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PM leads tributes as Telegraph co-owner Sir David Barclay dies

Written by on 13 January 2021

The prime minister has led tributes to the co-owner of The Daily Telegraph, Sir David Barclay, who has died at the age of 86 after a short illness.

Sir David, with his identical twin Sir Frederick, took ownership of the Telegraph Media Group in 2004 during a business career that took in hotels, shipping and retail.

It gained them a fortune estimated at GBP7bn, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List.

The Daily Telegraph reported his death overnight, though it said that he died on Sunday.

Boris Johnson, whose earlier work included a stint as a reporter at the paper, wrote on Twitter: “Farewell with respect and admiration to Sir David Barclay who rescued a great newspaper, created many thousands of jobs across the UK and who believed passionately in the independence of this country and what it could achieve.”

The paper said the publicity-shy Barclay brothers “operated as one” throughout their business lives.

It quoted a colleague as saying Sir David was distinct from Sir Frederick in that he was “more attuned to taking a risk, and Frederick was generally willing to have a look but would never bet the farm”.

The pair acquired The Daily Telegraph for GBP665m following an auction process after a US court blocked a private deal in 2003 with its then Canadian owner, Conrad Black’s Hollinger Group.