UK to refer UAE-Telegraph deal for in-depth review

London – Britain on Tuesday said it would refer the UAE-led takeover of the Telegraph for a lengthy review, a move that would likely kill the deal because a law banning foreign governments owning newspapers is due to come into force in the coming months.

Media Secretary Lucy Frazer made the decision to refer the acquisition by RedBird IMI to the Competition and Markets Authority after receiving advice from the media regulator Ofcom.

She said Ofcom found that Abu Dhabi’s IMI may have an incentive to influence “the accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph newspapers”.

Separate to the review process, the government is amending legislation to ban foreign states from owning newspapers in response to lawmakers’ concerns about RedBird IMI’s bid to buy the Telegraph.

“The legislation will come into force after Royal Assent, which I suspect will be in about a month or two months,” Frazer earlier told LBC radio. “If the Telegraph case is still live, it will affect it.”