Telegraph bidder accused of ‘last-minute smoke and mirrors’

Telegraph bidder accused of ‘last-minute smoke and mirrors’

The Abu Dhabi fund pursuing a takeover of The Telegraph has been accused of “last-minute smoke and mirrors” after it revised the deal prompting further delays and uncertainty.

Writing in The Telegraph, the former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the changes were “undoubtedly an attempt to convince the regulators and responsible ministers that their proposed deal is something that it clearly isn’t.”

Sir Iain, who has argued that allowing a foreign state to acquire The Telegraph would be dangerous for democracy, said: “Notwithstanding the last minute smoke and mirrors, the fundamentals remain the same.”

His intervention came after RedBird IMI, which is 75pc funded by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the vice president of the UAE, told officials on Tuesday it had created a new corporate structure under which it intended to own The Telegraph.

It prompted the Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer, to say she was minded to order a further investigation just days before regulators were due to deliver their views on RedBird IMI’s original proposals.

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