Daily Telegraph co-owner David Barclay dead at 86

Multi-millionaires David Barclay (left) and his twin brother Frederick. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

David Barclay, the joint-owner of British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, has died after a short illness aged 86.

Along with his identical twin Frederick, Barclay built a vast business empire which began with hotels and expanded to include shipping, retailing, and, since 2004, ownership of the Telegraph Media Group.

The paper said the Barclay brothers had “operated as one” throughout their business career, while steadfastly avoiding personal publicity and media scrutiny.

They had turned to media ownership in 1992 by buying the weekly newspaper The European, which closed in 1998, while they had also owned The Scotsman from 1995-2005.

David Barclay (left) and Frederick Barclay purchased The Daily Telegraph in 2004. Photo: Michael Stephens/PA

After first expressing interest in The Daily Telegraph to its Canadian owner Conrad Black in May 2003, and while a private deal was overruled by a US court in November of that year, the Barclays eventually acquired the paper at auction seven months later for £665 million (€745 million).

The paper quoted a colleague of the brothers as saying David was distinct from 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”.

David and Frederick were born into a large family in Hammersmith on October 27th, 1934, with David the older by 10 minutes.

Their father, also Frederick, was a travelling salesman from Kilmarnock who died when the boys were 13.

David and two of his brothers were evacuated several times during the second World War, the Telegraph said, and ultimately the twins left school aged 14.

Barclay was always a voracious reader, obsessed with newspapers, business, economics and politics, and who had always said he had been educated at the “University of Life”, the paper said.

It was reported Barclay died on Sunday.


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