Tuesday, 18 June 2024
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EuropeWorld

UK outlaws foreign ownership of media outlets

  • The Daily Telegraph and Spectator are about to be taken up by RedBird IMI.
  • The Secretary of State will be obligated to block any merger that results in foreign state ownership or control.
  • RedBird IMI has made six investments in the US and the UK.

The Daily Telegraph and Spectator are about to be taken up by RedBird IMI, an investment firm sponsored by the United Arab Emirates. This has caused the UK government to declare a prohibition on foreign governments holding British newspapers and news magazines.

This proposed restriction would “deliver additional protections for a free press” and would be included in the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill amendment.

British Newspapers

The new law, according to Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, will “rule out mergers involving ownership, influence or control by foreign states in the context of newspapers and periodical news magazines.” Labour has indicated its support for the change, as the administration is under pressure from all sides to handle the matter.

The Secretary of State will be obligated to block or undo any merger that results in foreign state ownership, influence, or control. The proposed ban will refer planned media mergers involving foreign states to the Competition and Markets Authority for inquiry.

The action is being taken as RedBird IMI keeps up its attempts to seize ownership of Spectator magazine, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspaper publications.

RedBird IMI has made six investments in the US and the UK and thinks there is still room for improvement in the UK media landscape. But it appears that the company’s attempt to acquire the newspapers will not succeed, and Lord Moore of Etchingham, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, said that a rule of that kind ought to have been in place from the beginning to give clarity on proposed takeovers.

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