A new group of hedge funders are joining forces in a bid for the UK’s Telegraph Group.
Citadel founder Ken Griffin has joined a group of investors led by Sir Paul Marshall, co-founder of the London-based hedge fund Marshall Wace, to put together a bid for the conservative-leaning publication, The Telegraph reported.
An auction for the publications is expected to begin in the coming weeks. Lender Lloyds Banking Group took control of the publication in June amid a dispute over loans of about $1.7 billion taken out by the company’s prior owners, the Barclay family, The Telegraph said.
The Barclay family offered to buy back the Telegraph and The Spectator magazine, also seized by Lloyds, the report said. Their roughly $775 million bid was rejected. The Spectator is expected to be sold off in a separate auction, according to The Financial Times.
Analysts expect the auction to bring in between $520 million and $650 million.
The reports said the discussions between Griffin and Marshall are not finalized and may not lead to a partnership. Marshall declined to comment for the report.
Griffin, 54, is worth roughly $35.4 billion, according to Forbes, which had him at No. 35 on its 2023 Billionaires list, making him the world’s richest hedge fund manager. He launched the Miami-based Citadel in 1990, but reports said the fund would not be behind any Telegraph buy-in, with the cash instead coming from Griffin himself.
Lloyds aims to complete the sale quickly, before campaigning begins for next year’s General Election in the U.K., the Telegraph reported. But analysts warned that a bid from a rival publisher could trigger a competition investigation that could take more than a year to complete.
Lloyds may also seek to limit the amount of money coming from potentially controversial investors in any bid, like the Gulf money backing the Barclay’s efforts, the report said.
Griffin has no media holdings, and any bid for the Telegraph would be the first time he’s personally invested in the industry, The FT reported.
He does have a history of activity in American politics on both sides of the aisle, though he has moved to the right in recent years.
In 2018, the one-time backer of Barack Obama donated more than $18 million to a variety of Republican and right-leaning political action committees, according to OpenSecrets.org. That made him the seventh most active donor overall in the US that year.
Griffin’s philanthropic foundation, which largely focused on education and health care issues, was active in a number of efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, including funding free high-speed internet access for students in Chicago and Miami when schools went remote. He also helped fund the effort to develop vaccine.
“I care deeply about individual rights and freedom, economic policies that encourage prosperity and upward mobility, all children having access to a high-quality education, ensuring our communities are safe, and a strong national defense,” Griffin said last week, the Telegraph reported.
The hedge funder is depicted in the meme-stock movie “Dumb Money,” with Citadel profiting as a market maker during the craze.
Marhsall is working with a former executive from Daily Mail owner DMGT on the bid, the FT reported. He is already the owner of the right-leaning TV channel GB News.
Other potential bidders include DMGT, former Telegraph editor Sir William Lewis and Czech billionaire DamilY Kertinsky, and News UK, the Murdoch newspaper group, though the FT reported that Murdoch would be most interested in Spectator magazine.