Badenoch Splits with Braverman on Immigration

Following Suella Braverman’s conference speech where she warned of a “hurricane” of migration, bookies’ favourite Kemi Badenoch fired back last night at a conference event hosted by The Spectator:

“We live in a multiracial society…But we have to be very careful about how we explain and express immigration policies, so that people aren’t getting echoes of things that were less palatable.”

Kemi isn’t the first senior Tory to distance themselves from Braverman’s words. Ideal for Suella, who will not mind a difference of emphasis emerging on the matter…


mdi-timer 4 October 2023 @ 08:33 4 Oct 2023 @ 08:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Woke Defunding of Right-of-Centre Media is Organised to Hoodwink Advertisers

Some 46 Conservative parliamentarians have called on the Prime Minister to intervene against the ongoing advertiser “boycott” of media outlets. This is a subject dear to Guido’s heart and wallet. There is a concerted campaign by some smart people on the left to defund right-of-centre media. It first of all requires the delegitimisation of right-of-centre publications (and now broadcasters). This is why you hear the like of Owen Jones repeatedly describing the Spectator and Guido as “far right”. They cherry pick a provocative article, or below the line comment, or the late night ramblings of one presenter to paint the overall output as unacceptable and, crucially, dangerous for the brands of advertisers. They also try to frame the content as “disinformation”.

It works; Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic and the Conservative Woman website are defunded of advertising. Google, which dominates automated programmatic advertising, has effectively blacklisted their content – primarily for airing dissident views over Covid measures. Whatever your view of their content, this is unhealthy for democracy. During the pandemic, Guido’s YouTube account was locked by the algorithm when we featured content from Nadhim Zahawi – who was at the time the vaccines minister. Ditto when we featured an interview with Donald Trump by Nigel Farage where Trump disputed the presidential election outcome. Twitter deplatformed the New York Post during that same presidential election for breaking the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. It was alleged – falsely – that it was a Russian intelligence operation. Hunter is now facing related charges evidenced by content found on the laptop. It can’t be good for democracy to have tech platforms censoring content in response to political pressure. Read More

mdi-timer 21 August 2023 @ 15:17 21 Aug 2023 @ 15:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Profits Up, Sales Up, Price Could Be Up to £70 Million for The Spectator

The Spectator’s latest company accounts are due shortly, meantime the accounts filed last year may give us a clue as to what price the magazine might command in the auction currently underway. These accounts are for the year ending December 2021 (not last year). The highlights were:

  • Turnover up 24% to £20.3 million
  • Profits £2.9 million
  • Average print sales 112,000
  • Average online monthly unique users 2,928,000

Healthy figures all rising in double-digit percentages. There was a 5% fall in news stand sales blamed on the pandemic, which was more than made up for by increased subscriptions. Guido has no reason to believe that this year’s figures would be much different. In fact, the return of a thriving events business should boost profits.

A note to the accounts caught Guido’s eye: the incorporation of “The Spectator (1828) Inc.” to aid the title’s US expansion. Guido understands that the US operation is loss-making, and that if a buyer was to spin off or more ruthlessly shut down the US effort, profits would be more like £4 million. This suggests that the widely touted £50 million price tag on the magazine might be an underestimate. Giving the venerable magazine with a growing and already substantial digital presence a profits multiple in the mid-teens doesn’t seem unreasonable. Add on a trophy brand premium and it could be worth in excess of £70 million. Something for Rupert Murdoch to mull over…

mdi-timer 29 June 2023 @ 13:07 29 Jun 2023 @ 13:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Murdoch Wants to Buy the Spectator

Rupert Murdoch is reportedly eyeing a bid for The Spectator, now that the coveted title is on the market after Lloyds seized control of the Barclay family’s shares last week. According to a Bloomberg report which Guido has confirmed, Rupert is in London for meetings with senior News UK management, and is keen to add the Speccie to his roster after previously making a £50 million offer around two years ago. He’s wanted it for decades. Next week is a convenient time for him to be in town…

However, there are rumours the Telegraph and the Spectator will be auctioned as a package to sweeten the deal. If that happens, Murdoch’s odds would be much lower. Lloyds said to be asking for around £600 million – much of that in ‘trophy’ value – and the anti-trust nightmare that would come from owning practically every profitable national title apart from the Mail would make it less likely. Guido doubts TMG will go for £600 million if anyone has any commercial sense. If the Spectator is offered separately, Murdoch will open his wallet right away… 

Speculation that DMGT will want to bid is widespread; they handle the Telegraph’s outsourced printing and advertising sales already. The minor monopoly problem of the Mail stable controlling over half the newspaper market could be solved by ridding themselves – one way or another – of the struggling Metro titles and flogging the i newspaper to someone like Mike Danson, the billionaire owner of the New Statesman. It would give him more heft and influence over a Starmer government…

Paul Marshall is another a potential buyer. He’s told allies he’s interested, and bringing UnHerd, GB News and The Spectator under his umbrella would make sense for him. UnHerd’s office is about two doors down from The Spectator’s on Old Queen Street. His spokesperson cryptically tells Bloomberg “it is too early to say anything meaningful and he is merely watching the situation from afar along with everybody else.”

mdi-timer 14 June 2023 @ 10:49 14 Jun 2023 @ 10:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Barclay Family Make Last-Ditch Bid to Keep Control of Telegraph

The Barclay family aren’t going down without a fight. According to Mark Kleinman, they’ve tabled an offer to Lloyds to write off a portion of their colossal £1 billion debt and retain control of the Telegraph and Spectator’s holding companies. Apparently Lloyds aren’t having any of it, and are rejecting the bid…

A spokesperson for the family said talks “remain ongoing” and they “hope to come to an agreement that will satisfy all parties“. The Barclays’ holding companies are already in receivership and Lloyds are reportedly determined to sell them off for a hefty price tag of around £600 million, which seems ambitious to Guido. Even if they get that, they’d still be owed £400 million by the Barclay family… 

mdi-timer 8 June 2023 @ 12:52 8 Jun 2023 @ 12:52 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Telegraph Foreclosure: Bidders & Buyers

If the Telegraph goes to an open auction, there are likely to be trade bidders who will be focused on the profit and loss account and not over-bidding like the Barclays did. They will sweat the asset.

There will also be other bidders who will view it as a prestige trophy asset giving them influence over public life and politics. Who can afford to pay the price?

Some names in the frame for forming a syndicate include billionaires Peter Hargreaves, Peter Cruddas and Paul Marshall. Arron Banks might be tempted back into the fray in a syndicate. Maybe Narayana Murthy might fancy diversifying out of information technology into media and making the paper’s editorial line more sympathetic to his son-in-law? A look down the list of big Tory donors might give a clue as to potential members of a syndicate…

The Spectator could be spun out from the Telegraph – it makes solid profits (circa £2 million), and could function as a stand alone asset. A management buyout, perhaps with external financial backers, could be a possibility. Lord Ashcroft was rumoured to have contemplated offering £20 million for the magazine some years ago,  Guido suspects it will go for more like double that to a trophy buyer…

mdi-timer 7 June 2023 @ 12:27 7 Jun 2023 @ 12:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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