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Barclays finally take the reins at the Telegraph Group

LONDON - A line was drawn under the Hollinger saga today as Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay finally took the reins at The Daily Telegraph following Lord Conrad Black's failure to block the sale.

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Hollinger International said that the purchase price for the Telegraph Group was plus £729.5m in cash, including £64.5m already on the Telegraph balance sheet.

Gordon Paris, Hollinger International's interim chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We are delighted to announce the completion of the sale of the Telegraph Group, which allowed us to meet the objective of our ongoing strategic process -- to maximize value for all of our shareholders."

He added: "The sale price reflects the appreciation of the high quality papers that comprise the Telegraph Group, and the great demand we saw for them in the market. "

The announcement follows the failure of Lord Black's last-ditch legal attempt to block the Telegraph Group sale to the Barclay brothers after a ruling from a Delaware court yesterday.

Since Hollinger International agreed to sell the Telegraph Group to the billionaires, Lord Black and holding company Hollinger Inc asked Judge Leo Strine to give Hollinger International shareholders veto power over the deal. However, Strine rejected Lord Black's arguments.

Lord Black, however, is refusing to give up and Hollinger Inc has said that it will appeal against the judge's decision.

It is unclear whether new appointments will be made at the Daily Telegraph in the near future. Earlier this month, reports suggested that editor Martin Newland would keep his job rather than be axed.

Aidan Barclay, son of Sir David, praised Newland, saying that "the Barclay family view is that Martin Newland has done a good job in difficult circumstances".

Aidan is being tipped for the chairman role at the group, which is currently empty, while speculators claim Andrew Neil, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Scotsman and The Business, is in line for the chief executive role, which is also empty.

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