Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel hedge fund, has joined a consortium of investors led by Sir Paul Marshall to prepare a bid for the Telegraph Group, according to people familiar with the situation.
Mr Marshall, co-founder of London-based hedge fund Marshall Wace, is gearing up to bid for the UK news company through his UnHerd Ventures media group ahead of an auction that is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
Mr Griffin is one of the world’s richest men, with Citadel last year becoming the most successful hedge fund manager ever. He began trading convertible bonds as an undergraduate at Harvard University in the 1980s, laying the foundations for the launch of his Citadel hedge fund in 1990.
He later formed Citadel Securities, which has grown into the world’s largest algorithmic “market-maker”'. A proponent of free speech and advancing the “American dream”, Mr Griffin has provided more than $2 billion to philanthropic efforts. He is also a big donor to the Republican party.
Mr Griffin’s involvement in the Telegraph Group bid is in a personal capacity and not linked to Citadel, one of the people said. It would mark the first time he has personally invested in media. Spokespeople for Mr Griffin and Mr Marshall declined to comment on Griffin’s involvement, which was first reported by The Telegraph.
Mr Marshall is working with Moelis investment bank on the bid. He is pulling it together with advice from Paul Zwillenberg, a former executive at Daily Mail owner DMGT, said two people familiar with the situation. Marshall is also co-owner of the right-leaning TV channel GB News.
Lloyds seized control of the Telegraph at the start of the summer from the Barclay family, which owed more than £1 billion to the bank. Lloyds has appointed Goldman Sachs to oversee the sale. Lazard is also advising the bank. AlixPartners has been appointed as receivers for the business.
The bank has been preparing the media group for sale over the past few months, with the Telegraph and Spectator magazine expected to be disposed of in separate auctions.
The Barclay family is still trying to secure its own investment from the Middle East to help buy back the newspaper group, which could fetch more than £500 million in the auction.
Other potential bidders include DMGT, which is also lining up external financial partners for its bid; the former Telegraph editor Sir William Lewis; and Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský.
News UK, the Murdoch newspaper group, has also registered an interest in the sale, with those close to the group saying Rupert Murdoch would be most interested in the Spectator magazine.
Any bids will probably be scrutinised by regulators on competition grounds and to ensure that no single political media group is dominant. The sale of a newspaper with such importance for the Conservative party will also be closely watched in Whitehall. - Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023