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Telegraph Media Group: Public Interest Intervention Notice

Volume 742: debated on Monday 4 December 2023

My Department has written to the Barclay family and RedBird IMI, the current and proposed owners of Telegraph Media Group (TMG), to inform them of my decision to issue a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) in relation to the anticipated acquisition of TMG by Redbird IMI.

This relates to concerns I have that there may be public interest considerations—as set out in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002—that are relevant to the anticipated acquisition of TMG by RedBird IMI and that these concerns warrant further investigation.

At this stage, my decision to issue the PIIN triggers the requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to report to me on jurisdictional and competition matters; and for Ofcom to report to me on the media public interest considerations in section 58(2A) of the Enterprise Act 2002—namely, the need for accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in newspapers. I have asked both the CMA and Ofcom to report back to me by 26 January 2024.

I have also made an order to prevent actions by the parties to the merger that might prejudice the process or impede my ability to protect the public interest during the period in which the intervention notice is in force. It prohibits transfer of the ownership of the business without my prior written consent. It also requires the parties to ensure that steps are not taken to integrate the business with any other enterprise, to take action to ensure that no significant changes are made to the management and oversight of the business, and to do what is within their power to ensure that key editorial staff within the business are not removed or transferred without my prior written consent, or they are at least encouraged to remain.

This order came into force at 10 am on 1 December 2023. It will remain in force until the PIIN ceases to be in force.

I reserve the right to take such further action under the Act as I consider appropriate, which may include exercising my powers under section 42 of the Act in relation to any other relevant merger situation. My decision to issue a PIIN is without prejudice to my ability to take any such additional action in accordance with the Act.

My role as the Secretary of State in this process is quasi-judicial and procedures are in place to ensure that I act independently and follow a process which is scrupulously fair, transparent and impartial.

DCMS will update Parliament after both reports from the regulators have been received and considered.