack after linking up with CVC to offer a knockout bid of £700m.
The teaming up with CVC, which will have a majority stake if successful, could also help DMGT regarding regulatory hurdles, because the move could still be blocked by the Competition Commission and possibly Ofcom.
It is understood that if the authorities do block DMGT's involvement, CVC is seeking an £50m "insurance policy" from Viscount Rothermere because it would then have to go it alone with the purchase, according to a report in The Times today.
Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt has the power to block deals between media firms on public interest grounds and the government is certain to be uneasy at the prospect of two high-circulation Conservative newspapers under the same roof. The House of Commons culture committee could also get involved.
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