Thursday 28 November 2019 3:00 pm

Belgian media group Mediahuis ‘interested’ in Telegraph titles

Belgian media group Mediahuis is said to be interested in a potential purchase of the Telegraph newspapers, which have been put up for sale by the billionaire Barclay brothers.

Chief executive Gert Ysebart said that while no formal discussions have taken place, his company is looking for acquisitions.

Read more: Ex-Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon considers Daily Telegraph purchase

“If they Telegraph is for sale, they should give me a call,” he said at a Financial Times conference earlier this week.

Mediahuis controls a string of print, TV and radio brands in Belgium and the Netherlands, and earlier this year bought Irish news brand Independent News & Media for €145.6m (£124m).

Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, who bought the Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph titles for £665m in 2004, are said to be eyeing a sale as part of a wider break-up of their empire.

Daily Mail parent company Daily Mail and General Trust has been slated as a potential suitor, while Fleet Street veteran David Montgomery has also expressed interest through his newly-created takeover vehicle National World.

However, one industry source cast doubt over these bidders, saying the Telegraph titles were more likely to be viewed as trophy assets for a tycoon such as Jeff Bezos, who already owns the Washington Post.

Telegraph Media Group last month posted a 90 per cent drop in pre-tax profit, which it blamed in part on a “structural decline” in print revenue.

Analysts at Liberum have suggested a possible purchase price of between £200m and £300m, a huge writedown in value since the Barclay brothers’ takeover.

Read more: Media veteran David Montgomery weighing up Telegraph bid

Nevertheless, Mediahuis has emerged as one of the fastest media groups in Europe after a spate of acquisitions, and last year pulled in revenue of €819m. 

The Belgian firm is also said to be circling publisher JPI Media, which has put its stable of regional titles up for sale.