Barclay Family’s Abu Dhabi supporters plot Very Auction

Barclay’s Gulf-based supporters are plotting to sell the Very Group, which is the last pillar in their corporate empire.

The Abu Dhabi investment company that tried unsuccessfully to buy Barclays media assets last summer is now planning to auction the retailer to pay off a refinancing debt of £1.2 billion owed by the family.

The sale of Very is part of a “second stage” plan that will allow Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan to recover loans secured by Barclays assets.

He teamed with RedBird Capital – an American private equity company – to refinance Barclays’s debt to Lloyds Banking Group. He hoped to convert this debt into equity in order to gain ownership of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Spectator. This deal was effectively blocked by ministers last month, when they drafted legislation that would ban foreign powers from owning British papers.

RedBird IMI is preparing to sell the assets of the Barclay Family. It is believed that media and retail ventures are being sold separately. Sources close to the negotiations stated that separate sales are planned as media operators would not be interested in Very, and “different bidders” will provide the best value. The bidders said that they “could purchase the Telegraph Group and not Very Group”.

In recent years, the Barclay family have been re-evaluating their corporate interests in hotels, retailing and media. They were known in City circles for buying companies with debt. The Barclay family sold the Ritz hotel to a Qatari Investor four years ago , for around £800 million . Since then, they have lost control over the Telegraph Group, which Lloyds seized, and Yodel Logistics, the logistics company that went into administration in Feburary. ArrowXL is another Barclays-owned delivery company that has also gone into administration. The Barclays have been trying to sell Lady Beatrice, which is a 197ft boat named after Beatrice Cecelia Taylor. She was the mother of Sir Frederick Barclay and Sir David Barclay.

Michelle Keegan is the actress from the BBC drama Our Girl. She has her own line with Very

The family has always considered Very a valuable asset, but the future of the company has been in question amid broader speculation regarding the group’s financial health. The German insurer Allianz revoked the retailer’s supplier credit insurance last year. Since then, it has accepted debt funding from Carlyle and IMI. IMI already had £600m secured against Very Group through its refinancing Barclays’s debts to Lloyds.

Carlyle, IMI and Very were all given seats in the board of directors as part of the £125million deal. Dirk van den Berghe left his position as chairman after only two years. Nadhim Zhawi was suggested as an alternative candidate to Van den Berghe. He served as a mediator between IMI, Barclays and the Telegraph deal.

Sources close to Barclays have said that any sale in the future would require cooperation between multiple stakeholders, and that all parties are working toward a “good” return on investment made by Abu Dhabi.