Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Barclay Brothers Are Refreshing Change to Eccentric Lord Black

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Barclay Brothers Are Refreshing Change to Eccentric Lord Black

Article excerpt

If, and it is still a considerable if, the Barclay brothers finally manage to get control of The Daily Telegraph it is probably good news for the paper.

In place of the eccentric, high-profile Lord Black (and that's putting it very politely), there will be owners who last talked to the press sometime in the 80s and are serious businessmen.

Sir Frederick and Sir David have no track record of interfering in editorial matters and, rather like the late Lord Thomson, appear to have little interest in such matters.

Yet their interest in newspapers seems to be of a different nature from their involvement over the years in everything from property and shipping to brewing, hotels and retail. They funded The European long after any sane investor would have pulled the plug; they just seemed to like reading the publication as they spent their time as tax exiles in Monaco. They have also given Andrew Neil a lot of rope at The Business long after a cold-eyed businessman would have cut its throat. The ownership of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, meanwhile, seems to have been an even more sentimental purchase because their parents came from Scotland.

It all adds up to many millions 'wasted' on newspapers, even though it would not make much of a dent in their estimated fortune of pounds 650m. This may turn out to be a considerable underestimation given their revelation that gross earnings from their businesses are running at about pounds 3.9bn a year.

The good news is that the brothers have demonstrated a willingness to invest in newspapers and winning control of the Telegraph Group may persuade them to make serious investments in Hollinger International. …

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