The billionaire owners of the Telegraph newspapers have denied the business is on the brink of being put into administration amid reports that talks with lenders over long-standing debts have broken down.
Lloyds Banking Group is said to be threatening to call in administrators for Press Acquisitions, which is the company controlled by the Barclay family that owns Telegraph Media Group – the parent firm of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph – as it looks to recover loans racked up by the business.
It is reported that the Telegraph newspapers and The Spectator, which is also owned by the Barclay family, could be put up for auction imminently with a £600 million price tag.
The family said that “speculation about the business entering administration is unfounded and irresponsible” and insisted that the loans do not in any way affect the Telegraph Media Group.
It is believed that Lloyds has already lined up restructuring group AlixPartners as the receivers of Press Acquisitions as its patience with the Barclay family over unpaid debts is running out, according to reports.
The banking giant is also said to have hired Lazard to advise on its options and is poised to appoint an investment bank to kick off a sales process of the broadsheet newspapers and media titles if the two sides cannot hammer out a new deal for the loans.
A spokesman for the Barclay family said: “The loans in question are related to the family’s overarching ownership structure of its media assets.
“They do not, in any way, affect the operations or financial stability of Telegraph Media Group.”
The statement added that Telegraph Media Group continues to perform “extremely well” and that the businesses within its portfolio “have no liability for any holding company liabilities, continue to operate as normal and are unaffected by issues in the holding company structure above them”.
Lloyds was not immediately available for comment.
Sir Frederick and his late twin brother Sir David Barclay, who died in 2021, bought the Telegraph newspapers in 2004 for £665 million.
Press Acquisitions is now run by Sir David’s son Aidan, with other interests owned by the family including courier Yodel and online retailer Very.