UK opens investigation into Jeff Zucker’s UAE-backed bid for The Telegraph

UK opens investigation into Jeff Zucker’s UAE-backed bid for The Telegraph

The government’s review of the deal is expected to be concluded by the end of January. The Culture Secretary said the review would include questions about “the need for accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in newspapers”.

In a move that caught rivals off guard, RedBird IMI said it would directly repay the debt of The Telegraph’s owners, who bypassed an open auction for the publications already underway. If Mr. Zucker’s efforts are ultimately blocked by regulators, the auction will resume, giving his competitors a second chance to take control.

Mr. Zucker, 58, was forced to leave CNN last year after failing to disclose his relationship with a colleague. A highly visible media personality for decades, Mr. Zucker became a political lightning rod because of his complex history with former President Donald J. Trump. In 2003, as chairman of NBC, he greenlit Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” making the real estate developer a national sensation. On CNN, Mr. Zucker broadcast hours of unfiltered coverage of Mr. Trump’s early campaign rallies; After Mr. Trump became president, CNN was attacked by conservatives for what they saw as anti-Trump bias.

Britons unfamiliar with Mr. Zucker’s background got a crash course this week in the pages of London newspapers, which chronicled every twist and turn in the Telegraph saga with their characteristic irreverence. The lengthy Telegraph interview was illustrated with a giant photo of Mr. Zucker smiling next to Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, taken during his years at NBC.

If the Telegraph deal goes through, said Mr. Zucker, who is based in Manhattan and enjoys being part of the news business, he is unlikely to handle day-to-day editorial matters. But he would oversee the Telegraph’s financial strategy, including possible expansion into the United States, where Mr. Zucker says he sees a market “for a true center-right media outlet.”

“If you have a brand that has the journalistic integrity of the Telegraph and the energy of the British media, which is really lacking in the United States, I think it’s a good combination,” he told the Telegraph.

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David B.Otero

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